1994 Saturn SW2 starter issue?

Let me first thank anyone who takes their time to think about this with me.

With that, I have encountered a problem with my Saturn SW2. Over the past two weeks it has been progressively cranking slower and slower until yesterday it just failed to crank.

I replaced the battery a few weeks back as it was getting weak, but apparently this is not the underlying problem.

It’s not clicking repeatedly, so I don’t think it’s the alternator. It does make a faint click…just once when I initially turn the key.

All electrical things work. The lights on the dash indicate: service engine soon (obviously), battery (not sure why), and oil (which is only about 2 months/1000 miles in).

My thoughts are either the starter or the solenoid, but I’m not especially car savy to know how to tell the difference. I’d like to fix this myself as this is my “fix it” car and I enjoy learning (being frustrated) about cars.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Eric Ballard

The battery in your vehicle has the side mount terminals with the rubber covers. It’s at the positive battery terminal cable where corrosion can form under the red rubber cover. This corrosion can then cause a voltage drop in the electrical system. If the voltage drop is enough it can cause the starter to rotate slowly or not at all.

Remove the cables from the battery and peel back that red rubber cover. If you find a white greenish powder under this cover that’s the problem. You can try cleaning this corrosion from the terminal. But if it’s heavily corroded, I find it to be wiser just to replace the entire positive battery cable.


I had a 99 saturn that would start fine in the morning, id drive it not even a block, shut it off and it would not do anything when i turned the key. I was told it was the ignition switch. $190 and two days later, it did the same thing. I replaced the battery-again, two days later the same thing. Wasn’t reading any codes so i replaced the starter.No problems after that. The mechanic and i also thought there was NO WAY it could be the starter.

All electrical system problems start at the battery. Get a stsrting/charging system analysis complete with parasitic draw test and pay attention to those battery cables,not just the postive. Is the engine ground tight and clean? Is the postive cable tight at the starter? The new starting/charging system testers are so easy to use print out all parameters and even give starter draw and require minimal hook-up and knowledge to use. Just follow the menu. On the other hand it requires alot of dedication and hands on to reach a honest Master level, not just a class at your local community colledge but please dont let my opinions that are based on experience discourage you.