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Nissan Xterra Won’t Start Clicking Noise – The Common Causes And Solutions!

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Nissan Xterra Won't Start Clicking Noise

You might have noticed your Nissan Xterra starting with a clicking sound or not starting at all. These problems are most common in the Nissan Xterra, especially after covering long distances on rough roads.

So, why my Nissan Xterra won’t start clicking noise? It is most likely due to a dead or weak battery, a broken starter, or a poor electrical connection leading to loss of power or no power supply. The clicking sound may result from engine failure, a faulty alternator, or a starter motor.

In this article, we shall review the major causes of your Nissan Xterra not starting and making a clicking sound.

Nissan Xterra Won’t Start Clicking Noise – Quick Summary

Nissan Xterra Won't Start Clicking Noise

If you are in a hurry but want to understand why your Nissan Xterra won’t start or make a clicking sound, read through this brief overview and address the issues adequately.

Reasons Possible Solution
A weak or dead batteryRecharge if low and in good condition
Replace with a new battery if damaged
Broken or damaged starterReplace or repair the broken starter head
Poor electrical connectionsInspect the electrical connections and repair or replace the broken cables
Faulty alternatorReplace the alternator
A faulty starter motorReplace the damaged starter motor
Engine failureRepair the damaged parts and components
Replace the engine with a new OEM part
Poor ground connectionCheck the connection and tighten the ground cable

Nissan Xterra Won’t Start Clicking Noise – The Common Causes And Solutions

Common Causes of Nissan Xterra Won't Start Clicking Noise

Let’s look at the exact causes and possible solutions to a Nissan Xterra that won’t start but makes a clicking sound when ignited.

A Weak Or Dead Battery

For a vehicle to start when ignited, a battery must supply the starting power to the electrical appliances in the ignition system. Therefore, if your Nissan Xterra fails to start or makes a clicking noise when ignited, your first checkpoint should be the battery.

What To Do?

Several issues can be associated with the battery, and you need to address each separately.

First, let’s check the voltage level of the battery to determine whether you need to replace or recharge the battery.

Nissan Xterra Dead Battery

How to test the voltage level in the 12V Nissan Xterra battery?

Follow the steps below;

  • Step 1: Switch off the car and open the hood to access the car battery
  • Step 2: Unscrew the cover casing on the battery to expose the battery
  • Step 3: Remove the plastic/rubber casings on the battery terminals
  • Step 4: Disconnect the wire connections on the terminals
  • Step 5: Connect the terminals of the voltmeter to both battery terminals

Check the readings on the voltmeter. If the voltmeter reads between 12.4 and 12.7 volts, the battery is in good condition, and you should proceed with further diagnosis.

If the voltage reads below 12.4V, recharge it with a trickle-slow process. For voltage above 12.9, turn on the high beams to remove the excess charge.

For a dead battery, replace the battery with a new battery and use the recommended type and size.

Poor Battery Connection

The battery might be in good condition, but still, you face problems starting your car. You, therefore, need to check the battery connections that may be affected by corrosion at the terminals or loose clippers.

Nissan Xterra Poor Battery Connection

What To Do?

In the case of corroded terminals, you need to clean the terminals using a soft brush and hot water to melt the corrosion. Handle one terminal at a time to avoid short-circuiting the battery, as water is a good conductor of electricity.

Also, tighten the loose clippers by fastening the holding screws. You can also replace worn-out clippers with new ones.

Broken Or Damaged Starter Head

The starter head completes the car’s electrical system to ignite the vehicle. However, a broken starter head causes an incomplete connection causing the car to click without starting.

What To Do?

Replace the starter head and install an OEM part that fits the starter port. Ensure the cables are well connected after replacement.

Poor Electrical Connections

A Nissan Xterra’s ignition system comprises electrical connections coordinated to ensure the smooth starting of the engine. When a single electrical link is broken, there is no power to ignite the vehicle, thus the clicking sound.

Most of the cables are damaged by rodents or blown fuses. Be sure to inspect the electrical accessories for possible short circuits.

Nissan Xterra Poor Electrical Connections

What To Do?

Inspect the wiring connection checking for any naked or worn-out cables. Repair the damaged lines or replace them if wholly damaged.

