Q: Q: I turn the key and nothing happens

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I have a 2008 Mazda tribute...The key turns the light and radio on and then turns over to crank but it doesn't even try, nothing happens. Starter, cyliniod or ignition switch? How to tell which one it is?

Be sure any engine immobilizer system (security system) is not activated, thus preventing the car from starting. The battery should be load tested by a professional. Load testing can only be reliably performed on a fully charged battery. If the battery passes a load test be sure it is NOT a marginal pass in which case you should install a new battery to reduce diagnostic headaches. Batteries are a VERY important component in a car’s electrical system. Once you have a fully functioning battery, if the starting system still does not function, there are only a relatively limited number of causes. Broadly, either the starter motor/solenoid assembly is faulty or the electrical circuit supplying the motor has a fault. That circuit begins at the battery and includes grounds, wiring (some of which is very heavy cabling), fuses, relays, the ignition switch and terminations. Basically, the starter is either getting power or it isn’t. If the starter motor is getting power but it doesn’t work, the starter is condemned and replaced. Alternatively, if there is no power to the starter, then the circuit is traced until the fault in the circuit is found. Notably, faults can include high resistances, due to corrosion, wire strand breaks, or loose terminals, which can only be diagnosed using a voltage drop test. If you desire that a certified mechanic resolve this promptly, please simply request a no start diagnostic and the responding mechanic will get it diagnosed and repaired for you. Please let us know if you have further concerns or questions as we are always here to help you.

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