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Q: Not turning over

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Tried starting my 2003 3.5 litre Hyundai Santa Fe and the engine would not turn over at all. I have replaced catalytic converters and an alternator on it. I checked the battery cables and they are tight. All of the power is working on it. My cluster dashboard lights are not though. The water pump has also been replaced on it as well. The battery is fully charged on it. The ignition coils were also recently replaced.

My car has 15000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hey there, thanks for writing in about your...

Hey there, thanks for writing in about your 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe. This kind of condition is often very confusing for a non-tech. Even though your battery cables are tight, it does not mean the connections are good. Corrosion, surface corrosion and other conditions will create a bad connection that will not allow electrical current to flow. As for the dash lights, I would have a question that of course can’t be answered here. I am wondering if the gauges work and only the dash illumination lights aren’t working, or if nothing on the dash works. These are two distinctly different conditions.

There are a number of conditions your car may have. It could simply be a bad connection in the primary starting circuit. These are the battery cables, both positive and negative, from the battery to the starter, or if there is a primary power supply issue that powers your dash and the secondary starting circuit. In this case, I would use a remote starter switch to power the starter only. This will help determine if the primary starter circuit is the problem or if there is something more complicated going on.

If the starter works when testing with a starter switch, then your issue is more complicated. If the starter motor does not turn, then you have a bad connections somewhere. This can be located with a test light while someone is holding the key in the start position. Or you can use the starter switch. You will want to poke the test light at every connection in the primary starting circuit. Even if it visually looks good. The bad connection will not carry power past the connection.

If it is something to do with the secondary starting circuit, you will need a factory wiring diagram and some study time. If the nothing on the dash is working, I would suspect there is a main fuse or fusible link that has blown. If this is the case, you should also be concerned with finding what blew the fuse or fusible link.

If the only problem with the dash is illumination, then I would simply be looking for the problem in the secondary starting circuit. This would be the ignition switch and all the wiring that connects to the starting solenoid. The best tool for this is a test light and a wiring diagram. Have a certified technician from YourMechanic come to your home or office to diagnose your car’s starting issue.

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