Faulty Alternator

An alternator recharges the car battery by converting mechanical energy into electrical energy. A faulty alternator affects the charging system, and the battery dies even if it’s new.

What To Do?

Replace the faulty alternator with a new alternator and ensure it has similar features as recommended by the manufacturer.

To replace the alternator, follow the process below.

  1. Turn off the car and disconnect the battery terminals
  2. Locate the cable connections at the back of the alternator and disconnect them carefully
  3. Remove the belt attached to the pulley on the front end of the alternator
  4. Locate and unscrew the bolts and screws holding the alternator
  5. Get the new alternator and replace it and hold it in position using bolts

Replace the belt and tighten it to the required torque, connect the cables, and reconnect the car battery’s connection. You can now check the link by igniting the vehicle.

A Faulty Starter Motor

A starter motor is responsible for cranking the engine for a smooth start-up. However, when the starter motor is faulty, you may experience a clicking sound mainly coming from the starter solenoid.

A faulty motor rotates without enough power to start the engine hence the clicking sound inside the motor.

Nissan Xterra Faulty Starter Motor

What To Do?

You can use a hammer to hit the motor gently without applying destructive force as your partner starts the engine. This applies when the gears and rotating discs in the motor are misaligned and require gentle hitting for alignment.

However, most starter motors can operate for up to 100,000 miles before being replaced. Therefore, check on the mileage and replace it if need be.

Poor Ground Connection

The ground connection is essential in completing the electrical circuit of the vehicle. A poor or loose ground connection causes your car not to start and make clicking sounds due to an incomplete earthing connection.

This is common to the engine starter motor. That’s because the engine is mainly insulated with rubber pads to help absorb vibrations, but in turn, it cuts the ground connection.

What to do?

Using a conducting cable, reinforce the ground connection between the engine parts and the chassis. Ensure the main electrical components along the ignition system are well grounded.

Engine Failure

The Nissan Xterra engine may be faulty from an accident or cracks in one of its components, leading to your vehicle not starting. Engine failure occurs due to poor maintenance, lack of oil, and hydro lock.

A faulty engine will not start but will make clicking noise when ignited.

Nissan Xterra Engine Failure

What To Do?

Have a professional mechanic inspect your engine for appropriate action. You can repair the damaged parts and replace the ones damaged beyond repair.

Consider replacing the faulty engine with a new engine if the damage is excessive, and repairing it will cost you relatively the same.

If your Nissan Xterra won’t start and you’re hearing a clicking noise, you’re not alone in facing this frustrating issue. Similar starting problems might also occur in other models, like the Subaru Ascent and the GMC Sierra, which might experience a no-start situation with no clicking noise. Our article on Subaru Ascent won’t start provides valuable insights into addressing starting-related concerns in that model. Additionally, for GMC Sierra owners dealing with a no-start condition and no clicking noise, our article on GMC Sierra won’t start no click offers guidance for diagnosing and resolving this specific issue. By understanding these various challenges and their potential solutions, you’ll be better prepared to address starting problems effectively.


Listed below are frequently asked questions about Nissan Xterra not starting with a clicking noise.

Q: How Much Does Nissan Xterra No Start Diagnostic Cost?

Nissan Xterra models will cost you between $80 and $120 to diagnose the exact problem causing it not to start.

However, the cost may increase based on the mechanic you hire and any additional requirements discovered in the process, such as the need for complex tools and added labor.

Q: Why Won’t My Nissan Xterra Start Even After A Jump Start?

Jump-starting your car should solve the starting problem if the battery is the only problem.

However, if you jump start your car, but it still doesn’t start, you need to check other possible causes, such as a faulty starter motor or poor electrical connections.

Q: Why won’t My Nissan Xterra Start After I Refuel The Gas?

Your Nissan Xterra likely fails to start due to a clogged fuel filter or faulty fuel pump that was upset after fueling.

You need to check the fuel filter, replace it if blocked, and check the pump for any problems.


Nissan Xterra may fail to start when ignited and make a clicking sound from the starter motor or the engine due to insufficient power to ignite and crank the engimust need to address the problem by ensuring a smooth power supply across your vehicle’s ignition system. Ensure your vehicle is well maintained and serviced to detect these problems early before they cause more harm to your car.

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