2003 Hyundai Accent - starter died again

I just had a my starter replaced within the last 2 months and it has died again. I was reading your “New starter failed, even newer starter problems” where there was a ‘click’ when he tried starting the car. My problem is when I turn the key, silence. No clicking, nothing. All the lights, radio, etc are working. The dash shows oil, battery, check, brake lights. What should I know before I have it towed (again) to the garage? I need to bring/tow it in today or tomorrow. I’m ticked because it’s a major job to have it towed etc and I know nothing about cars. The garage could tell me it is something else and $$$. If it’s the solenoid, is it silent when you turn the key. Help!!!

It could be a starter solenoid, it could be a poor connection or cable from the battery to the starter. It could be an ignition switch problem.

Impossible to pinpoint from out here on the internet.

I will say that if you don’t trust your mechanic to be honest, why do you take your car there?

Hi Mustangman:

I looked up what you suggested and checked a few things.

I’ll have to wait until daylight to check fuses. If I have extras in the fuse box, the one I need (30am pink) may not be included.

The steering wheel is not locked and it is turned upside down (emblem is facing down). I tried turning on ignition (nothing again) and turning the wheel. Still would not lock.

Windshield wipers are working ok, lights, etc ok.

As for the garage, I just want to be prepared in advance.

What do you think of the steering wheel not locking? Is that all related?

Thanks ever so much. You’ve already lead me to some good info.


I think there is a good chance your battery is dead. You need to connect a digital voltmeter to the battery terminals. With everything shut off, you want to see at least 12.6 volts. If you have that, turn on the headlights for 30 seconds. Voltage should remain at least 11.5. If both of those tests are ok, clean the terminals on the battery cables, and the terminals on the battery. If the tests fail, get a new battery.

Hi old_mopar_guy:

Thanks for this. Question: if everything is working (lights, radio, wipers, etc.) doesn’t that mean the battery is working? I checked the wipers but not a full speed, just regular (I’ll go do that now).

Otherwise, I’ll have CAA (I’m in Canada) to come out and check the battery today or tow it to the garage.

Going to check it now.


You can use a voltmeter to check the battery like old_mopar suggested. I also live in Canada and they rarely make it to 5 years.Canadian tire has pretty good batteries on sale right now.

It might have enough power for little things but not enough for the starter

If the car has an automatic transmission, have you tried starting it in Neutral?

as others have suggested, this may or may not be a starter issue.

But, I have had just purchased reman starters be bad right out of the box, and I have had some fail shortly after install. It happens.That is why companies offer warranties.

Hello Everyone:

Had CAA give the battery a boost = nothing. Still wouldn’t work.

Switched a fuse = still wouldn’t work.

So, towed it to the garage.

Jury will be out until late tomorrow, so as soon as I have the verdict (!), I’ll let you know.

I want to thank each and everyone of your fellas for your help, your suggestions and for just jumping right in there to help me so quickly. You gave me the knowledge to know what to do first and how to approach this problem.

Can’t thank you enough. You’re all terrific.

Be in touch tomorrow with the answer.

Anyone good with plumbing? (Just joking.)

Jan (ps: looking online for another car, just in case. Small town and limited.)

The problem with “fails to crank” is that there’s at least a dozen possible causes. Battery is faulty, battery is ok but not fully charged, battery cables faulty, faulty grounds, neutral safety switch, ignition switch, starter relay, starter motor, faulty or corroded wiring, seized engine, faulty flywheel, etc etc .

IMO the best way to get to the bottom of it is a voltage test at the starter motor during attempted cranking. If both terminals measure 10.5 volts or more (terminal to starter case) with the key in start and it doesn’t crank the engine, replace the starter motor. If one of them is less than 10.5 volts, work backwards toward the battery to find out why.


I had it towed into the garage today after the battery was boosted and still didn’t work.

The service guy didn’t test the voltage level so I don’t know what the reading was.

I asked him if he could test the voltage, but he didn’t have a tester.

I’ll let you know. Thanks so much.

(I spent hours watching videos last night, so I was familiar with what you have suggested. At least I knew how to change the fuses!)

Hi Everyone:

Verdict: A rotted wire to the starter! (Is that the solenoid wire or the wire to the battery?? I can’t find ‘rotted starter wires’ on the internet)

Why this affected the steering wheel from not locking, I’ll ask tomorrow when I pick it up.

I asked if this wouldn’t have been seen when the starter was installed = answer: depends on when it rotted out. New starter was installed within last 2 months.

I can see if it burns out, but wouldn’t a wire show signs of rotting/age? Personally, I would have replaced a 16 year, rather integral, part at the same time.

$53.00, so grateful it’s not bad.

hmmmm …

I expect that’s an unrelated problem.

There’s only two wires which connect to the starter. Both have to make a flawless connection to crank the engine. You’ll have to ask your mechanic which one it was.

The wires to the starter motor aren’t replaced as a routine part of a starter motor replacement. Those wires should last the life of the car. My 47 year old truck has the same starter wires it came with from the factory. It has the same starter motor too. The wire problem may have looked like “rot”, but was more likely rodent damage or battery acid leaked on the wire. Another possibility, the wire was incorrectly routed during prior work, had extra mechanical stress placed on it and its connections, and something broke due to that. Since the fee was only $53, I’m guessing the wire was repaired, not replaced.

In any event, sounds like you are back on the road. Good for you.


Thanks for this information, especially about the life of the wire.

Hopefully I’ll get the full story tomorrow.

It’ll be good to have my little car back again. Lost without it.

Thanks so much for your concern. It was reassuring knowing I had you all there to help.

Wish they had taught us about cars rather than cooking. Never did learn to bake a cake but I’m pretty good at fixing things.

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I didn’t take any auto shop classes in high school. I did take a class in Boy’s Home EC, and my tour de force, my inbred culinary talent if you will, is muffins. I make a mean batch of muffins. The reason is that muffins require a lazy cook. The less you stir the batter, the better the muffins are. There’s not much benefit to being lazy doing auto repair, except perhaps during a carb rebuild, when the slower you work the better the results seem to be.

and muffin tins help keep all those tiny parts under control!

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That was just too funny. Thanks for the good laugh.

Now I want a chocolate chip muffin!