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Clutch Igition Switch

My wife’s 2010 Nissan Versa has 90,000 miles. About two years ago, the car would start getting harder and harder to start and eventually wouldn’t start at all. Her mechanic determined that the problem was the Clutch Ignition Switch was out of adjustment. This switch prevents the car from being started without the clutch pedal being pushed in all the way. He adjusted the switch and the car started fine for several months. The same problem started again and this time her mechanic replaced the switch. The car started fine for several months and the same problem started again. The switch was replaced under warranty and started fine for several months. This time, her mechanic adjusted the switch and it worked fine for several months but he also said it will continue to go out of adjustment. It is now starting to have the same problem and her mechanic said the switch can be by-passed or taken out without causing any other problems. My wife asked the Nissan dealer if the switch can be removed or by-passed and they said no as that would cause other problems. Can the switch be removed or by-passed without causing other problems or is my wife doomed to have to have the switch adjusted every few months?

I hope you are not surprised the dealer would not bypass a safety feature. The key word is liability lawsuit. Frankly I would not do it for you either. Now if you do it yourself and the car starts and runs problem solved. Why not just pay the mechanic a small fee to show you how to replace and adjust the switch yourself?


The switch can be by-passed.

But why would you by-pass a safety device when the problem is with a simple yes/no switch?


I had some problems with that switch on my Corolla too. The problem with bypassing it is that while you may be aware that you did it, another driver of the car someday might not. The purpose is to prevent a situation say where you park the car and go into 7-11 for a Big Gulp, and since you are just going to be away for a few minutes, you leave the keys in the ignition switch with kids in the front seat. They decide to see what happens when you turn the key. What happens without that switch, if the car is in gear, the car moves forward through the 7-11 plate glass windows and into the store.

The number of times you are having with this problem, and that you’ve replaced and adjusted the switch multiple times, makes me think you actually have a different problem. When you say “won’t start”, you mean I presume “won’t crank”, that rrr rrr rrr sound. There’s several things that can prevent that, and if several of them are “iffy”, just on the verge of failing, this kind of thing can happen. The things involved are the battery, the battery post connections, the ignition switch, any relay in the path of the start signal to the starter, the starter motor solenoid contacts, the battery to chassis ground connection, and the engine to chassis ground connection.

Shop’s can do what’s called a voltage drop test to get an assessment if you just got one thing that’s failing bigtime, or an assortment of things that are on the verge of failing, “iffy”. They’d usually begin by measuring the voltage at the two starter motor terminals, from terminal to starter case. Both the big thick wire and the thin wire connection should measure at least 10.5 volts during attempted cranking. If one or both doesn’t, that’s where to start looking.

I drove cars for 40 years before I had one with a clutch safety switch. It wouldn’t bother me to jump the switch than it did for me to jump the switch on my riding mower that is supposed to prevent it from cutting grass in reverse.

Is there ANYONE who doesn’t tie down the lawnmower handle on a walk behind mower?

I also put vents in my new plastic gas cand so I could pour gas without spilling it all over the place and the nozzles that came with them are used only as gas caps that I remove to pour into a funnel.

I have not smoked in more than 40 years but if I did , I would leave the cover open when striking the match just to thumb my nose at the Safety Nazis.

Legislation that makes things hard or impossible to use to the point that people purposely disable it is just stupid.


Replacing the switch twice didn’t solve the problem and it keeps getting out of adjustment so we’re looking for any permanent solution.

I’m thinking of doing that but should the switch go bad or out of adjustment every six months or so? Looking for a permanent fix if there is one.

The car doesn’t crank at all. I appreciate your advice on what could be other causes but why did the car start fine right after the switch was replaced or adjusted? Could that just be coincidence?

Can you elaborate on this? If the safety switch is indeed at fault, when it fails, the starter will not even turn over. And no matter how many times you tried, it still would not turn over. (you would not hear the sound of the starter cranking, sometiimes described as a rrrr-rrrr sound)

Possibly the switch was intermittent, which is unusual. That means that if you released and depressed the clutch several times, at some point you would be able to start the car. Is this what happened?

