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2002 Ford Focus start troubles

I have a 2002 Ford Focus that periodically refuses to start. Tha past two times it started fine, was driven, turned off and would not restart. The first time the battery and wire clamps were changed because there was some corrosion and it was time for a new battery anyway. All previous times this has happened the car was jumped and no problems for various amounts of time afterwards. This latest one the car was driven all day, turned off, restarted fine, driven again same thing, Would not start. The car was jumped, ran fine. Tried to start it again and it would not start. No clicking, no noises (the lights came on, but that doesn’t mean anything really) nothing. Tried to jump it again and it still will not start. The battery was charged, the clamps were tight just a refusal to start. It’s sitting at the dealer right now but I do not want them to overcharge me for something I can fix myself (which they are bound to do). I am thinking it has to be the alternator, the starter or the battery. The batter is fairly new and it seems that it is keeping a charge so I don’t think it’s the alternator, but that only leaves the starter right? Any help?

A starter relay would be less expensive than a new starter. Could be some Park/Neutral saftey switch problem too, I wonder if shifting from park to neutral would do anything. Wiggle the shifter around in case the computer doesn’t know you’re in Park.

You’ll want to use a voltmeter to see if power is getting to the starter when you’re turning the key. If it’s at the dealer now, they should be able to determine if power is getting to the starter or not.

This kind of trouble is usually due to a problem with the neutral safety switch like Goldwing stated. Like he also stated, moving the shifter around in the Park position sometimes helps or trying to start the engine in the neutral position may work also. The safety switch contacts get dirty or the position of the switch needs to be adjusted.

UPDATE I went out to the car and fiddled with it before the dealers gets their fingers on it, and the car still will not start. I tried wiggling the shifter and there is not a sound. The battery still has power, and it is testing at the proper voltage, but nothing is clicking or turning over in any way. I am thinking it is either the solenoid, or the starter itself. The problem is I could not find the solenoid to test it (none of the books I had on hand showed where it was supposed to be. Turns out it is in the starter itself but I must have missed it completely), so I will have them check it in the morning and update when I find out! Thanks for the great pointers I will make sure to bring them up to the dealer tomorrow.

It was the starter, and to get to the starter solenoid you have to get into the area where the starter is. So for anyone out there who has a car that will not start, nor click, nor do anything else go for the starter first. If it does not spin when the key is turned it’s busted. Thanks for the help guys!!