2008 Nissan Altima Not Starting--brake switch?

tessajtessaj Member Posts: 2
edited July 2015 in Nissan
This past week it's taken me anywhere from 5-30 minutes to start my car. I have my foot on the brake, push the button, and it does not start. The radio and lights come on, however. I have to keep trying over and over until it starts. I just got a new battery so that's not the problem. I also have a new battery in the key fob. The guy in the service dept at the dealership said it's most likely the brake switch, since it does just what the car would do if your foot wasn't on the brake. Has anyone else ever had this issue?

See Also
How To Change the Brake Switch


  • nick87nick87 Member Posts: 5
    I am going through this right now! My wife calls me - of course she is on a road trip 250 miles away to help her. Car won't start. Its a 2008 with 70,000 miles on it. I figure battery and we jump it and it starts. Off to Autozone to check battery. Battery bad. Replaced it. Still won't start! Check new battery - fine. Check alternator - fine. Do some reading on here and it looks like the brake switch. Have my wife do a little test. The brake has to be depressed to allow car to start. So she presses it and someone else checks the brake light. No light. Car won't start either. Have her keep repressing it until light come on. When light comes on, she presses the starter and the car starts! Of course its a Sunday so no dealership to go to until tomorrow. I could probably figure out how to clean the contact on the switch if I was there. Hope it's only the switch and nothing else. At least she can get to the dealership without a tow which is 30 miles away.
  • nick87nick87 Member Posts: 5
    Update on brake switch issue. Brought into dealer this afternoon and they confirmed it was the brake switch. According to them its a common problem with the Altimas. $40 for switch and another $40 for installing.
  • gooddeal2gooddeal2 Member Posts: 750
    I wouldn't call this a problem when you need to replace a switch at 70k miles. I traded in my '07 Altima late last year w/ almost 20k miles and I didn't have any issue with the car.
  • nick87nick87 Member Posts: 5
    I guess its a matter of perspective. I have another Altima - 1998 with 255K miles that over 12 years had a CV boot go out and a belt pulley. Everything else is original on the car (except tires, brakes, serpentine belt changed once). I guess I have been spoiled!
  • bluealtima08bluealtima08 Member Posts: 6
    Im having the same issue! The brake wont depress and the brake lights do not come on at all.I have full battery power and my key fob also has a new battery. The only way for me to move the car now is to get it a tow. Is changing the brake switch easy to do on your own or do I have to get the car in to Nissan? :confuse:
  • tessajtessaj Member Posts: 2
    I'm not sure if it's easy to do... sounds like it would be. It's only about $65 for the brake switch. You can call a dealership and ask how much it would be for the part and installation.
  • blkngldblkngld Member Posts: 1
    My 2008 had it happen 4 times and it's got less than 25k miles.
  • mandy2166mandy2166 Member Posts: 1
    I am having this problem now along with other previous problems with this car I think its possesed
  • poffpoff Member Posts: 1
    My 2007 altima was having same problem, took it to the dealer and it was $520.00 but they would knock $100.00 off. I was p off, this is a problem very common with these cars and they should have had a recall on them, instead they wait til they go out and have their hot hands out for your money to fix them!! I have called the news station to do investigating on this problem, I think others that have this problem should do the same!!
  • 08coupe08coupe Member Posts: 1
    x2, once in October so I purchased a new battery after having car towed in, and some other piece was fixed. Now again same deal. I paid money to have the Nissa Roadside Assistance come tow my car in again, the two truck drive stated that it is the break switch, he sees it all the time with these types of cars. He pushed really hard on the break pedal a few times, tried again and the car started. No refund of my pre-paid money for the tow truck drive to come out to assist me. Drove it to the dealer, dealer says switch is fine, it is somehting esle, that costs $1065.
  • arlette65arlette65 Member Posts: 1
    I have just starting having this issue and I have noticed that it only does it when i am parked facing down hill. has anyone else noticed this. I have tested it. Thanks to Colorado driveways I have started backing in my driveway so my nose is down and it does it, when i park straight in it does not do it. From what I have read about this issue it should be a recall. I have noticed that if I take it out of gear then put it back in park it will start.
  • colorbluecolorblue Member Posts: 2
    I'm having the same issue with my 08 Altima w/43,000 miles on it. Before reading this thread I have twice before took it to the dealer and they were not able to duplicate the problem because the issue is intermittent. The technician thought maybe it was the computer module that's looks at the brakes system to start the car, a safety feature but wanted $400 to test and replace it. I'm not paying that much and it sucks that this issue isnt covered on the extended warrenty I purchased thur the dealership. I'll give the dealership a call on this brake switch theory.
  • brn953brn953 Member Posts: 1
    I had similar problems with a 2008 Altima. Had intermittent issues with it taking multiple attempts to start the car. At 48M miles the battery tested as marginal, but still had the same starting issues with a new replacement battery. At the Nissan dealership was told that the brake switch was questionable. When they removed the brake switch from the circuit it started fine. For the cost of the switch and a couple hours of labor the car starts fine now.
  • altima25s07altima25s07 Member Posts: 3
    A dealer will quote from $150 (just for investigation) to anywhere around $1000. But in essence, it is a single brake switch (there are two switches on the harness, but we are talking about the one on the left when there's a starting problem).

