Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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

asked by on

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.

A: It sounds like you may have a bad starter. ...

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.

Was this answer helpful?
Recommended services
Get a Quote

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: The car will not start, it turns over, but will not run.

Hello, thanks for writing in. I'd be happy to help. I would like to know if the engine is cranking over or if nothing happens. If it is cranking and not starting, then that is usually caused by a bad...

Q: Will my 99 Ford Explorer crank and neutral ?

Your vehicle should be able to crank the engine in park or neutral position.

Q: Engine shield hanging off

The cover hangs pretty low on these cars and can get caught on parking stops pretty easily. When they get caught and you back away from the car, this can tear them loose. I would have a certified mechanic come...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.