Why Won’t My Nissan Pathfinder Start?

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As the demand for SUVs rises in the automotive market, so does the frequency of complaints. This is seen mostly among older models.

However, there are occasions where there have been reported problems in newer SUVs. One of the latest and the most popular SUVs among Nissan’s roster is the Nissan Pathfinder.

The Nissan Pathfinder is quite well known for being a formidable vehicle.

However, the problem of being unable to start the vehicle is quite common. Several issues can prevent the car from starting from battery issues and fuel problems.

If you too are asking the question “Why Won’t My Nissan Pathfinder start?,” then one of these could be the answer you are looking for:

  1. Battery Issues
  2. Alternator Issues
  3. Defective Spark Plug Or Blown Fuse
  4. Insurance Lock
  5. Fuel/Fuel Pump Failure

These problems need to be discussed in a bit more detail, which is why I recommend that you read this article in its entirety.

The reason is that I have mentioned some of the most common fixes for these problems later in this article.

What Would Cause A Nissan Pathfinder To Not Start?

If your Nissan Pathfinder is struggling to start, then read my guide

Most of the time, the source of the problem of not being able to start your Nissan Pathfinder’s engine is simple.

Still, if you are not confident in your mechanical skills, I recommend that you have your car checked by a professional mechanic so that you do not end up accidentally hurting yourself.

1: Battery Problems

This is one of those problems anyone will tell you to look into when you mention that you are facing this issue.

This is because the battery is the brain of your Nissan Pathfinder. It is responsible for providing power to all electronic components in the car, even those outside the engine.

Battery-related issues can be because by a multitude of different factors.

The battery may not be providing enough power to the engine’s electrical components, making it impossible for the vehicle to be able to start.

This can be either because your battery is dead, out of charge, loosely connected, or has corrosion on the terminals. In either case, unless fixed, you cannot get rid of the problem.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Normally you should be able to start your Nissan Pathfinder with the help of another vehicle and a jumper cable.
  • This will be just enough for you to be able to get to the shop if your battery is not completely dead.
  • If not, you will have to remove the battery and take that to the shop. If it’s out of charge, then they will charge it for you.
  • In the case of a dead battery, ask the shop if they can give you a discount on the new battery in exchange for your current one.
  • If your battery’s terminals have corrosion, you need to clean that off after removing the terminals.
  • Once cleaned, tightly put the terminals back on and ensure that there is as little contact with water as possible. The easiest way is to cover the terminals in oil.

2: Alternator Issues

If your battery is frequently low on charge, there is a high chance that the problem is related to the Nissan Pathfinder’s alternator.

This is the component that is responsible for charging the battery. It does this by taking the mechanical energy produced from fuel burning and converting it into electricity.

It makes it in alternating and direct current based on the requirements of the vehicle’s components. Alternators can fail for a lot of different reasons.

These can be something as simple as driving in very hot weather for a long period, or there is a bad diode inside the alternator.

Diodes are the essential component of the alternator as they are responsible for the conversion process. It is important to check if they are going bad.

What Should You Do About It?

  • The first thing you can do is check how long the car lasts on battery. Check to see if it dies pretty soon.
  • Alternatively, you can do the headlight test. If you see any flickering or the lights turning off entirely when you try to start, then your hypothesis is confirmed.
  • Some of the diodes in the alternator are replaceable, while others are not. So you will have to get it checked for sure.
  • In any case, getting a replacement is the better option, even if it can be repaired, because chances are that if one diode goes wrong, the others will follow suit.

3: Defective Spark Plug Or Blown Fuse

There are rare cases where a fuse blowing up completely halts the vehicle, but it is a possibility nonetheless.

These are easy to replace as well, but you will have to check which one of the fuses has blown. You will need to access your Nissan Pathfinder’s fuse box.

The spark plug is another quite visible part that can cause start-up problems. This component is quite self-explanatory.

This component creates the sparks that help combust the fuel for ignition. It is possible that if the car’s engine cannot ignite, the spark plug is not working properly.

This can be because of the spark plug having a loose connection, or it is defective. The latter is also a rare occurrence.

What Should You Do About It?

  • In the case of a blown fuse, you have to open the fuse box of your car. Check to see which fuse has blown to get a replacement fuse.
  • Be sure that you have disconnected the fuse box from the battery.
  • If you do not know how to do that, then do not attempt this yourself. Instead, let a professional handle it.
  • If your spark plug is loose, you can fix this problem immediately by tightening the connection.
  • If that does not work, then the spark plug is defective, and you need to get it replaced.

