If your dash lights are working, and when you turn the key to start and you have no start or cranking of the engine , this sounds like the starter motor could be bad. this would be the most common answer for your starting problem. I hope this helps, let me know if I can help you more, Thank you, ROY!
I hope it's that simple. But what are the other possible causes? And how can I make sure it's the starter (in fact, I got several folks told me that it seems like the starter) before I purchase or make an order of a starter or even tow my car to an auto shop? As I have been checking online, it's relatively simple to change the starter by myself (I previously changed my rear power window motor and felt the job very straight-forward and not much difficulty; and I hope this one is not significantly harder than that).
The way to check the starter motor , turn the key to start have some one tap on the starter motor with a hammer or long screw driver, this will sometimes cause the starter motor to work. The other thing would be the ignition switch, to check this you will have to see if the starter motor is getting 12volts, to the signal wire on the starter . I hope this helps,ROY
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX sounds intereting by tapping the starter to work. How hard it should be tapped?
Also, from autozone.com, I have this:
The easiest way to test the performance of the starter is to perform a voltage drop test.
The battery must be in good condition and fully charged prior to performing this test.
Many automotive parts stores have starter bench testers available for use by customers. A starter bench test is the most definitive way to determine the condition of your starter.
Is this voltage drop test actually doing the same thing as ignition switch check as you said? If not, after doing both and both turned out to be ok, can the problem be very positively nailed to the starter? Thanks.
I replace starters on the maximas a lot, this is the most common problem, I use a long pry bar and tap kind of hard, this will rattle the brushes inside a cause the starter motor to work or try to work, I know it sounds funny but this works well. and it is an easy inspection to tell if the starter is bad , with out all the voltage inspections. I hope this helps, ROY!
Actually I think the tapping way is very smart and ingenuous. Please be patient with me as this Maxima is the only vehicle I own and have to ask AAA to tow it to an Autozone and doing the thing on scene.
Your replies are greatly appreciated and respect your knowledge and time. I'm willing to pay up to $20. But how can I stick with you once I hit the "accept" button (first time user of justanswer)? Please let me know and I'm willing to pay $9 now.
So what is the expected result of voltage tests? If 1) there is no voltage drop and 2) stater motor does get at least 12V, does that mean the start is fine and there are other problems?
You can hit the accept button and then keep posting on the same post or open a new one and ask for ROY!
If the starter motor is getting 12 volts to the small signal wire with the key in the start poss, and wont turn over, then the starter is bad. Thanks ROY!
Thanks Roy. How about the voltage does drop below 11.5 volts when doing voltage drop test? What I doubt is that it could be other problems (the starter was actually rebult or whatever done by an alternater/starter shop ~ 3 years back). Could it be relay or fuse or fuel pump? The maxima has been difficult to start once the overnight temperature drops below 32F (or 0C) for the last winter.
The drop test should be ok, As far as the hard start cold this could be a fuel pump, I would hook up a pressure gage and see if the pressure is dropping while the car is sitting. You could have other problems, we need to check the starter motor first. and go from there.