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.

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

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: green grease

Hi there. It sounds like you have a broken engine/transmission mount. A good visual inspection will uncover which one(s) are in need of replacement. The grease you're seeing is likely the result of this movement overstretching the axle boots and...

Q: Car won't start - 2006

Hey there. If you are getting a voltage drop from 12 to 7 volts, then this is going to be the cause of the no crank. If you have tried other good batteries, then you have problems in the battery...

Q: The truck is shaking at takeoff and stops

Shaking or vibrating may be caused by many different things such as faulty spark plugs, poor fuel pressure or misfires. Other things such as a faulty idle air control valve may cause the engine idle to drop below the normal...

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...
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...
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...