4: Insurance Lock

Although many insurance companies do not do this, there is a chance that if your Nissan Pathfinder is insured, it’s the company locking your vehicle for safety.

This is generally done to prevent thieves from being able to start your car when they attempt to steal the car.

However, most cars have much superior security measures now, so this is a rare case now.

How this works is that your insurance company will have their system disconnect one or maybe even more components like the alternator or the battery.

This is to prevent the car from being able to start. There is never any damage done to any parts of your vehicle. This is simply a means of disabling it.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Your first instinct should be to see if someone attempted to steal your Nissan Pathfinder.
  • Contact your insurance company. There could have been a false alarm as well.
  • In either case, ask them what it was that they disabled and have it enabled so you can start your car.
  • The insurance company should most likely pay you for whatever you need to pay to get the component enabled.

5: Fuel/Fuel Pump Failure

If the battery is brain, then fuel is the blood of a car, and the fuel pump is the heart that literally pumps the fuel through to the engine.

For an engine to be able to start there must be a certain pressure at which it is being provided with this fuel. If not, the vehicle will not be able to start.

If the problem is related to the fuel pressure, there can be a few reasons for this. The fuel pump doesn’t need to be the component that is messed up.

If there is some sort of blockage in the fuel filter, that can cause improper pressure to the engine.

Either that or you could have simply forgotten that you did not get your Nissan Pathfinder refueled recently.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Firstly, if you have not gotten your car filled up, then go ahead because, with an empty tank, it obviously will not get ignition.
  • Make sure to get the blockages cleaned out from the fuel filter and the pipes so that you can be sure whether it is, in fact, the fuel pump that is defective.
  • If so, then check to see if it can be repaired. Although these do not last in the long run, they will get your Nissan Pathfinder running again.
  • If not, then you will have to get a replacement for your fuel pump.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

It is always possible that your new battery has not been installed correctly.

Make sure that there are no loose connections and that the battery is connected as it should be.

Another likely scenario is that the battery is not the cause of the problem and that you may have other issues that you have to deal with.

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

Jumpstarts are a good way to recharge a dead battery but are not the solution to every problem. First, make sure your battery is the cause of the issue by conducting a voltage test.

If the battery is fine then your issue lies in another critical section of the Nissan Pathfinder. If not, you may not be jumpstarting it right.

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

The interior lights of the Nissan Pathfinder generally should not consume a lot of energy, especially when compared to the engine of the car.

A likely scenario is that the battery just does not have the charge to start the engine.

It will, however, be able to turn on the light which is why you should opt for a jumpstart or replace the battery.

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

This situation could mean a lot of things as there are a lot of different parts which work together to keep the Nissan Pathfinder operational.

You should first start with the spark plugs and see if they are working as intended. You can then move on to the fuel system and see if the engine is getting a good amount of fuel.

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

In the case that your Nissan Pathfinder just clicks, you may have an electrical issue on your hands. In this case, it is recommended that you get the vehicle checked out by a mechanic.

The issue could be in the electrical components or in the wiring of the car. This can be difficult to figure out, so visiting a mechanic is recommended.

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

In the cold weather, the Nissan Pathfinder will find it difficult for its engine to heat up and its spark plugs to produce the necessary charge to start the engine.

Additionally, the oil of the vehicle starts to thicken up, causing a lot of issues. On top of this, the battery also loses a lot of its efficacy.

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

Being a pickup truck, the Nissan Pathfinder needs a lot of fuel to run. Even if you fill the tank to the max, there can always be issues that prevent the fuel from even reaching the engine.

You are probably dealing with a blockage or leaks. It could also be an issue with a component of the fuel system.

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

Similar to the lights, the radio of the Nissan Pathfinder does not require a lot of power to start, making it easy for even a low-charged battery to activate it.

The same cannot be said of the engine which needs a lot of power. A simple jumpstart should be able to resolve the issue. Additionally, you can also opt for a battery replacement.

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


Being the only pickup truck, Nissan is currently offering, the company had to make sure that the Nissan Pathfinder had as few issues as possible.

The pickup truck market is already full of a variety of different trucks, and Nissan cannot afford to lose any ground.

That being said, there are still issues in the Nissan Pathfinder that raise the questions, such as why won’t my Nissan Pathfinder start.

Now that you know the root causes of the issues when it comes to your Nissan Pathfinder, you should be able to easily assess your situation.