    This can be DIY fixed so easily without much tools (all you need is a light, and hands).

    I just fixed it today and the cost of switch was $50. Nissan could have recalled for this a long time ago and now it lost the chance - and the dealers are making good money on it since those 2007 and 2008 models are now out of the warranty. I call it a very unethical business behavior.

    Still I like the car itself. The new design of 2013 is very attractive in the look but I am not buying one simply due to this issue and the experience around it.
  • msormsor Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2008 Nissan Altima with 25000 miles and the same problem. It is disappointing that so many owners have the same problem but there has been no recall!!!

    I appreciate it if you could tell me where the switch is and the steps I should take to replace it myself?

    Thank you.
  • altima25s07altima25s07 Member Posts: 3
    Please refer to this: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_do_you_replace_brake_switch_on_altima

    I wrote this how to on some place on the web and this guy Clay got it copied and pasted. Awesome, but bitter.
  • bksgreatestjjbksgreatestjj Member Posts: 1
    where did you get the switch and whats the proper name for it????
  • altima25s07altima25s07 Member Posts: 3
    You could search for Nissan Altima 2007 Brake Switch, or just part number W0133-1844773.
    The price seems to vary from $20 to $50.
  • kimbilinakimbilina Member Posts: 1
    I had an issue when I was at work about to leave and my car wouldnt start. The lights were working and I heard a click and knew it was not my starter. My father came and looked at the left side fuse box with the alarm fuses and the inhibition fuse. He simply shorted out the inhibition fuse ( thats what tells the car not to start due to various reasons mainly bad switches or sensor) anyway my car started right up. This is only a temporary fix until I can take it to nissan to find out what sensor or switch is bad. But hey look at how much i saved by being able to drive my car around until I had the money to fix it right!!!!!!!!!!lol-=Best reguards- Kim LPN
  • dsounddsound Member Posts: 1
    I took that left break switch out. It's a simple twist 45˚ and disconnect the cable by pushing in the clip. Hold with an old cloth, then sprayed WD 40 contact cleaner into the switch while exercising the button. Never had a single start problem anymore. I should have done this 5 years ago. That's how long we had the intermittent start problem.
  • jessca3ncjessca3nc Member Posts: 1

    Same, 2008 car here, about 65k miles. Have had the problem off and on, the worst being when it would not start for a good hour or so. I called AAA, had a mechanic come, who could not figure out how to start it. He ended up replacing the battery, which didn't solve anything. And lo and behold, the next day, when I was scheduling for towing service, it turned on.
    Intermittently, it still does the same thing but would usually start after 5-10 minutes. Unfortunately, on my way to work, it decided not to start after a coffee run. Fast forward 30+ minutes and it finally ignites, but then croaks next time I try.

