2002 Dodge Neon starting problem

My son has a 2002 Dodge Neon that periodically does not start. It makes no noise at those times. It always starts at the mechanics shop so he can not experience first hand what happens. The mechanic changed the starter- same problem. He now thinks it may be the computer. What do you think?


CT, I hope You Didn’t Buy That Starter.

I’d want my old one back!

These intermittent problems are difficult to diagnose. The car may have to left with a competent technician who can drive it until it acts up. Then that person has to know where to check for continuity/current, etcetera.

This type problem can be caused by many different things, from poor battery cable or engine ground wire connections, to a bad neutral safety switch or clutch safety switch, etcetera.

Replacing parts until it’s fixed is the worst approach to this problem. It may take almost forever to fix it this way and can cost a fortune.

Can you think of any situation in which it is more likely to fail? Does it do it more often when cold, hot, wet, after several starts, or any pattern at all? Do the headlights remain bright when it fails to start or do they dim way down?


Not the computer, maybe the ignition switch, or the ground as csa suggested.

There are two stages of “no noise” on starting. The first is a loud click followed by a groan or maybe no noise at all. The second is no click.

The first would be a battery/cable/connection issue. The car is trying to turn the engine over, but the battery can’t deliver enough current/voltage to do it.

The second means that a big relay called the starter solenoid is not clicking shut to deliver current to the starter. Usual causes would be the ignition switch, neutral safety switch that keeps the car from starting while in gear, some other interlock, or a defective starter solenoid. I think on that Neon the starter solenoid is physically part of the starter motor and that has been replaced.

You don’t need to know all that because any decent mechanic will know it. Based on what you have told us, you might not have a decent mechanic there.

Probably not the computer unless the engine just spins and spins and spins when your son tries to start it.

Maybe a different shop?