Q: Ignition, Starter, or something else?

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The battery is just a year old and might have 4k miles on it, at the most. I've had the battery cables checked and tightened. I've read troubleshooting documents but I am a Social Worker, not a mechanic so I don't really have a clue.

Any guidance given would be greatly appreciated.

Regards, Jennifer

My car has 98000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi there. I understand how frustrating things like this can be. Base on what you’ve described, the year, and mileage of the vehicle it sounds like your battery has gone weak or failed internally. A good battery test with a digital battery tester will give you a reading of state of health, cold cranking amps, and level of charge. If the battery is simply weak from sitting, a good charge should bring everything back to life.

If the battery tests bad, then replacement is required. Batteries lose their charge slowly while sitting due to the "keep alive memory" in the vehicle’s electronics. Several companies offer what is called a "battery tender" that helps maintain the battery’s charge while sitting. Also, a parasitic draw will drain the battery; a circuit or component that is shorted and keeping something on when the vehicle is turned off. Testing for a parasitic draw involves the use of a digital volt/ohm meter. YourMechanic has several available technicians that can assist you with a no-start inspection and/or battery replacement as needed.

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