1996 Nissan Maxima Engine Cranks But Does Not Start

Reader Question
This is my question. I have a Nissan Maxima 1996 that would crank but would not start. Two weeks ago a licensed mechanic tuned it up and the next morning the car would crank but would not start.

I towed it to the mechanic and everything seems fine including the sensors. The mechanic gave up and could not tell me what is wrong with my baby.

Any help would be very much appreciated.

Hi there Gnanka,

If your engine will not start but will crank over and over…..you are missing one of the main ingredients to start a combustion engine….fuel or spark.

I prefer to check the spark at the spark plugs first, since it is easiest to do. If you have spark at the spark plugs….then check the fuel pressure at the engine with a manual fuel pressure gauge.

If you don’t have spark, then test the ignition coil, ignition module and computer for spark at each of those items. This can sometimes require a mechanic, test light and a wiring diagram….there is not a whole lot of easy do it yourself stuff anymore.

You can sometimes jump start a weak fuel pump by banging on the bottom of the fuel tank with your fist or rubber hammer AS someone cranks the engine over. If it starts, you most likely need a new fuel pump.

I would be looking for another more qualified mechanic; if he can not determine what is missing…either spark or fuel….he is probably not a very capable mechanic.

IF this problem was not there before your tune up….then it could be caused by something the mechanic did when he did the tune up. Maybe a spark plug wire or coil wire is loose or has come off completely? I would also check all the fuses just to make sure one did not “blow” accidentally after the tune up.

If this problem was already there before the tune up, and you thought the tune up would correct the issue….then we need to start from square one, checking for spark and fuel pressure. A tune up these days is basically just new spark plugs and an air filter….not much.


Austin Davis

Posted in: Won't Start Issues

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