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1995 Oldsmobile Ciera 3.1 V6 Difficulty Starting

1995 Oldsmobile Ciera
Have been having trouble starting for many years when you turn the key from “on” to “start”. But usually starts on the 5th attempt. However, took a good number of attempts, finally started.

My concern is “Which part is finally going completely out?”

I checked:

The Battery and Connection,

But I don’t know how to check:
the Ignition switch
the Neutral safety switch
the Clutch safety switch
the Starter relay
the starter solenoid
the Starter motor
OR the ECM.

My Questions:

1.How do I check each part to determine which one it is?

  1. What are the voltage specs for each part?

3.Would I need to remove starter complete to check these parts?

  1. What tool would I need etc.

Don’t have the $200 plus dollars, so I’m trouble shooting……

*Thanks in advance for your feedback and sharing your expertises. *

Knowledgable advise would be appreciated

Voltage spec is irrelevant. All parts have to handle normal 10-15 volts DC, and surges as high as 40 volts.

What happens when it fails to start? that info will help you narrow down the problem. Just a click? starter turns but doesn’t catch? Catches but that’s all?


Clutch safety switch? You have a manual transmission? I would have lost that bet.

Checking the battery and connection and it could still be a problem.
Just wiggling the wire is not testing the connection.

you should have someone actually test the battery under load to be sure it is still a good battery.


Battery connections are the first place to begin when you have a “No start” situation. Even
if you have a new battery, if the connections are loose, dirty or corroded, you will not be
allowing the full flow of current to pass thru the connections. The connection may be
enough to turn on the lights, but not enough for the huge flow that is needed to operate the
starter. This is where many people say that they know the battery is good….”because the
lights come on”. This is no more a battery test than licking a 9volt battery. It only tells you that there is electricity…not how many volts or the amperage that flows from the battery.
Jump starting may have wiggled the terminal just enough to allow the current to pass and start the engine, but tomorrow you have the same problem.

First remove the cables from the battery and use a wire brush to remove any corrosion and dirt from the battery posts and the cable terminals. There is a tool with a round wire brush for this purpose, found at any auto parts store for less than $10
Before connecting the cables, apply a coating of di-electric grease to the battery posts this will keep oxygen away from the connection so that it will not corrode as fast.

It is just as important that the other end of the cables also have a clean connection. Remove the positive cable from the battery again so that you do not short anything out. Follow both cables to their far ends, remove this connection and wire brush the connection and the cable terminal clean and retighten these connections.

If there was work done recently, there may have been an “engine to body” ground that was not installed following the work. These grounds normally run from the rear of the engine to the firewall and are uninsulated and most are a braided wire. If any of these are found unattached…reattach them.
Remember….this is not a “Sherman Tank” don’t over tighten the connections.
Tight…tight………………too tight…broke!!!


An Olds expert can tell you the minimum cranking voltage for your starter motor. On a practical level, unless you have the necessary knowledge equipment and experience, if the battery load tests ok and the connections are good, I think the best course is to take it to a qualified mechanic who will have all the equipment and access to the car’s wiring schematics.

I have to agree with @GeorgeSanJose; about most people not having the right testing equiptment or knowledge to test a battery ,but what I posted is a starting point.
Too many people think that if the lights go on…the battery is good.

following what I wrote will at least help you eliminate the cables and battery as a possibility.