  • daytonmarkdaytonmark Member Posts: 2
    I just had the same problem push the start button and it only lights up acc lights on dash. I read complaints on this website about issue I also had no brake lights so I removed the left brake switch all you have to do is twist it 45deg and unplug wire harness spray some wd40 in button depress a few times then put back in car everything works fine now brake lights work and car starts fine. Nissan should have a recall on the brake switch instead of trying to screw everyone out of $$$$$$$$
  • daytonmarkdaytonmark Member Posts: 2
    My post was made on Dec 17,2014
  • elrod69elrod69 Houston,TxMember Posts: 1
    Thank you every one I just started to have the same problems car not starting. I came to this site confirmed it was the brake switch. Ordered it on Ebay for 18 dollars free shipping. Installed it in less than 2 mins, Turn counter clockwise to remove clockwise to install. I have a monkey for a pet and I had him do it. It was extremely easy. I love the Internet and so does my wallet
  • 1tkdaltimadvr1tkdaltimadvr Member Posts: 1
    I own a 2007 2.5S Altima and have had this same problem of pushing the start button with it NOT starting; only the ACC lights on the dash, etc. came on, as well as a clicking noise, that’s it. The probably has occurred off and on for the five years I have owned it but it has gotten much worse the past two weeks and actually made me late for work several times while I continually tried to start it.
    I have taken it to a Nissan dealer and two reputable car shops with this complaint over this time period with no resolution, none of them could find a problem. In the process I have replaced two engine batteries, three key fob batteries, and a starter as well as being charged through the nose to have some engine air flow sensor cleaned. I have spent at least $1250.00 chasing this problem and it has been really stressing me out, I can’t afford to buy another car right now!!!
    I too very fortunately found the discussion of complaints on this website about this issue. Thanks to the advice in this message thread and using just a flashlight, I also just removed the left brake switch, removing it by twisting it 45 degrees counterclockwise. I sprayed the white button with WD40 depressed it a few times then replaced it by gently re-inserting and reseated it and turning clockwise until I felt it lock in place. This whole process took less than 15 minutes, including the time it took me to find the WD40!
    NOW the car starts just fine! I’m definitely no technical genius! This problem is obviously very common in 07/08 Altima's, and any marginally skilled and knowledgeable import mechanic should be very ashamed of themselves for not immediately realizing what the problem is. If Nissan isn’t going to issue a recall on the brake switch, a $32.00 part on Amazon.com they should at least issue a technical bulletin. I agree with a previous message poster, they would rather ignore the problem and try to screw everyone out of $$$$$$$$!! Very sad, I will NEVER BUY ANOTHER NISSAN!!!!!
  • mccutcheonmccutcheon Member Posts: 1
    Here is what happened and this clearly is a common problem. Nissan Altima 2008 This is my personal experience and yours may differ. I talk through the replacement to illustrate how minor the fix was. My advice is get a qualified person to do this.

    Car refuses to start.

    1st stop battery. Local tire place tires to sell new battery for $150 whiles admitting that ir was not fully done. Back out of that one fast,

    Take into Nissan dealer twice . They run diagnostic's for $500 and find nothing. Start talking about the keyless entry being a problem because it operates on the same frequency as cell phones. Advise not having cell phone near car.

    Problem gets worse. Son gets stuck outside and finally gets it home. Its dark in the garage an I note that the tail light (center col) is not lighting up consistently when pressing break pedal and guess what when it goes on the car starts,

    Read this forum. Locate brake light switch for $9 on web. Arrives. Switch comes out by an easy twist and turn and pull. You can then press the switch to see of you can recreate the issue. It did. Replacing the switch required pressing in a clip to remove the square connector. Replaces with new switch (10 mins) with reverse twist and turn.checked brake light, Checked starting. All good.

    Nissan stop your dealer BS and add this to recall.
Sign In or Register to comment.