Q: Car will intermittently not start

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My car occasionally will not start. I turn the key to the ON position and all of the lights and radio works. When I try to start it, electronic things go off as usual, but nothing happens after that. It's almost like trying to start it with the battery disconnected. Absolutely nothing happens. I have to unplug the starter, reach down with a jumper cable and make a direct connection from the battery to the starter. It will then crank, but not start so I take the cable off of the battery. Then I wait a few seconds, do it again and it starts right up. If I have to do this, the car will run rough unless I turn it off again and restart it with the key.

My car has 235000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

You should check the starter relay in the distribution panel box behind the left headlight in the engine compartment. This relay will relay power from the ignition switch to the starter solenoid. If you turn the ignition switch when the problem is happening this relay should be clicking when you turn the key to start. If it is clicking then the power should be relayed to the starter through this relay. If the inside contacts are bad then it may not send power to the starter even though it clicks. Remove the relay and look for burned connections and replace the relay since it is pretty cheap to replace. If the problem continues then contact a mechanic like one from YourMechanic.com to diagnose the problem for you.

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