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Car won't start

shishyashishya Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Hyundai
I have a 97 accent manual shift. About once a month the car won't start. I crank it, but it won't turn over. I don't have my foot on the gas pedal. If I walk away and return in 10 or 15 minutes, it usually will start, but sometimes it won't so i have to tow it. The starter, plugs, filters, battery etc are all fine. The car starts almost all the time, but for no particular reason it occasionally won't. It seems to happen when the heat and humidity are high, but I've also had the problem first thing on a 40 degree morning. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Have you ever replaced your battery since you got the car?
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    if it isn't turning over. turning over to me means the starter is turning the motor and stuff, and you can tell both by the sound (R_R_R_R_R instead of a high, fast, gutless-sounding wheeeeeeee) and by looking at the fan belt and noticing it moved. either a dirty power or ground, a funky power relay (fords classically with the fender-mounted round starter relay are worth tapping that unit hard with a chunk of wood once just for grins in diagnosis) or perhaps the starter has worn brushes or a bad winding.

    if nothing else is done, you come back in 15, and it starts, it's wiring, relay, solenoid, and/or starter motor that's at fault.

    if it isn't even turning over, (no noise, maybe a click, maybe a R_R_R_rrr..........rr........... as if it was 40 below) it's battery as prime suspect, with wiring possibly also funky.
  • antiosamaantiosama Member Posts: 62
    I have a 1995 ES300 with about 120K miles. For about the last 6 months, some mornings the car won't start. I know it's not the battery because all the lights, windows, etc. operate properly and about 2 months ago I had the battery replaced just to make sure. When the car doesn't start, I give it a quick jump start and it starts right up.

    What could the problem be? the electrical system went under a load test and the battery and alternator checked in fine. Now, the dealer did say it may be the starter. Basically the tech at the Lexus dealer said that the starter may not be making the electrical connection. Now, of course, when I took it to the dealer it starts perfectly. Therefore, they can't say for certain if it's the starter or not.

    Any ideas?
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    back in the days when mechanics fixed things, they used to put a power source on individual windings of the starter motor and see if there was magnetism, they called the fixture "the growler." that's how they found individual bad windings and fixed or rewound 'em.

    nowadays, it's parts replacement. can't figure it out, replace another one. still an issue? --, well we haven't changed the tile on the floor yet or washed the windows, we'll try that.

    they COULD use a DVM to check continuity while very slowly rotating the starter motor... or even a testlight. then they could test the starter solenoid in the same fashion. they could even use a sub-ohm-meter, if they had one (I built my own once, but needed the parts more for something else) to insure there were no defects in the battery or ground cable and connections.

    but that takes time.

    what I would do on my truck at this point would be disconnect the battery, tape the end, put that in a plastic box to be darn sure there is no power availiable..... slide underneath and clean up the starter connections at all ends and use lockwashers before bolting things back together. if I had issues after that, I would replace the starter on spec because I have had one do this myself and my sister has also had a winding go open. if that's the one that ends up in contact with the commutator brushes for next start, voila! -- it won't start. another winding ends up in contact, it will. luck of the draw.

    until I had the time to get dirty, though, I would do what a grey old mechanic suggested on Sue's car... carry a chunk of two-by-four, because it doesn't conduct and make sparks, and if you have a no-start episode, whack the starter a couple times with the end of the two-by in its center. that should jiggle the armature over a touch and allow a good winding to get power.
  • antiosamaantiosama Member Posts: 62

    Thanks for the advice. I'm going to print out what you said and take it to my local mechanic that I know.

    So, would you say it is the starter at this point? I mean if the battery and alternator checks out fine? And a quick jump starts the car?
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    and that's why I'd get after possible bad connections first. personal preference and cheaper, even if dirtier and takes a little longer. but yeah, it's obviously an intermittent connection someplace, and these are the places where you are most likely to make one.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    The addition of the extra battery makes me equally suspicious of bad connections, as the extra surge might overcome resistance in a bad connection.

