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Jay, Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 18524
Experience:  20+yrs experience with Nissan & Infiniti Trained & Certified.Currently still working for Dealer
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2001 Nissan Pathfinder: intermittent problems with lights..speedometer

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I have a 2001 Nissan Pathfinder 3.5 and have intermittent problems with lights on the dash. First, it was the backlight for the speedometer. Then the battery light, transmission oil light and brake fluid lights all came on. They go off and on on their own.

The heater in the driver's seat is also acting up. It gets so hot I can hardly stand it.

Do you think these are related? If I want to keep the car, can I replace the computer that controls these things to fix the problem?

A second question: I live in the snow. Is there an aftermarket remote starter you can recommend for this car?
Hello and thank you for using

You could be seeing signs of the alternator failing. When the charging system voltage gets low, you will have lights turn off, warning lights coming on. What you will need to do is have the charging system checked and load tested to get the proper charging voltage.

They do make remote starts for your truck. But you will be giving up one of your keys for the truck. The best thing to do is to go to the dealer and have another key made. Make sure you bring all your keys to your truck cause all the keys will need to be programmed at once. So basically you are getting a extra key for the remote start. The remote start system has a box that reads the chip in the key and requires a key to be in this box for it to operate. As far recommendations on which one. There are so many I really can't say. I have dealt with them in cars, but don't know what the best or not. I have one called Valet in my truck, and it works good to me.

If you have any more questions on this, please feel free to ask. Thanks Jay!
Jay and other Nissan Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thank you. I need a clarification. I had a new alternator put on about 20 months ago (at about 100,000 miles) at a Nissan dealer. The problem started before that, and continued after that. (It has been happining for about four years.)


Does that change your answer?

It may or may not. Has this problem happened right after the dealer replaced the alternator? Has this problem just started to come back? Do you have any after market installs? Such as radio, remote start, alarm?

Let me know, Thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.


I'm sorry. I can't remember if it started again immediately after replacing the alternator. (I replaced the alternator for a different reason, so I didn't pay attention to that.)


But I DO know that the problem STARTED before that. It progressed like this:

The backlight for the speedometer went out. It stayed out for a few drives. It came back on, on its own. Once in awhile, the tach and fuel dashboard backlights went off. That combination of events happened off and on for two years. I don't drive at night every single day, so it was hard to pinpoint exactly when it would come back on. (I live three hours away from the closest Nissan dealer, so I couldn't just drive in when it was happening.)


It has been consistently inconsistent, if that makes sense.


Regarding the after-market question: The dealer replaced my in dash radio/tape/cd player about three months after I bought the car.


Now what do you think? :)

So it's not really warning lights that are coming on, it's just a dash light issue? Dash lights going out and coming on?

Let me know, Thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Geez, I must need a cup of coffee!


The warning lights come on too. And the heater in my seat started acting up last winter. Sometimes it doesn't heat up, but most of the time it heats up TOO hot.


The "Service Engine Soon" started coming on about two months ago. I took the car to a local repair shop three times that day, as the light came on and went off, and his computer didn't even register that the light had been on.


Last week, the battery light, the automatic transmission fluid light, the brake fluid light and Service Engine Soon light all came on at one time. I checked all the fluids and the alternator belt, and everything was fine. I started driving again, and about five minutes later, all the lights went off and stayed off.


Now the dashboard backlight on the speedometer is off and the seat heater didn't come on.


Is it a poltergeist?

This is screwy! I am wondering if you may have a bad meter, or Alternator problem.

As I said, all the warning lights can come on if it senses not charging voltage and the truck starts running off the battery. The heated seat issue, is something totally different. Most likely when the Service Engine Soon light was on, it was stored in the Meter control unit. Regular scan tools will not be able to retrieve these codes, you would need a advanced level scanner. I would wait till that service engine soon light comes back on and bring it to the dealer. The dealer will be able to get some codes out of there, where most repair shops can not. The codes will help lead to the problem.

If you have any more questions on this, please feel free to ask. Thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thanks. This has been very helpful.