Have a Car Question? Ask a Mechanic Online.
I have had twice a problem with my Altima 2009 not starting. Push the button and goes from Lock to Acc to On, but when on On it does not start the engine. There is no sound of an engine trying to start. Everything else is normal, battery not an issue, key battery not an issue, i tried putting into the "slot" etc. Two likely candidates, reading other posts, are break switch and steering lock. Brake switch is unlikely because the brake lights do turn on, and because I replaced the brake switch after the first time. Steering lock is unlikely because the steering wheel unlocks no problem and there is no yellow light warning signal. Both times the car did eventually turn on (first time after 1 hour, second time after 2 hours) and after it turns on again I am unable to reproduce the problem (both events are about 2 months apart, car used daily). Ideas?
No the key light is not on, which is why I thin is not the steering lock (i have seen other posts where that is used to be diagnosed).
ALl lights come on when it goes into ACC as it should. But no particular warning light is provided.
If i push the start button without pressing the break it goes into ACC.
If I push the start button pressing the break it goes into On
This tells me futher that it is not the break. Right?
Quick follow ups on these possible causes.
If the steering wheel were the problem, shouldn't it remain locked while I am unable to turn the engine on?I did the following test while the car was not turning on:
I took the key out of range of the car. The steering wheel locked.
I then brought it back and it unlocked. The engine would still not start. I assumed that ruled out that explanation. I assume that for the steering lock to be the problem the wheel would need to remain lock while the push button does not work.
Also, the fact that it goes into ACC, does that rule it out? I think a steering wheel lock would remain the car in Lock, not allowing it to go into ACC or On.
If it were the electronic ignition switch, are there any other clues that that would give? Any other observable oddities I should expect? I realize you say it needs to be acting up to be formally tested, but for instance we have ruled out the brakes because the brake lights were on.
For example, the engine was not "trying" to start when I push the button, there was only a resopnse on the dashboard but nothing audible from the engine itself. And then, when the car started it was 100% able to turn off and on without a glitch, like 10 times in a row. Does any of this make it less likely to be the electronic ignition switch
Last question: Do you recommend a shop in the greater Philadelphia area?
Thanks for the detailed and prompt review. I will let you know what ends up being if I ever find out.
Actually, another followup, if you think it deserves a separate payment let me know, but feels like part of the same idea.
I understand your point that the steering wheel may be unlocked and the computer/car not realize it. But then wouldn't I expect everything else controlled by the computer to behave as if locked? So that when I push Start it would not go into Acc and On?
In other words, is it compatible with the steering wheel malfunction that the car goes into Acc and On, and that I can shift gears from Park to N,R,D?
This will count as a separate new question (i.e., new payment upon satisfied answer).
This morning the same problem happened, car won't start, about to tow it to dealer and then it started again.
Drove car to Nissan dealer (no tow), They called me and said the steering whee lock seems fine that they cannot replace it if they cannot reproduce the problem (it is under warranty, but they say they need to send it with a problem back to Nissan, and it is not showing any problems to them).
Questions for you
1) If it had been the steering wheel lock in the past, would there be any record of it the dealer could look at? Any way to rule it out now base on info they can get from the car while it is with them?
2) If it is the ignition switch, is there something I can do to diagnose it separately? I googled "ignition switch altima" and am finding no relevant hits so it wouold seem that that would be a rather unlkely explanation for it.
Seems like a cheap part so I would replace it just to be safe if there was any reason to think that's what's going on, any diagnostic you would recommend?3) What can I ask the dealer to do, other than wait for them to reproduce the problem, to move forward? Tests to ask for?