    Excluding that, I wonder if your dealer still has enough collective wisdom left in his shop's gene pool to do a starter draw test and see how many amps that puppy is asking for when cranking.
  • soggydogsoggydog Member Posts: 67
    Swschrad: That's funny, I thought a growler was used somehow on the electric meter in order to slow it down or stop it from spinning and cheat the electric company out of a few bucks.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    the "growler" as a test fixture is so named because you lock the starter rotor and power up the field winding and one of the rotor windings. lacking any way to turn as the magnetic forces insist the motor do, the windings do not commutate the power, and with the field repulsion and/or attraction depending on physical position of the coils, the armature "growls."

    I think you're referring to a cheat coil trying to null part of the meter's magnetic field, which pulls on the slots or holes of a spinning disk through induction, and thus spins the dials.

    probably not of much use to the danger-seeking power thief, who is as likely to blow his butt to the moon as shave a buck off the monthly bill, because in most areas, the power companies have switched to non-mechanical remote-reading meters by now. while you can retard a corner of the meter rotor in a mechanical unit, until caught and taken by the lawyers, the pickup on a remote meter can be a chip that senses voltage differential on a piece of wire across an inch or so of length. that's a lot harder to cheat, and you are almost certain to get lit up in the process.

    N O T recommended.
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    I'd be willing to bet on either a bad battery connection or a problem in the starter or the battery cable connection at the starter solenoid is loose.

    One thing to be aware of, that vehicle has a starter relay (little square box, in fuse relay block) and theft deterrent, that the starting system runs thru, so if all of the cables check out and the starter checks out, then it may be possible that the Park/neutral switch is a problem if AT trans, the clutch switch if manual or the starter relay may be the problem.
  • majemalynmajemalyn Member Posts: 5
    The car won't start. When I turn the ignition, it makes no sound at all. The headlights come on okay and the dashboard lights that normally come on when I turn the key, stays on - all that's missing is the thingy turning over and starting. Please help ASAP!!!
  • mike91326mike91326 Member Posts: 251
    Is it a stick or automatic? If it is a stick you could have a bad clutch safety switch, if it’s an automatic, it could be a bad neutral safety switch. If the safety switch is okay, then it is probably a bad starter or starter solenoid.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    If you open your window and listen, do you hear a 'click' when you turn the key to the start position?

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • majemalynmajemalyn Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for responding. It's a stick and are any of the possible solutions something I can fix myself? I do hear one click when I turn the key. Please help ASAP!!! Single parent of a 2-yr old and expecting my second child in 2 months. I got burned twice by a mechanic-friend of a relative so I am really determined to not bring it back to him. Thanks!!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Have you tried jump-starting the car?


    If no, do this now.

    If yes, and still no-go, then remove and clean both battery terminals.

    Try jump starting again.

    If no-go, check clutch pedal start switch and fuse for this switch as well. This (the switch, NOT the fuse) could be temporarily bypassed by connecting the wires to each other (by-passing the switch itself)

    If still no go, I would say starter solenoid or starter motor has had a coronary.

    You could verify, if you are courageous, by push starting the car but please be very careful doing this or have a friend do this for you. If it starts with a push, you can pretty much assume a starter or solenoid issue or the connections to either.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    used to be, when I was growing up, you push-started the car and drove it in when you had the time to get the starter fixed. now, on the few manuals left, it's "if you dare." bet they don't even tell you how to push start in the owners' manual any more.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I don't think most people know anymore how to do this safely. Cars are also harder to push...you just lean up against the bumpers and you could do $1,000 damage in a heartbeat.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    an old Supra in the early 90s with a bad starter solenoid...I was too cheap to fix it for months and would just park the car everywhere so as to be able to roll-start. Eventually a place will always come along that you absolutely have to go that you can't park in a way to be able to roll-start. LOL

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    as soon as it's rolling fast enough to register on the speedo, turn the key to run and pop the clutch.
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