Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

1999 s-10

HI, forgive me but I’m posting under General Discussion as well as Maintenance.
My son has this 5-speed manual and sometimes it won’t start. strange. he can drive to the store come
out and it won’t start. the lights, radio, wipers, etc work and the battery is a yr old
but the truck dead. so far we have had the Clutch switch and the starter selenoid
replaced, but after 2 weeks it’s dead again. I happens about every month ? HELP

Many auto parts stores will test batteries for free. You should have this one tested.

But this is typical of poor power connections. The battery cable terminals should be removed at both ends, well cleaned, inspected underneath of the insulation, and retightened. If any corrosion is found under the insulation or the terminals at either end show significant corrosion, new cables are pretty cheap and easy.

Thanks! I know nothing about cars, but would the lights radio etc still work if the battery was bad?

It takes very little power to run all of the lights and stuff - but a whole ton of it to turn that engine over. The same applies if the battery cables or connections are a problem. Checking those things is just a starting point - it’s cheap and easy and often IS the problem. If all of that is dealt with and the problem persists then just keep reporting back with things done and results.


Good morning. I need to correct what has been repaired. Clutch switch and the relay under the hood fuse box. as of today it is in the shop, has started everytime. was told the battery cables were removed and cleaned the battery was tested and full charge. any suggestions? our mechanic is awesome and has worked on our cars since the 80’s, It just baffles me that a 1999 Chevy S-10 is so difficult to diagnose. more updates to come. Thanks!

When were the cables removed and cleaned? Just on this current trip to the shop or back when the clutch switch and all that was done? Did anyone remove some of the insulation from the cables to look for corrosion underneath?

It’s not that a '99 S-10 Chevy is hard to diagnose - it’s that intermittent problems are hard to diagnose.

If you’ve known/used the mechanic this long, ask if he’d be willing to rig up a temporary indicator test light for the “S wire” on the starter. Or if you have access to an electrical meter, if he’ll show you how to check for power at the S wire. If they can’t get it to act up for them at the shop, then you or your son may just want to help in some basic troubleshooting. One of the most basic places to start on a no crank situation is with whether the starter is getting sent its 12V signal.

Also ask if he’ll show you how to thump on the starter a little bit since this sometimes can get a starter at the early stages of failure to get itself moving again.

Thanks, will keep you updated

Sorry I didn’t answer your question…the cables were removed and cleaned and the battery was removed and put on a tester before the clutch switch. the transmission needed repair and at the time the truck failed so the clutch switch was replaced to save on labor is it was the problem. about 2 weeks later it failed again and that is when the relay was replaced. this was done free by the transmission mechanic, and the truck started… the starter?, would you hear a sound if it was going out?

If the starter itself was going out, but the start circuit and starter solenoid were working then you’d probably hear one click out of the solenoid. In that case, whacking in the starter might get it to go. If the starter circuit is fine but the solenoid is no good then you probably wouldn’t hear anything. Looking for 12V at the S wire on the starter is just a way of finding out if the starting circuit is good all the way to the starter. If there’s not 12V there then you troubleshoot backwards down the starting circuit. (E.g. the clutch switch is in that mix). If 12V is making it to the S wire - then you’re pretty much left at a starter/solenoid problem. The shop would probably check this - but they can’t if the truck keeps starting for them.

Well, not good news. seems the time frame of this Chevy being made have had this issue.
Anti-theft issue which leads to other problems. Mechanic is sending to a friends shop to get another diagnosis.
My son who is 18 bought it off CraigsList the guy is local to. the only issue disclosed was need of brakes. he paid $3,000 and now using college money, 1,000.
I know the person was a liar becuase of all of his mechanical background and it took minutes to cash the check…we both have learned with much sadness. I don’t know how someone could do that to a child or anyone. my son needs transportation to school and job…all I can say is thank GOD I didn’t get rid of the 2000 Honda Civic. 200K and still is awesome! Karma to those folks who hurt others.
thanks for your help.

There are apparently various “styles” for GM’s anti-theft system. But on most of them the anti-theft system does not shut down the starter circuit. It shuts down the fuel injectors. So when the system messes up it typically means the car cranks, runs for a few seconds and stalls - and the security light will be blinking. However, it is possible that on the '99 S-10 it is set up to kill the starting circuit. In that case, I wouldn’t cry calamity. I would, however, do an internet search for bypassing the system. You will find lots of info.

Concur w/ @cigroller , on this kind of problem where there are a multitude of potential “not-cranking” causes, it is usually fastest to the solution to eliminate the starter motor first, using the voltage tests cigroller described. & also agree that if the problem is the anti-theft system, there’s probably a work around that just eliminates that function. As long as the driver doesn’t care if the anti-theft electronics system works, there could well be a simple and inexpensive fix to return the C10 to reliable starting again.