Why Won’t My Nissan Altima Start?

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Also known as the Nissan Stanza Altima, Nissan Bluebird, and the Nissan Teana, the more well-known and regarded name that stuck with the lineup was the Nissan Altima.

It had become a more luxurious and larger version of the Nissan Sentra.

Despite all of the tweaks and changes the Nissan Altima has gone through over the years, there are still a variety of problems that the car suffers from, which will make you go,” Why won’t my Nissan Altima start?”.

While you can easily be overwhelmed by the different amount of issues that can surround the Nissan Altima, more often than not, it should be the following issues that you are dealing with:

  1. Faulty Fuel Pumps
  2. Battery Problems
  3. Worn Spark Plugs
  4. Loose Cables
  5. Bad Safety Immobilizer

These problems have their signs and symptoms, which I will discuss in this article. This is also a key reason you should read this article until the end.

What Would Cause A Nissan Altima To Not Start?

Let's diagnose the symptoms of the Nissan Altima starter

While the reasons may differ, the core idea as to why your Nissan Altima may not be working is because of a faulty part or component.

More often than not, even a single insignificant component can easily prevent a car from starting, and this is seen quite heavily when you go into the issues surrounding the Nissan Altima.

1: Faulty Fuel Pumps

One of the major issues that the Nissan Altima has faced over the years is its fuel pumps. When you fill the tank of your car, you expect the engine to start without a hitch.

This is not always the case when it comes to the Altima. Fuel does not go directly from the tank to the engine. Instead, it needs to be pushed to the engine via the fuel pumps.

If the fuel pumps have any error, the amount of fuel that reaches the engine can be inadequate to the point that the Nissan Altima may not start.

If you start to smell rotten eggs from the fuel tank, then this could be a sign of bad fuel which also means that you should replace the pump entirely.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Open the gas tank and inspect the amount of fuel. If you smell any bad odor, then you should have the fuel pump replaced when given a chance.
  • At this point, you should change the fuel entirely since the fuel has gone bad.
  • If there is no such smell, it is best to take the Nissan Altima to a mechanic to inspect the fuel pumps.
  • They should be able to fix any issues preventing the fuel pumps from working properly. If the damage is too great, then it may be in your interest to get the component replaced.

2: Battery Problems

Another major issue that the Nissan Altima can face issues with the battery. The battery is crucial in any car as it supplies power to all other car components.

Your Altima will struggle to turn on if your battery has any issues. These issues are caused due to lack of proper maintenance and care given to the battery.

This results in it losing its charge and eventually dying altogether. The battery can also suffer from issues related to corrosion and frayed cables.

Loose or frayed cables can eventually lead to a dead battery, while corroded battery terminals prevent the car from starting.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Check to see if the battery is the cause of the issue. This can be done by conducting a voltage test.
  • If the test result is less than 12 volts, your battery is not properly working.
  • Depending on your battery’s age, you should carry out the following steps.
  • If your battery is old and has been used for more than 4 or 5 years, you should replace it with a new one.
  • Lastly, if your battery has given out less than three years of service, you should get it jumpstarted.

3: Worn Spark Plugs

The job of the spark plugs is to generate the spark needed to ignite the fuel in the engine.

Since combustion is the energy produced inside the engine, if there is no initial spark to start the combustion, the car will not get enough energy. Hence, the Nissan Altima fails to start.

It is bad enough that spark plugs generally have a very short lifespan. You should have them replaced regularly if you do not want any issues.

Generally, driving slowly wears out your spark plugs, but certain actions can accelerate the process. These include excessive idling and driving at low speeds.

What Should You Do About It?

  • If your spark plugs are the confirmed cause as to why the Nissan Altima is not starting, then you should get the spark plugs replaced as soon as possible.
  • You can opt to change them yourself or have them swapped out by a professional.
  • At this point, your issue itself should be fixed, and all you need to do is make sure that it does not happen again.
  • You can track how long your spark plugs should last and swap them out when you think they are close to being fully worn out.
  • You will be able to tell this once your engine starts to sound rough when the Nissan Altima is idle.

4: Loose Cables

While this problem may not seem as significant as the others, it can cause much damage to the point that your Nissan Altima may not start at all.

The wires and cables inside your car are there for a reason, and if even one of them is not properly connected, it can have a ripple effect that can go as far as to prevent the car from starting.

With so many cables in the car, it can be very hard to find out which cable is causing the issue. The cable does not have to be disconnected with being loose.

