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2003 Malibu Won't Start

Hi, I have a 2003 Chevy Malibu that won’t start all of a sudden.

When I turn the key it makes clicking/cranking sound. When I stop turning the instrument panel lights up and the clock radio as well, but the clock is reset to 12:00.

I was able to turn it on by giving it a boost so I suspected it was the battery. I took it to Partsource to charge it but they said they can’t because the machine reading (not sure which) is showing 0.

Afterwards I tried charging it with a Battery Tender. The Battery Tender showed charging complete but I still had the same problem. I connected the Battery Tender again and it was showing that it is charging, which was weird. I tried again but it is the same issue where it says that it’s charged, but if I connect it back up right after disconnecting it, the light shows charging.

I did some searching and I have read that these smart chargers that automatically shut off are too smart for issues like this. If that is the case then what is a good dumb charger?

Or could it even be something else besides the battery? Thanks in advance.

Forget charger , it sounds like you need a battery.


I’m guessing your battery has a dead cell. Replace the battery.

I have a battery tender for my boat, it does have an indicator if the battery is too sulphated. So last year, the boat battery charged fine, it had been taking 5 or 6 hours in spring. The same maintainer gave enough charge in 20 minutes to start a car with a dead battery. The battery was on it’s last legs after 13 years. Finally got to the point of a barely start, time for a new one. How old is the battery?

Thanks for the advice everybody. The battery is about 7-8 years old. I guess it’s good that it only the battery vs. something more costly.

It’s just that I was reading about rejvenating batteries and I just wanted to play around and see if I could get it back to life.

IMHOP cut the cord and get a new battery.

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A battery that has lasted that long has served more than its reasonable lifetime.

I guess it’s time to pull the plug on it. Thanks again everyone.

Hopefully, you haven’t destroyed the alternator in the process of trying to eke the last bit of life from your battery. I replace my batteries proactively every 5 years or so, because I don’t want to be in a situation where I am stranded and/or because I don’t want to wind-up killing that expensive alternator.

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Your battery did you many favors - it lived a good solid life, it keeps trying, it’s dying at home and it decided to die at the end of October instead of in the middle of Winter. Now do yourself a favor and buy a new one.

A replacement battery is the common sense solution. But if you feel lucky you could remove and clean the battery connectors and battery posts of all corrosion, connect it back up again and give it another try. Worst case it won’t help (which is quite likely in this circumstance) then you’ll have to buy a replacement battery, which is what you intend to do anyway.