Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car getting no fire. Battery checked and is good. Started up, drove 4 miles to work. Tried to crank, nothing.

asked by on

My Fiero won't start. It had been overheating, I changed the thermostat and thermostat housing cap. Refilled fluid. Started next morning, drove 4 miles to work. Shut off. About 1 hour later I noticed a coolant leak under car. Went to start. Nothing. I had previously noticed the key getting "caught" when trying to start. Would have to move steering wheel and force key turn. Don't have the knowledge to troubleshoot or to fix it. Thinking ICM, or starter, although I think I hear the starter clicking.

Hi there, thanks for writing in. I’d be happy to help. You appear to have more than one problem. This would not be out of the ordinary for a 1986 vehicle. Let’s begin with the key getting caught. Having to move the steering wheel to get the key to turn is normal. When the steering wheel is pinned to one direction against the steering wheel lock pin in the steering column, it binds the ignition lock cylinder making the key hard to turn. By moving the steering wheel a little, you unbind it and the key can then turn. If this is a problem for you, make sure the steering wheel isn’t against the lock pin when you park your car.

Coolant leaks should be taken care of first because you can’t diagnose a car that is leaking fluid. It will eventually overheat, makes a mess and can cause other more severe problems. If the source of the leak isn’t obvious, you will need a cooling system pressure tester. This will pressurize your cooling system and make it leak out of any spots that are weak. Then you can locate the source of the leak and repair it. Do this first.

When it comes to starting issues, it’s important to differentiate between a crank no start and a no crank. These two symptoms are distinctly different. Because you state the starter is clicking, this suggests you have a no crank. If this is the case, it won’t be an ICM as you call it. The universal terms for the computer is ECM (electronic control unit) and PCM (powertrain control module). These do not control the cranking of the motor. They do however play a part in your car starting once the starter turns the motor over.

With no cranks, the suspect items are the battery, starter, ignition switch and bad connections. In fact, when this system fails to work, it is always a bad connection. It could be at the battery posts, in the starter itself, or another component. Diagnosing this condition is simply locating which component has the bad electrical connection. I recommend the following inspection to help you find the bad connection: Car is not starting inspection

Hope this helps and best of luck!

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 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

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  • Home
  • Questions
  • Car getting no fire. Battery checked and is good. Started up, drove 4 miles to work. Tried to crank, nothing.

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: Cooling fan malfunction

Hello there. The cooling fan running when the vehicle is shut off for this vehicle is fairly common. In some cases the cooling fan will run when the vehicle is turned off to continue to cool it down for a...

Q: Car wont start - 2009 Hyundai Sonata

Hey there. The battery and starter are key components to starting the vehicle. If the battery is weak, it can cause a slow or sluggish cranking if it is not providing enough power to the starter. Also, the starter can...

Q: Please! I think that my Fieros engine i to low ignition, Is it possible to make a change? MSD system

Performing a compression test is a fairly straight forward test. The technician will remove the spark plugs and disable the fuel system. Then the technician will install a compression tester in one spark plug location at a time and crank...

Related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.