Q: Interior lights are on, but car won't start

asked by on June 13, 2016

About every two weeks, my car wouldn’t start. Then it was once a week that it wouldn’t start and the Only way it would start was by removing the starter relay and using a paper clip. There was ½ a tank of gasoline in the car, but the display was reading ‘Low Range.’ Now… it won’t start at all - never! All interior lights turn on, but the engine won’t start. I tried giving the battery a jump-start, but that didn’t work. I would like to fix this problem myself. What is the problem and how can I fix it myself? Thank you.

It sounds like you may have a bad starter. Some times starters will go bad intermittently. This is often due to a loose connection of some sort that causes the voltage to be lost in the path from the battery to the starter.

I would recommend checking the voltage at the starter during cranking to see if the starter is actually getting battery power. If you measure 12 volts at the starter but it does not crank the engine, the starter is likely bad and would require replacement which should resolve the issue.

If you need assistance with this, a professional mechanic will be able to diagnose your starting issue and replace the starter if necessary.

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