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

asked by on September 19, 2016

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!

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