Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Hard cold starts

asked by on

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?

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
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Hard cold starts

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: Fuel gauge broke.

It sounds like you may have a bad sending unit in the fuel tank. Sometimes the old fuel sending unit floats no longer float in the fuel tank and will not show the proper level, these must be replaced. I...

Q: Automatic Transmission noise

Claimed by Jeff Engstrom

Q: Dashboard lights not coming only

The dashboard lights are controlled by the dimmer switch on the dash. If no lights are working then the most common reason is that the dimmer switch, or all the bulbs that illuminate the cluster, are bad. The switch gets...

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...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...