Q: 2001 Chevy Malibu lights turn on but won't start

asked by on

My car gave no indication of something like this possibly happening. I come out of work to find my car unable to start. The only thing that happens with the key in the ignition are the lights coming on, otherwise, its quiet. As if no attempts are being made to turn over the engine. I tried to jump my car via AAA but to no avail. I'm thinking it could easily be the ignition switch or alternator. I've taken very good care of my car overall, however lately I've been slacking on oil changes and basic maintenance for the last few months. Maybe that's why? I've driven to work and parked the car this morning with no problem. Extremely shocked this happened.

My car has 170000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

It sounds like what you are describing may be related to a faulty starter relay. The starter relay directs power from the battery to the starter solenoid which then engages the starter when you turn the key. When this is not working properly, you may notice intermittent starting problems including no response when turning the key to start. Generally, when this does fail, it does so very randomly and usually without warning other than intermittent starting. The power from the battery will still power other accessories such as radio, horn, etc., but you may not have any power to the starter. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your vehicle.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1,000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. 2001 Chevy Malibu lights turn on but won't start

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Running light ground wire

The easiest place to find a ground it to connect it to the body on the inside where the harness comes inside the trunk area. You could also use the same ground as the brake lights are using.

Q: I have an automatic but also has the 6 speed manual. When I'm towing my 4000lb camper the truck RPMs at 2800 and only 100m/h

When a truck is towing a trailer or a fifth wheel, the engine will need to be producing maximum torque. The highest gear in most transmissions is the overdrive gear. The lowest gear typically produces the most torque from the...

Q: Battery hooked up backwards

As you may know, when the battery is hooked up backwards, reversing the polarity, will typically cause the alternator to fail. The fusible link is also likely blown. I would suggest performing a visual check in the fuse/relay box with...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.