Troubleshooting a Nissan Starter Systemby Zyon Silket
The starter system in a Nissan consists of the battery, ignition relay switch, starter motor and starter solenoid. If one of these components fails, you Nissan will not start. Fortunately, you can isolate and troubleshoot each component to quickly determine which component is causing your Nissan not to start properly.
Connect the black lead of your multimeter to the negative battery terminal on your Nissan. Connect the red lead of your multimeter to the positive battery terminal. Set your multimeter to "20V DC," and measure the output of your battery. If the battery puts out less than 12 volts of power, it may not start your engine. Charge the battery until it reads at least 12 volts of power on the multimeter, and then attempt to start the Nissan.
Turn on the headlights on your Nissan, and attempt to start the vehicle. If the headlights do not dim, the ignition relay switch is defective. If the lights do dim, the relay switch is working correctly and the problem is elsewhere.
Locate the starter motor and solenoid on the driver's side transmission housing. The starter is mounted to the housing, and the solenoid mounts to the top of the starter motor. Locate the two metal connectors on the back of the solenoid. Both connectors have a wire connected to them.
Place the blade of a screwdriver over both connectors at the same time. Signal to the second person to turn on the ignition key for 10 seconds. The engine will not turn over because you shorted out the solenoid. However, the starter motor should turn on. If it does and it makes a smooth humming sound, the starter motor is fine and the solenoid is defective. If the starter motor fails to turn on or it runs intermittently, the starter motor is defective and the solenoid is most likely OK.
- When you test the starter motor, you are not testing the solenoid. If the starter motor is bad, it is still possible that the solenoid is also bad, however, this is very unlikely.
Items you will need
- Second person
- "Haynes Repair Manual: Nissan Frontier, Xterra Repair Manual 2005-2008"; Jay Storer; 2008
- "Haynes Repair Manual: Nissan Sentra, 200SX Repair Manual 1995-2006"; Larry Warren, Tim Imhoff, John H. Haynes; 2010