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dovi04 12-18-2018 04:26 PM

2011 Versa unable to start
Hey guys, really hoping this is the right area to post in. Tried to start my car and the engine doesn't turn over when I turn key to start. Instead, I hear an electric motor making a whirring sound. I am not very knowledgeable on this subject and on my way to work where I can look into it more. I only tried starting it a couple times and after recording that sound I stopped. I have a recording I can share. Just sounds like an electric motor winding up when I turn the key.

It's a 2011 Versa with just under 96k miles. A bit of history, I had the 90k done in October. Just after 90k service I was driving on highway when suddenly it wouldn't accelerate past 60mph and shake violently if I tried. I immediately brought to mechanic who replaced MAF and spark plugs, oil. He said MAF failed and plugs were pretty dirty.

My main concern is if I can get it running on my own. It's in front of my house thankfully. And I do hve plenty of tools. Just need to work on my ability to diagnose and repair this issue.

Alan_nc 12-18-2018 04:44 PM

This is a totally different problem. It's sounds like the "Bendix" (solenoid) in the starter has failed. When you turn the key it spins the starter motor. There is a part that makes the gears in the starter motor engage the flywheel - this is what is probably what is wrong with your car. I don't know on that car if you can just replace the part or need to replace the whole starter motor.

dovi04 12-18-2018 05:26 PM

Ok sounds good I will research more into that. And I realize now that the engine not turning is just a result of the actual issue. Sorry for misleading title I was pretty flustered about this. Already have spent close to 900 in the last 2 months on service and repairs. Are there any specific parts that are known to cause problems when these cars reach 100k. I know it really depends on how the car was treated leading up to that 100k but just wondering.

amc49 12-18-2018 10:15 PM

I would get the battery loadtested first to make sure it's not that. If battery is low sometimes the solenoid will not throw out completely to just let the starter spin free, it doesn't spin the motor.

Then buy entire starter likely next, if the solenoid is not the issue you still fix the problem that way. The solenoid by itself may be bad and just not throw out to again engage the engine, OR, the starter has a reduction geartrain in it which would then spin free as a gear has broken there and the starter or bendix itself is the problem, solenoid won't touch that. Bendix and solenoid are two different things, the solenoid connects up big power and works an arm that throws the bendix forward, the bendix being the one way clutch gear that allows the starter to back off from flexplate when the engine spins up faster in rpm than the starter can spin it.

The solenoid commonly does NOT sell separately unless you DEMAND it, they will play stupid to sell the entire starter if they can.

May not be starter at all, when mine died the car made a buzzing noise that was not starter at all but a rookie might think so, rather a relay buzzing due to low power. The battery was dead, why I said get it checked first, could save a lot of money.

SlickVersa 12-19-2018 02:22 AM


Originally Posted by amc49 (Post 286276)
I would get the battery loadtested first to make sure it's not that. If battery is low sometimes the solenoid will not throw out completely to just let the starter spin free, it doesn't spin the motor.

I would think one way to test the battery is to attempt to jump start the car using another known-good vehicle. If the car starts this way, the battery is a culprit. If not, move on to starter replacement.

Keith Wagner 12-19-2018 03:11 PM

Check the battery connectors and wires. The mechanic may have left one loose, or inadvertently broke a wire or connection.
Then go with battery.
Then starter. You are better off just replacing the whole unit as you have to remove it anyway.

amc49 12-19-2018 11:30 PM

Re: post #5 ...........

The problem so many have now with cars that refuse to jump off is due to the common sales now of Chinese battery cable sets that simply do not work, and it tremendously complicates how the users view what happens next. I used to sell those cables and most of them would not start a tricycle. So then you do what next?

Even before that, simply jumping a car off successfully or not has literally nothing to do with the battery being bad in and of itself. The only true test of a battery good/bad is a loadtest at the correct CCA.

X2 to cable terminal connections, most do not pay close enough attention there.

amc49 12-19-2018 11:41 PM

At the utterly brain stupid prices 'lifetime' (LOL) starters commonly go for today, I for one do not EVER change the entire thing if not needed, and I haven't bought one in over 30 years and a long stream of cars. It is too simple to change just the one needed part, the hardest thing is commonly getting ahold of the part. I tend to 'rebuild them' at any instance they get yanked at over 150K anyway and then they go right back in again and often with no money spent at all.

TechGuy8 12-20-2018 01:55 AM

I like to rebuild starter myself instead of getting a rebuilt starter. Hardest part is getting the part needed to fix the starter. I get my parts from a local rebuilt store. Ask starter rebuilt store near you.

dovi04 01-02-2019 01:03 AM

Ok so after having the starter tested at 2 Autozone locations I'm still a bit confused. It passed 2 tests at 1st Autozone. I decided to take to another Autozone. 1st one passed, 2nd failed, and 3rd passed.

Here's the thing, the guy may have cabled it wrong for the second test. It was different person who did the 1st test. After re-cabling (with guy who did 1st test), 2nd guy got it to pass the 3rd attempt...I asked him about this and he said it could point to solenoid starting to fail intermittently, not cabling error. At any rate I still ordered a new starter bc I have to start checking things off the list before I resort to towing to a mechanic. I will return the new starter if it doesn't work.

I brought battery in to same Autozone right now to be tested. He said it was at 58% and could definitely use a charge. So they are charging it now.

My question now:
If the car battery sat unused from Dec 18/19 until being tested today Jan 1, and it was at 58%, would that be normal or expected level to drop to?

Battery only has 30k miles on it.

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