Even a frayed or corroded wire can cause similar issues. Loose cables connected to the battery can cause the battery to go dead.

Other loose cables can cause issues in other components of the Nissan Altima.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Depending on the area where the cable is loose, your vehicle should be giving some identification as to where the issue is located.
  • This will depend on you carefully assessing the symptoms of the Nissan Altima.
  • Once you have isolated the area where you think the loose cable is, you should start to look for the cable and attempt to reconnect it.
  • If you find it difficult to reconnect the wire, locate the loose wire, or if there are multiple loose wires, you should seek out a skilled mechanic.
  • In the case of corrosion or frays, you may have to replace entire cables.

5: Bad Safety Immobilizer

The immobilizer system inside the Nissan Altima is an anti-theft system.

Many people perceive that carjackers will hotwire their car and steal it. This system is in place to provide an extra layer of security and ensure this does not happen.

Moreover, this system relies on installed chips to ensure the car is not started without the key. This is done through a signal and receiver in the car and the key.

If the system glitches out, you may not be able to start your car despite having the proper key fob and its working condition.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Issues with the safety immobilizer are usually just the key fobs not working due to a lack of battery. Ensure the key fob has a charged battery and is in working condition.
  • Once you have confirmed that the key fob is working properly, you should have the immobilizer system checked out by a mechanic or take the Nissan Altima back to the dealership.
  • The issue should be either in the chip found in the key fob or the chip inside the Altima itself. Both will have to be checked individually by someone who knows what they are doing.
  • You may have to replace your entire immobilization system if worst comes to worst.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why Won’t My Nissan Altima Start With New Battery?

The likely cause the Nissan Altima is still not turning on is that the battery has not been properly installed.

Ensure that it is securely in place and that all the wires are properly connected.

If everything is as it should be, there is a likely scenario that the issue lies in another critical system of the Nissan Altima and should be checked out accordingly.

Q2. Why Won’t My Nissan Altima Start Even With A Jump?

A good jump should be able to fix all battery issues assuming the battery is not completely dead. That being said, it is easy to mess up a jump.

If your Nissan Altima is not starting even with a jump, then there is always the chance that you have missed a step in jumpstarting the car.

Q3. Why Won’t My Nissan Altima Start But Lights Work?

Lights generally require little to no power, which is why they can work when the battery is low on charge.

The same cannot be said for the engine, which requires a fair amount of power to turn on. The best thing to do in this scenario is to get the battery jumpstarted.

If that has no effect, then your only remaining choice is to get the battery replaced.

Q4. Why Won’t My Nissan Altima Start But Cranks?

If the Nissan Altima is cranking, many core electrical systems work perfectly. The issue must lie in another system of the car.

This may be quite difficult to pinpoint, which is why it is recommended to take the car to a mechanic and get it checked out by a professional.

Q5. Why Won’t My Nissan Altima Start Just Clicks?

Clicking is a much worse issue when it comes to the Nissan Altima, as this shows a direct problem in the electrical system of the car.

This is a much more difficult problem to diagnose and resolve. As such, you should immediately take your Nissan Altima to a mechanic if it starts to click and does not crank.

Q6. Why Won’t My Nissan Altima Start In The Cold Weather?

The cold weather reduced the effectiveness of the battery significantly. It also causes the spark plug to not be able to generate the charge necessary to ignite the fuel.

There are plenty of other inconveniences which begin to pile up due to the cold, which all end up preventing the Nissan Altima from starting.

Q7. Why Won’t My Nissan Altima Start After I Get Gas?

The likely reason why your Nissan Altima is not getting started without gas is because of a faulty fuel pump. This is a common issue when it comes to the Nissan Altima.

I have discussed the Nissan Altima’s fuel pump issue above in the article, and you should refer to it to get the most relevant information.

Q8. Why Won’t My Nissan Altima Start But Radio Works?

While there could be a likely case where the Nissan Altima’s battery just does not have enough power, the other scenario is that something is wrong with the ignition.

The car is getting to the state where it can start the gadgets and knick-knacks but struggles to start the engine, which is a clear sign of an ignition problem.

Related: What Are The Worst Years For The Nissan Altima?


Overall the Nissan Altima is a pretty good car, but over the years, there have been so many issues with the lineup that people tend to misjudge the car.

While you may have a wonderful experience with the car, there is always the chance that you may run into an issue that will force you to say,” Why won’t my Nissan Altima start?”.

That being said, it should be easy for you to identify which issue you are dealing with now that you have finished reading this article.

This should enable you to take the necessary steps needed to fix your car.