Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Cranks but doesn't start

asked by on

Bought the car in 2009/2010, no problems for years- did all the servicing things--oil changes, fluid checks and refills, brakes, tires, etc. In 2014, driving down the road, car starts dieseling, trying to die. Made it home, but problem returned,adjust fuel flow,sounded like it wasn't getting adequate fuel. Next day, car died. Wouldn't start, cranked but wouldn't start. Investigated found a problem with the ignition coil, ignition rotor, distributor cap (had oil in it, I think), and also replace ignition wire set, March 30, 2014. May 1, 2014, same kind of problem, replaced the distributor, again.Car ran fine, March 12, 2015--Ignition Coil shows as not working--replaced. Also, generator rebuilt,fuel filter changed. May 28, 2015 replaced elec distributor, EGR valve, valve cover gaskets, spark plugs, plug wires. Since, 3rd Coil, Throttle position sensor, fuel pump, ECM repair/reman--cranks, starts once, then crank and not start, lots of voltage chks,- fuel system checks-whatdidwemiss?

My car has 160000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: You have replaced lot’s of things on your c...

You have replaced lot’s of things on your car. I’m not sure you replaced it all trying to fix a no start or if you replaced it all out of maintenance. When we replace this many parts at once we introduce the possibility for a lot of human error. As a professional, I learned early on to verify each repair as I finish it so if it does start or run right, I know it was the last thing I did to avoid a problem. With this in mind, the biggest challenge I see is with the ECM replacement. It is easy for the replacement to be the wrong one or it may need to be programmed for to the car. Reman units have a fairly high failure rate as well.

With all these parts replaced, things have become very confusing and I don’t have a frame of reference to start from. If I were working on your car, I would begin with the basics and check for spark, fuel pressure, injector pulse, and camshaft timing.

I could interpret what you are saying as the car starts for a second then dies. If this is the case, then it is most likely your security system disabling your car. If so, I would use your ignition key to lock and unlock each door and rear hatch three times in a row. One of the doors or rear hatch will reset the alarm. If this doesn’t work, you could try disconnecting your battery, turning the ignition key to run, then reconnecting your battery.

With any repeat parts failures, I first look at the brand and quality of the part. I simply won’t install inferior parts because of low customer satisfaction. Its not worth my time. Although, cheaper price is not necessarily a cheaper quality. I do use the most cost effective replacement parts I can find.

As an example, if the parts are genuine Nissan parts, I would suspect an electrical connector issue somewhere. This could be anywhere in the circuits of the affected part. Voltage checks are not always the best method for testing. I rarely test voltage. The most reliable tests are ones that duplicate the actual conditions the vehicle experiences when it is running. Static voltage tests don’t do this in most cases.

I would recommend having a certified technician, like one from YourMechanic, come to you and diagnose your starting issue firsthand for an accurate repair.

Good luck!

Was this answer helpful?

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: Trouble starting in the morning.

Trouble starting in the morning could be a sign of worn secondary ignition components; spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor. As for the shaking and jolting the first thing I would suspect would be motor/trans mounts that have torn and...

Q: Engine cuts off and electrical components malfunction - 1995 Oldsmobile Delta 88

Relays provide for managed power distribution. A chattering relay is a failure mode where the electrical contacts are burned and aren't delivering power. I would have a professional mechanic identify which relay is chattering and determine how relevant that relay...

Q: Car began to seem like a tranny slip or bad fuel pump battery was bad after sitting now car wont crank at all. Small oil leak

Hello. If the car won't crank at all then there is likely an electrical issue with the vehicle. The first thing I would do is make sure that the battery is charged. If it is low, there may be enough...

Related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.