Won't Start-- Not the Battery

2001 Nissan Maxima. A couple of days ago, it wouldn’t start when I turned the key. No sound, just the dash lights and radio working. Turned key again, started right up. Yesterday AM, drove to store. Came out 10 min later, had to turn key three times before it started right up. Went to have battery checked, it was still in the OK range. Started fine 3-4 more times that day. Late last night, on way home, stopped at store. Car would not start. Everything else (accessories, dash lights, etc) would work. Not even a click resulted from turning of key. Tow truck driver came, car would not jump start. He said battery too small, but that battery is not the problem. It’s not an alternator issue either, I’ve had those before in other cars. Ideas?

If the vehicle has an automatic transmission, and the next time it won’t start, turn the ignition on so the dash lights come on, step on the brake pedal and place the transmission into neutral, and then try starting the engine. If the engine starts doing this, the problem is in the park/neutral safety switch.


Sounds like a bad starter. They can be intermittent. Buy one from NAPA or Nissan. All others are junk.

Thanks… I tried the “neutral” suggestion, but it didn’t work. I appreciate the tip, too, for future reference. Other sources are suggesting the starter as well, so that’s at the top of the list right now.

Where was the battery tested? I just had a similar experience. The lights, radio, and AC worked, but the motor wouldn’t turn over. It turned out to be a bad cell in the battery. If you had an auto parts store check the battery on a commercial tester, then I guess it’s OK.

At a service station, with an electronic tester. It’s not the best battery, and I probably will get it replaced whether it’s the problem or not. I live in Phoenix, which eats batteries for lunch.

It does sound like the battery ought to be replaced. But when this is done all of the battery related connections should be checked, cleaned & tightened and the cables inspected for corrosion - hidden corrosion underneath the insulation in addition to visible corrosion at the connection points. Follow each cable back away from the battery where ever the go.

Before you replace the starter you should first verify that voltage is getting to the starter solenoid. If it is then make sure the starter is getting 12 volts on the main lead with the key in the START position. If that is so and the starter doesn’t work then replace it.