We have a strange starting issue with our Nissan Micra SE K12 2006.

It first happened in March when it was freezing cold - it would turn over, battery was strong and kept going and going, the starter was trying its best but the car just wouldn't start.

Got a mechanic in and he got it started (eventually), but he didn't really know why it started or what he did to get it going.

Ran fine again for 3 months and in June it did it again. Took it to a garage, they couldn't start it, took it to another last week and it started first time and has done every day since! So they don't know why either.

Before giving up completely it gets slowly worse over a week or two where it won't start, but then we take the key out, rotate it and try it the other way and it starts. Then sometimes that won't work and we try the second key and that works. Then it gives up entirely.

Does anyone have any ideas at all what it could be?

We've so far discounted: Timing chain - the latest garage have ruled out this as an issue. Top crankshaft sensor - replaced this in June with no change. Spark plugs - new in April and made no difference. Coolant temp sensor - replaced after engine warning light came in April. Battery - turns over and over so seems OK, and it's starting again now. Starter - turns over and over so seems OK, and it's starting again now.

Nissan replaced an ECU relay as a recall in May, but this was after the car failed first time.

Update: Got it back from the garage. As soon as it came off the flatbed, they said it started and started every day for the week that it was sitting there. We took it home and within a week it refused to start again...

Today I jumped it with my car and it started immediately. Is it possible that the battery is faulty somehow? The car lights up, everything comes on, it turns over (keeps going and going), the immobiliser light goes out when I put the key in, and when it does start it runs perfectly.

One last thing...if I run it down our hill and try to bump-start it, it doesn't work. Just grinds to halt.

  • Do you have a spare key? If so, have you tried it?
    – GdD
    Jun 21, 2018 at 10:28
  • Yes, when it's starting to have trouble we try the spare and that often works. Often just turning the first key round and trying it a second time works. But then it just suddenly says "no more" and refuses to start with all keys, whichever way up they're facing.
    – NobleGuy
    Jun 21, 2018 at 10:34
  • Are you getting the security indicator light when starting? It should look like a key symbol inside a car.
    – GdD
    Jun 21, 2018 at 10:47
  • Pretty sure that it was showing to begin with, then going out when the key had been in for a couple of seconds.
    – NobleGuy
    Jun 21, 2018 at 13:52
  • Is it still showing when you are having the starting problems @user3379824?
    – GdD
    Jun 21, 2018 at 13:54

2 Answers 2


i dont know if it's the immobilizer system in general, but i can tell you FOR SURE rotating the key will have zero effect. It's probably just the taking the key out and putting it back in that makes a difference. Definitely make sure the key light is out. I know people who have this problem. If you have the system trigger, you simply can't start the car until a set period of time passes. Possibly ten minutes? That part i'm not sure of and it may depend on the car.

  • If the contacts on the immobilizer "chip" (ha) in the key are worn or for some other reason not making good contact inside the cylinder, flipping the key over could very well have an effect.
    – 3Dave
    Jul 2, 2018 at 20:54
  • We've come to the conclusion that it's got to be either: Battery is bad (even though it seems OK), Key is worn out (both keys though?), dying relay in the ignition system (fuses look OK), or some other electrical issue that's going to be hard to find.
    – NobleGuy
    Jul 3, 2018 at 7:27
  • this year doesn't have contacts on the key. It has a transponder chip in it. Therefore flipping it has ZERO effect.
    – John Lord
    Jul 8, 2018 at 5:09

As I've been saying in other intermittent electrical problem questions, the modern fuse board /box have slow drying fuses /circuits to allow you to get to a garage to fix them. Multiplex circuitry also shows up as similar intermittent /nonsensical responses. New battery is first test. If it's still the same then it's logic in the fuse box or the ecu. Or sometimes a peripheral junction box like a temic.

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