Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: The CAR does not crank or start

asked by on

My Chevy cavalier does not start or crank I replaced battery but still nothing
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Your are correct in beginning with the batt...

Your are correct in beginning with the battery, but unfortunately in this case it didn’t fix your problem. In the future I recommend having the battery thoroughly tested before replacing it. At least now you know you have a good battery. This is good.

First, use a small hammer to tap on the starter while someone is turning the key. Tap lightly but firmly. If you do it to hard, you can damage the delicate magnets inside. If the starter begins to work when you tap on it, you need a starter. This is the first thing I do with any no crank issue.

If your car doesn’t crank, it will either be a starter, a bad connection or the starter is not receiving a signal from the ignition key when it is turned into the crank position. You can test for this at the starter solenoid with a test light. You will need to check for power at the small wire at the starter while someone is turning the key into the crank position. If you have power there, you have confirmed the primary starting circuit is working and now it is time to move onto the secondary circuit. If it doesn’t have power while turning the key, you will need to locate a repair manual with the appropriate wiring diagram to do further electrical testing at the ignition switch electrical.

If you made it to this point and haven’t yet figured out the problem, the next step can be a bit more technical as it requires a voltage drop test that is beyond the scope of this forum. This test is all about finding a bad connection. Even though a connection looks good, doesn’t mean electricity agrees. So visually inspect all the connections from the battery to the starter. If they have corrosion, loose or are dirty, clean or tighten the connection. Electricity requires a clean surface in order to flow from one wire to the next. So be sure to thoroughly clean any connections that are questionable. I use sand paper to clean them.

If you need help with getting this fixed, feel free to contact a certified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, who can help you perform these checks and properly diagnose your starting issue firsthand.

Good luck! I hope you figure this out.

Was this answer helpful?

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: Rear level change, ABC Light on

Hello. The active body control light comes on when the computer detects an issue with the active body control system. The active body control system uses a hydraulic pump to level out the vehicle's suspension. If a problem occurs with...

Q: How do I replace the remote keyless entry (RKE) transmitter battery of a 2012 Dodge Ram?

The remote keyless entry (RKE) transmitter battery should last for at least three years. After three years, there’s a chance that it will die and need to be replaced. Replacing the RKE transmitter battery takes four steps. Buy a...

Q: Why does my transmission only shift rough in first gear and not in any other gear?

Hello and thank you for contacting Your Mechanic. The accumulator spring for the 1st to 2nd application of your transmission has failed. Either the spring has broken and is causing the accumulator to move fast and make a harsh shift...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...