2003 Chevy Malibu won’t start

I’ve been working on the car a couple days now, and at the beginning it was not cranking so I figured it would be a battery or starter problem. Both of those are now new and the problem hasn’t resolved.

I’ve checked connections, fuses, anything I can really think of and nothing works. The car overhead lights dim when trying to start and the dashboard goes dark. It clicks, and then nothing happens. Has this happened to anyone or does someone have any advice?

Have you tried turning the engine over by hand?


When is the last time this engine was operating correctly?

Did something happen to cause it to not run anymore, such as an overheating incident, running low on engine oil, running out of coolant, etc.?

I’ve experienced that exact symptom on my Corolla,. Turned out that both battery connections at the posts had worked loose. There’s many possible causes though. Good ideas above, esp to make sure engine isn’t frozen in place for some reason. Beyond that, the best test imo is to measure the voltage on both starter terminals with key in “start”. Both should measure at least 10.5 volts. Probe between terminal and starter case. Easier done with a moving-coil version of a volt meter, rather than a DVM. But can be done w/a DVM too.

Just tried manually turning it at the flywheel, didn’t go well. It wouldn’t move a millimeter and the engine rocked downward a bit when I tried. I figure the engine seized. I don’t know really why because the coolant and oil were both at good levels and nothing mixed with them either.

Remove the alternator belt and turn each pulley by hand, the alternator could be seized.

We removed the alternator and tested it just on that chance and it came back good

Exactly how were you trying to manually turn over the engine?

Using a long 1/2" drive breaker bar and appropriately sized socket on the balancer bolt?

There are many reasons why questions are asked, and if NOT answered, we don’t know what we are working with…

Again, when was the last time the engine ran?? 3 days ago, 3 weeks ago, 10 years ago??? Time matters in what possibilities could be wrong…

If it has been years, then remove the spark plugs and add some trans fluid, marvel mystery oil, whatever down the cylinders and let soak overnight or so…

I would remove the drive belt before putting a breaker bar on it to turn over, just incase the P/S pump or water pump locked up…


It was running up until a week ago, nothing happened until it got sluggish with a heavy clunking noise. It would die when coming to a stop. After getting home it wouldn’t start again. I didn’t think of the pumps seizing but the belt was already off from taking the alternator out.

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Yeah, I used exactly that, and it didn’t budge.

Pull the spark plugs and then try cranking the engine over.

If coolant come out any of the spark plug holes when cranking the engine over, the engine has a blown intake manifold/head gasket.



Why do you want to start the engine? Do you like to hear noise?

If the engine was knocking and will no longer rotate, there is no point in replacing the battery, starter or alternator.


Sounds like it may have spun a bearing. Good luck getting your money back on the starter and battery.

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