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Need Major Help/Advice/Suggestions Asap Please!

We have absolutely no idea what is wrong with our van (1997 Nissan Quest)!! Here’s the story…
As my husband pulled out of a parking lot (rather quickly) we hit a bump/pothole pretty hard. We were able to get about a half mile down the road before realizing the van had died. When my husband tried to start it back up it didn’t do anything. The key turns over but their is no sound. The dash lights and headlights are still working but that’s pretty much it. The van was already running fairly rough and we have a slow leak in the transmission pan but does anyone have any thoughts on what the problem could be? A friend mentioned a blown engine, could that be a possibility?? Where should we start when trying to diagnose this issue? Any feedback is very helpful and appreciated! Thanks y’all.

Check to see if the battery terminals are clean and tight. Then try a jump start. It also may be time for a new battery. Premptive guess, but a good place to start. Many times a bad connection or battery will have lights but not enough oomph to start the car.

If it’s the battery terminal connection or wire, then when you try to start the car, the dash lights would dim.

If that’s not the case, it could be the starter or the connections to the starter.

Depending on how hard you hit the pot hole, It’s possible you activated the fuel pump shut off switch

@Barkydog suggested the right thing to check first, Battery cables.

I doubt that it is the fuel pump shut off. This only shuts off the fuel pump and the OP says that it does not turn over (no Sound).


Could you enlighten us on that? “The key turns over” does that mean that you can physically turn the key or is the key spinning in the lock all on its own? “their (there) is no sound” what sound is missing, starter sounds, engine running sounds, noisy kids in the back seat sounds?

Yeah I would say likely a battery connection or connection to the starter got jarred, but really the first thing to do is take it to a shop for repair. You’ve gone from a transmission leak to a blown engine from hitting a pot hole. You don’t need friends like that helping with a diagnosis. A shop is calling.

By what you say, I expect this will turn out to be a minor problem. Cars are designed to be able to hit potholes without doing major damage to the engine or transmission. My first guess is that the battery shifted, that twisted the cables, and somehow is affecting the ability to deliver sufficient current to the starter motor &/or ignition system. If you have a manual transmission you could try to push start it, see if you can get it started that way. If you could you’d know it wasn’t the ignition system, but more likely the starter.

You drove 1/2 mile after the engine died???

I’ve even seen battery posts broken off internal to the battery creating an open circuit. Generally you’ll be able to feel this by shaking the posts by hand. I highly recommend wearing leather gloves, just to be safe. .

Could have taken that long for the circuit break to open up. That would certainly be possible if the battery post is broken.

I had this happen last year on my old truck. Pulled my hair out, which I can ill afford, trying to figure it out. Electrical diagnosis on that thing is especially fun since I don’t have and can’t get a shop manual. The battery tested perfectly every time I put a meter on it, and the posts felt solid, but replacing the battery solved the issue.