'94 Altima Intermittent Engine Starting

05-17-2010, 03:22 AM
recently my Altima has had problems starting. I'll turn the key to start, all dashboard lights come on, but absolutely nothing happens. Engine doesn't turn over, and I don't even hear a click. Other times it starts completely fine.Sometimes it takes me one or two tries to get it started, other times it has taken me 30-40 tries. I am baffled. Can I make the problem worse by jiggling the key in the ignition or cranking harder on it?
This has been ongoing for the past couple weeks. Is there a way to verify the problem is the ignition switch, or could it be something else further down the line?
Would I (or a mechanic) have to take apart the steering column?
I'm sorry, I really don't know a lot about cars, but I do know that my car isn't worth more than a few hundred bucks and that replacing or fixing this issue may be a lost cause at this point. I just really don't want to part with her because A) I have had the car forever and I love it, and B) i can't afford a new car
your help would be greatly appreciated !!

[If I haven't accurately described my problem, I would be happy to post a video to youtube of me trying to start the car...if anyone thinks that is necessary, or would help with diagnosis.]

Again, thank you so much for your help!

05-17-2010, 02:25 PM
when's the last time you changed the fuel filter???

that's one possibility...

05-18-2010, 01:24 AM
hey ricebike thanks for the response.

I last had the fuel filter changed in March, 2007.

I found an old key for the car that I used to use, it is a little bit bent, but I tried it today, and that seems to start the car on the 2nd try nearly every time.

Does this mean my problem is solved? Or, does this mean I have a more serious problem w/in my ignition switch? If a crooked key seems to be the answer...:confused:

Today, I successfully started the car about 8 times with that key getting it on the 2nd try nearly every time.

The last time I tried though, I heard a horrible, horrible sound. It sounded like metal going through a blender. I turned the key back to off, then tried again and it started fine.

Should I just take it in and have them run a diagnostics on it or something? (not even really sure that what means)

Anyways, it still seems like a mystery and all the family and friends I have talked to seem just as mystified as I am about this.

hoping someone can help!!

05-18-2010, 07:13 AM

maybe your first key is worn...

compare the two and see if the bent key has "sharper edges" than the first key you were using

if you have the key code (maybe a sticker in the glovebox or a card in your owners manual), you can get a new replacement key cut from that code in a dealer

i'd go that route first since it's the least expensive
just for preventative maintenance, isn't it due for a new one? on my nissan240sx, i was letting it run close to empty more often due to this economy & my filter got clogged at 42,xxx miles; i guess you can stretch it for another year since you sorta found the problem

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