• Menu
  • Menu
nissan frontier

Nissan Frontier Not Starting & Clicking Noise: 6 Common Causes

Is your Nissan Frontier not starting and making a clicking noise? You’re not alone. Many truck owners in the USA have had this issue with their Nissan Frontiers. Thankfully, there are several potential causes that can be easily identified and fixed.

The most common cause is a weak battery or corroded battery terminals. If your battery is weak, it will not be able to provide enough power to start the truck. If the battery terminals are corroded, they won’t be able to draw the necessary power either. The lights and radio may still work, but the engine won’t turn over.

Let’s look at some possible reasons why your Nissan Frontier isn’t starting. 

Weak Battery

nissan frontier not starting clicking noise
Photo by: Pixabay

A dead or dying battery is one common cause of starter issues in a Nissan Frontier. If your battery is weak, it won’t provide enough power to start the engine, resulting in a clicking sound when you turn the key in the ignition.

To check if this is the issue, try jumpstarting your vehicle using jumper cables or a portable jump starter to see if it starts up normally. If it does, then you most likely need to replace the battery.

A battery can also be tested using a multimeter. Check the voltage; if it is below 12 volts, you need to replace your battery.

Corroded Battery Terminals

corroded battery terminals
Photo by: Wikimedia Commons

Corroded terminals on the battery itself is another potential cause of starter issues. Corrosion prevents electricity from flowing properly and could prevent your engine from receiving enough power to start up.

To clean them off, you’ll need to disconnect the battery terminals and use an old toothbrush and baking soda solution (1 tablespoon baking soda + 1 cup water) to scrub away any corrosion buildup.

Once they are clean, reconnect them and try to start your Frontier. If it works, then you’ve fixed the issue. If your truck still doesn’t start, you’ll need to look at other potential causes.

Starter Motor Issues

nissan frontier starter motor
Photo by: Unsplash

The starter motor is responsible for turning over the engine when you turn the key in the ignition. If there’s something wrong with it, your engine might not start at all or make a clicking noise instead of starting up as normal.

This can usually be diagnosed by taking your vehicle to a mechanic who can inspect it and run tests on the starter motor to determine whether it needs to be replaced or repaired. 

A temporary fix is tapping the starter motor with a hammer. This can help free up any stuck parts and may get your engine running again. If this is effective in starting your Frontier, you’ll need to replace the starter motor as soon as possible.

Bad Alternator

alternator issues
Photo by: Pixabay

A bad alternator can also prevent your Frontier from starting or make a clicking noise when trying to start it up. The alternator is responsible for charging the battery and providing power for other electrical components in the vehicle, such as lights and radio.

If it’s faulty, the battery won’t be able to charge properly and may not be able to provide enough power for the engine to start.

It’s difficult to diagnose starter issues without the help of a professional mechanic, so it’s always best to take your Nissan Frontier to a trusted repair shop. A mechanic can check the alternator to see if it needs replacing.  

Bad Ground Connection

nissan frontier wiring
Photo by: Pixabay

A bad ground connection between components of your Frontier can prevent them from working correctly, including being able to start up properly or making clicking noises when trying to do so.

The ground connection is essentially an electrical conductor between two or more points in the vehicle and allows the current to flow freely between them. If it’s faulty, the connection can be disrupted, preventing the engine from starting.

To check for bad ground connections, you’ll need to use a multimeter to measure the voltage at each point and ensure it’s within the normal range. You’ll need to replace or repair the connection if you find a lower than expected reading.

Fuse Needs Replacing

Photo by: Wikimedia Commons

Finally, if none of the above issues pan out, you may need to replace a fuse. Fuses are responsible for controlling current and preventing too much from flowing through a particular circuit.

If a fuse is bad, it won’t be able to do its job properly and can prevent your engine from starting. To check for this, you’ll need to locate the fuse and test it using a multimeter. An easy way to check all the fuses is to use a continuity tester with a light on it.

If the fuse is bad, you’ll need to replace it with a new one. If the fuse isn’t the issue and your Frontier still won’t start, then it’s time to call a professional mechanic for further assistance.


Can You Jump A Nissan Frontier With A Bad Starter?

Jumping a truck with a bad starter is not something you should attempt on your own, especially if it is a Nissan Frontier and you are unfamiliar with the powertrain. This could lead to irreparable damage to the engine and electrical components of your vehicle.

It is best to contact a qualified automotive technician who can diagnose the issue causing the lack of starting power before attempting any repair or jumpstart. The right professional will know the precise amount of jumpstarting power needed to protect your Nissan’s engine and battery while successfully lowering its starter resistance.

What Is The Cost Of Replacing A Starter In A Nissan Frontier?

Replacing a starter in a Nissan Frontier can be expensive because the parts don’t come cheap, and the labor required is considerable.

Depending on the year of your vehicle, the part can range from $100 to $400, and the cost of hiring a certified technician to do the repair can add several more hundred dollars to your bill. It’s important to remember that paying for quality service and genuine parts with reliable warranties is always worth it compared to using cheaper alternatives.


Sammy is a lifelong gearhead who's been wrenching on cars and bikes since he was tall enough to reach the pedals. These days, he spends his time writing about all things automotive, from new performance products to how to get the most out of your old ride. When he's not behind a computer, you'll find him at the race track or out on a trail somewhere.

View stories