Q: Hard cold starts

asked by on October 23, 2016

Hi I have a 2001 Nissan Xterra with trouble staring when cold . I've replaced the fuel pump fuel sending unit fuel filter fuel relay and finally fuel pressure regulator . After I replaced the regulator the car is a lot easier to turn on then before still hard to start when engine is cold. I live in Texas so it doesn't get real cold . There's quite a bit of stuff I've already replaced I am getting spark n fuel I don't know what else if could be . I've found a couple vacuum hose leaks replaced and runs a lot better when it finally starts . Any help would be appreciated. Thank you for your time .

My car has 225265 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Make sure your battery and starter are in good enough condition to turn the engine over at high enough RPM’s to start properly in low temperature conditions. Due to the relatively high miles, I would first check and confirm cylinder pressures, via compression test, to see what your starting conditions are.

Faulty components in the exhaust gas recirculation system and any idle speed air controls (if equipped; try starting car when cold with accelerator pedal completely depressed and see if that makes any difference) would be relevant to look at.

Other possible faults to check are the condition of the distributor, cap and rotor, [plugs],(https://www.yourmechanic.com/services/spark-plugs-replacement) and wires, engine timing which could be off (also timing belt, if old, could have slipped a tooth or two). Due to the age and mileage, the fuel injectors could even be partially plugged. Keep in mind, you may very well not have a single cause of this condition but rather there is a combination of degraded components that together cause hard starting during cold weather which is generally the most difficult time to start an engine in any event. If you need help with a diagnosis, a certified professional from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to inspect the starting problem and guide you through repairs.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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

Problem with airbag light.

A common reason airbag lights come on is because something is interfering with the seat belt switch — the sensor that detects if the belt is properly fastened. If there is nothing in the seat belt I would have a...

Loud bang and shaking starting car

Hello. It sounds like there is a broken engine mount or transmission mount that may be causing the banging noise that you are hearing. It is possible that something was damaged in the suspension system which could also cause a...

Engine knocks and stalls

If the engine is knocking and performing poorly I would recommend you stop driving it and have it inspected and diagnosed by a knowledgable technician to diagnose your knocking and stalling issue. From the description you have provided, it seems...

Related articles

What Prevents the Fuel System From Leaking?
Leaking Leaking fuel is a hazardous and wasteful problem for a vehicle to have. Manufacturers know this, and to combat the problem they have implemented a number of simple ways to prevent fuel from leaking out of the fuel system:...
How to Troubleshoot a Car That is Hard to Start
"Car not starting" is a common complaint among car owners and is caused by faulty car batteries, spark plugs, car starter, or fuel pump.
How to Replace a Fuel Rail Sensor
The fuel system has a fuel rail sensor which fails when the engine operates erratically, has difficulty starting, or the Check Engine Light comes on.