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Nissan Altima Won’t Start—What Could Be Wrong?

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If your Nissan Altima won't start, then it can be an irritating situation. It could keep you from getting to your destination in a timely fashion. So what could be wrong with your Nissan Altima that could cause it not to start? In this article, we have done the research for you to help pinpoint the problem!

If your Nissan Altima won't start, then it could be due to the following reasons:

  • Dead battery
  • Loose/disconnected battery cables
  • Corroded battery terminals
  • Dead key fob battery
  • Faulty alternator
  • Bad starter motor
  • Bad starter solenoid
  • Poor starter relay
  • Worn spark plugs
  • Faulty fuel pump
  • Clogged fuel filter
  • Bad safety immobilizer

Some of these issues are more common than others, and some will cost a repair bill, while others may be an easy fix. Nonetheless, it is crucial to understand the functions of these parts to help diagnose the problem.

In this article, we will take a closer look at each of them and why they could cause your Nissan Altima not to start. In addition, we will discuss how to manually start your Altima in the case of a dead key fob battery, so read on!

A silver redesigned 2013 model year Nissan Altima four door car, parked in the grass of an empty field, Nissan Altima Won't Start—What Could Be Wrong?

Common Reasons Nissan Altima Won't Start

The Nissan Altima is a fuel-efficient sedan that is quite popular amongst consumers. However, like any vehicle, at times, there can be problems such as it not starting. The reasons this can happen can vary and, honestly, can be hard to pinpoint.

With that being said, let's take a look at the most common reasons why your Nissan Altima isn't starting:

2020 Nissan Altima sedan at a dealership.

Dead Battery

A dead battery can happen to anyone and is a pretty common cause for your Nissan Altima not starting. A quick way to determine if this may be the case is by popping open the hood of your car and trying to jump your car. If all works out and your car turns on, we would suggest replacing either the battery or having it tested at a local auto parts store.

Loose/Disconnected Battery Cables

If the battery cables are loose or not connected, then this can lead to a dead battery. In addition, if you have a parasitic drain on your battery, it will also eventually go dead even if everything is working fine. If this is the case, we suggest having a professional inspect this for you to help determine the cause.

Corroded Battery Terminals

A corroded battery of a car

Over time, battery terminals can corrode, and if the corrosion is bad enough, it could cause your Altima not to start. If this is the case, carefully try cleaning off both ends of your battery with a wire brush. Afterward, apply some dielectric grease to your terminal ends and re-connect them.

Dead Key Fob Battery

A dead key fob is a common reason why your Altima won't start. If you don't have a spare key fob, replacing the battery is easy and inexpensive.

Pry apart the key fob using a butter knife or flathead screwdriver. Once opened, you will see a circular battery with numbers and letters indicating the type of battery. Take the battery to an auto parts store and have them give you a new one.

In addition, you can take your key fob to a Nissan dealer, and they will be able to replace the battery on your behalf!

Faulty Alternator

An alternator's job is to charge your battery. If it isn't working properly, then this will lead to the battery dying quicker than normal and not starting your car. If you have electrical accessories inside your Altima, take them off as they may be draining the power from the battery, causing it to die. Finally, if your car is still not starting, then try having an expert inspect it for you to be sure.

Bad Starter Motor

The starter motor will turn the flywheel which in return creates electricity to start your Nissan Altima. If the starter motor is bad or faulty, then this could lead to your Altima not starting. Usually, a bad starter motor will make a clicking noise or a metal on metal grinding noise. These are key indicators that your starter motor is bad and will need to be replaced.

Bad Starter Solenoid

The starter solenoid is separate from the starter motor in most cases. It activates the start power to send electricity to your Altima's starter motor when you turn the key in your ignition. If this component fails, then it can cause a no-start situation as well.

Poor Starter Relay Connection

The starter relay gets your Altima started when you turn the key in your ignition. If this connection is loose or bad, it can lead to the starter solenoid not activating, which in return will make it so your Nissan Altima won't start. This part is usually located beneath your steering wheel underneath your dashboard.

Worn Spark Plugs

If your spark plugs are worn, then this can lead to an engine that will not start. In addition to being a common cause for why your Nissan Altima won't start, it is also one of the most straightforward repairs. If your spark plug looks black or fouled, then you should replace them pronto!

Faulty Fuel Pump

Your Nissan's fuel pump is responsible for pumping gas to your engine. If the pump is faulty or worn out, then this could lead to your car not starting. You can check and see if you need a new fuel pump by inspecting the gas in the tank.

Use caution when doing so! If it smells odd or of rotten eggs, then this means that the gas has gone bad and needs to be replaced. If this is the case, you will need a new fuel pump as well.

Clogged Fuel Filter

If your Altima's fuel filter is clogged, then this can cause the car not to start. Now you might be thinking, how in the world could a fuel filter make my car not start? Well, it keeps the gas flowing freely to your engine, which in return will get it running! So if your fuel filter is clogged, this can cause your Nissan Altima's engine to stop running until you fix the issue.

Bad Safety Immobilizer Relay

The safety immobilizer relay is a part of your Altima's security system. This minor part will send power to your car's starter motor allowing it to turn and start the engine.

If this relay fails, then your key fob will not be able to unlock or lock your Nissan Altima, which in return won't allow you to start it. This part is usually located beneath your steering wheel, underneath your dashboard.

Can you Jumpstart a Nissan Altima?

If you are unsure why your Altima won't start, then try jumpstarting it. By doing this, it will help troubleshoot your problem. Also, using another running car or jump box will give enough power to the Altima battery to help jumpstart.

Connect the red cables to the positive terminal and the black cable to the positive terminal. Then, let the jump box or running car some time to charge the Altima's battery before trying to start it!

A mechanic holding alligator clamps for jumpstarting a car

What are the Symptoms of a Bad Starter?

If you experience any of these symptoms when trying to start your Altima, then it is time to replace the starter:

  • The engine cranks and does not start.
  • You hear a clicking or grinding noises when trying to start your Nissan.

Fixing a starter is usually a job for a certified mechanic, and it's best to have them diagnose it. So how much can you expect to pay for one? Keep reading to find out!

How Much Should I Pay to Replace a Starter?

The price to replace a vehicle starter will vary depending on the vehicle's year, make, and model. In addition, prices will change depending on the mechanics' hourly rate in your region.

For example, a Nissan Altima starter replacement can range from $350 and $400. However, other makes and models can be less expensive or even as much as $1000!

How Long Does the Nissan Altima Battery Last?

Typically a Nissan Altima battery will last between three and five years. However, this can vary depending on the battery. Some can last longer, and some could die before they should. If you suspect your battery is acting up, then take it in and have it tested.

How do I Manually Start a Push to Start Nissan?

Most Nissan's made in the 21st century have key fobs that unlock and lock your car. In addition, you need the key fob in the vehicle to push start the vehicle. So what happens if the battery dies? Follow these simple steps from getting into your car to starting it manually:

  1. First, take out the physical that is located on the back of the key fob.
  2. Use the key and put it in the key slot in the door, and unlock the door. Your car alarm will more than likely go off but not to worry.
  3. Put the key back inside of the key fob.
  4. Next, put your foot on the brake and press the push to start button with the key fob itself.

For a visual, check out the youtube video below on this process!

Final Thoughts

More times than not, if your Altima is not starting, it is due to something simple. If you are in this situation, start with checking your battery and key fob battery. From there, you may need to have it checked out by a mechanic to have other parts looked at, such as the starter, alternator, or fuel pump!

For more maintenance guides, check out our other articles:

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