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97 Sentra Won't turn over

My car is a 97 Nissan Sentra GXE (4-cyl, 1.6L) manual. It won’t start. I put the key in, turn it–all the lights come on, but it won’t crank, turn over… nothing. It died, then started again Sunday morning. I drove it to work Tuesday, and it died in the lot… as in, it wouldn’t start again. It’s still in the lot at my job, and I figure I’d give it one last try before having it towed to the Car Cemetery.

Reading forums online, I see a few cases of the same thing. One suggested solution is the Neutral safety switch, the other is the solenoid on the starter (??). I looked everywhere for the solenoid, don’t see one, so I assume it’s on the starter. I have NO clue where the Neutral safety switch would be–I see nothing on the transmission and nothing under my dash as was noted in these forums.

No one came back and posted a resolution that it was one thing or another.

Does anyone have any idea? Is it one or the other? It appears this may be a Nissan-Personality thing… I’m just trying to keep my Rusted, Dying Love running till I can replace it. (It also has a leaky oil pressure valve, but the oil level is fine, if that makes a difference.) Thanks in advance for any help.

No one answered because its hard to tell from here what exactly it is. The solenoid would be mounted on top of the starter motor. If when you turn the key to start, you hear a click, then you are in need of a new starter motor. If you hear nothing, then you could need the neutral start switch (connected to the shift mechanism), a starter motor, the cable or connections to the starter, or even an ignition switch. There is no way to tell without testing them. If you have battery power like you do, at least it is not a battery problem.

Since the vehicle has a manual transmission there is no park/neutral safety switch. Instead it has what is called a clutch pedal interlock switch. This means the clutch pedal must be depressed in order for the starter to operate. You might want to check if this clutch pedal interlock switch is what’s causing the no start problem.


With respect, there are quite a number of possible causes based on the onformation given including but not limited to the switch Tester and Bing mentioned, the other items Bing mentioned, the battery connections, the battery, the starter relay, the starter solenoid, and (depending on what it actually does when you try to start it) numerous others. Even your ignition cylinder (the part you stick the key in) could be bad, or even your security system. The trouble is that it’ll need a knowledgable mechanic to sort it all out…

How old is the battery?