Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car won't start - 2004 Nissan Xterra

asked by on

Car will not start. When key is turned, I get one click but no cranking. Battery appears to be fine; was purchased last year and all lights works and don't dim when trying to start. Has not yet been tested. Found small oil leak around gasket cover; looks like it's both above and below leaks. Starter was covered in oil and was taken in for testing. Passed two tests so brought back home and cleaned all the connections and the starter itself. Put the starter back in and connected everything and tried to start again. same one click, but with very minimal cranking. Went out to give the unit a tap and noticed smoke emitting from the starter with an electrical smell to it. Looks like the starter is the original factory starter so it's probably about time to change it anyway. Was going to get the battery tested next just to cover bases. To me it sounds like an electrical issue, possibly starter solenoid?

My car has 115000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: This sounds like a potentially failing star...

This sounds like a potentially failing starter solenoid. As you may know, the starter solenoid is located on the starter and has internal electrical contacts that transmit electricity to the starter. When this fails, it may cause a clicking sound and will not allow the starter to engage the flywheel when you turn the key. When this works intermittently, you may notice a slight crank followed by clicking.

I would suggest having a professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, come to your home to determine why the car will not start and replace the starter if needed.

Was this answer helpful?
Recommended services
Get a Quote

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: My truck squeaks on the right side when driving. Always when driving over bumps 2004 Dodge Ram 1500

Hi - suspension noises like your squeak are challenging at best. And, your truck uses torsion bars for suspending the weight of the front end rather than coil springs. This introduces additional bushings which seem to squeak more than they...

Q: Windshield wiper stopped moving

It could be that the linkage rod popped off, but you would hear all kinds of noise coming from under the cowl. I would check the nut that attaches the wiper arm to the hub. It might have a plastic...

Q: Tick sound comes when I press the brake pad to shift the lever to driving.

What you are hearing is the shift interlock actuator releasing the shifter when you step on the brake. This is normal. If you feel the noise is excessive then have a mechanic like one from YourMechanic listen to it to...

Related articles

How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...