From what I’m reading it sounds like the switch height adjustment mechanism is faulty. So when you continue to press on the switch with the clutch pedal over several months you are slightly moving the switch away from the clutch pedal. I would look at replacing the switch adjusting mechanism or looking for a more permanent hold down for the switch. For instance, once adjusted, drill another hole and add an additional hold-down bolt and nut. Or once adjusted add some J B Weld to the edges of the switch and the car frame.

The starter doesn’t turn over, no cranking, no rrr-rrr sound. At first, the car will start if you push in the clutch pedal several times, but eventually the car wont’s start at all. The problem is intermittent at first, gradually gets worse and then eventually the car won’t start at all.

Thanks…this sounds worth checking into.

Make that 50+ years for me!

Is there ANYONE who doesn’t tie down the lawnmower handle on a walk behind mower?
I doubt it. :smile: I’ve got mine bungeed!

“Legislation that makes things hard or impossible to use to the point that people purposely disable it is just stupid.”

Correct! Or too expensive.

You can’t fix stupid. I hear there is a push to make cars safer for parents who lock kids in cars in the hot sun for ten hours! We’ll pay for that and the clutch switches and seat belt buzzers and the neutral safety switches and the…

Ha, ha, ha… :grinning: Oldtimer, how’d we ever survive without all that help from the government?

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I wonder how a car would detect a baby locked in the car? Perhaps via an IR scan looking for temperatures above 100ºF ? And what about false alarms?

That sounds like a good thing to me. No child should die because they have stupid parents.


Not immediately knowing how this switch is mounted, how does your wife drive? (Assuming she is the primary driver of this car.) How do other folks drive her car?

I had an old Spicer 5 speed that the driver loved to drive like he was driving a racecar. This caused the switch to move, because he would release the pedal in a way that it would SLAM back up- every. Single. Time. Eventually, the switch would move, and the next time the truck wouldn’t start. That pedal was spring mounted, and your’s likely isn’t, but the idea is still there. Is the driver doing something to knock this switch out of adjustment?

Something is causing this switch to come out of adjustment. @patgurr has a feasible idea. I’d give that one a look, as well as watching my wife drive it a bit.

You’re correct. It does sound good. Who could argue with saving the lives of innocent children? I can’t. However, at what point do the parents have to be made more responsible.

Some “parents” where I live let their young kids hot-rod around on ORVs and horses (without helmets!) and leave kids in running cars when they go into a liqueur store. Many are hurt and killed.

It takes work to raise healthy kids and keep them safe, in the home and outside. We raised 2. I know.

It seems the more responsibility we take away from parents then the more careless and dependent they become.

Medicine bottles now have childproof caps (that many children can open). I saw on the news the morning on TV that it’s estimated that 80% of parents administer medicine to their children incorrectly!

Perhaps we need “Smart medicine bottles.” I’m sure it wouldn’t add much to everybody’s costs, eh?

All these added safety features cost real money. Only half the people in the country can afford a new car, any new car. When do we reach a limit?

Could I get your address so that I can send you the bill for all the safety features that I don’t want or need on my next car? :slight_smile:

Spending all of everybody else’s money won’t fix stupid. :wink:

Thermopiles fit this application because unlike PIR, they provide continuous readout rather than just when changes are detected. A sleeping baby is very stationary so pyro-electric sensing (traditional motion detection) is ineffective at detecting their presence under all possible conditions. Thermopiles are already being used today for selective HVAC control in cars.

False positive might be OK but a false negative would be unacceptable. Most likely the thermopile with a selective lens would suffice but to reduce risk even further and add redundancy, a CMOS image array could be used to further enhance detectability but at significantly increased cost (relative to the TP sensor).

Does sound expensive.

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I have a thermolpile in my water heater, the way I understand it is that heat causes the thermopile to generate electricity, it then powers a blinking led to flash showing the pilot light is working.
Given that a thermopile could generate a warning light by high temps, but do not know how that would help save kids in the car.
After what you have been going through I imagine a creative mechanic could come up with a switch that would be much more dependable.