2004 PT Cruiser

My car started, ran for a moment and then died. The battery is charged but the starter motor wont crank. With the key in the run position, jumping the starter, engine cranks but no spark. 3 cycles of the ignition key will not give codes. Scanner to scanner port, but scanner does not function. Checked ignition switch, battery voltage at yellow when ignition switch is in start position. Engine light and airbag light on. Original keys and key fobs. What are we missing?

Check in your owners manual. I was just reading another Chrysler maual 2005 that mentioned if a security system is triggered, it will do this.



There is absolutely nothing about the security system in the 2004 manual!

How old is the battery???

Battery connections are the first place to begin when you have a “No start” situation. Even
if you have a new battery, if the connections are loose, dirty or corroded, you will not be
allowing the full flow of current to pass thru the connections. The connection may be
enough to turn on the lights, but not enough for the huge flow that is needed to operate the
starter. This is where many people say that they know the battery is good….”because the
lights come on”. This is no more a battery test than licking a 9volt battery. It only tells you that there is electricity…not how many volts or the amperage that flows from the battery.
Jump starting may have wiggled the terminal just enough to allow the current to pass and start the engine, but tomorrow you have the same problem.

First remove the cables from the battery and use a wire brush to remove any corrosion and dirt from the battery posts and the cable terminals. There is a tool with a round wire brush for this purpose, found at any auto parts store for less than $10 http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/kd-tools-terminal-battery-brush-kdt201/25980576-P?searchTerm=terminal+brush.
Before connecting the cables, apply a coating of di-electric grease to the battery posts this will keep oxygen away from the connection so that it will not corrode as fast.

It is just as important that the other end of the cables also have a clean connection. Remove the positive cable from the battery again so that you do not short anything out. Follow both cables to their far ends, remove this connection and wire brush the connection and the cable terminal clean and retighten these connections.

If there was work done recently, there may have been an “engine to body” ground that was not installed following the work. These grounds normally run from the rear of the engine to the firewall and are uninsulated and most are a braided wire. If any of these are found unattached…reattach them.
Remember….this is not a “Sherman Tank” don’t over tighten the connections.
Tight…tight………………too tight…broke!!!


It may be that the way the electronics are designed,; i.e. it’s designed so that the engine won’t start, the spark is suppressed or something, with the key in “on” while jumping the starter. There may be some signal that has to be present during the starting process, and is only activated when the key is in the “start” position.

When the starter motor won’t crank the engine, but everthing else seems ok and no codes are present, suspect a run-down battery, bad battery connections, bad neutral safety (or clutch if manual) switch, or bad starter motor. Experienced mechanics do this diagnosis all the time. If you get stuck, you could take it to the shop to get it diagnosed, then decide at that time if you want to do the fix-it job yourself, or let the shop finish the job. Best of luck.

Since it ran for a moment and then died, I’d be inclined to want to check the fuel pump pressure. The engine does not need to be running to do this, the pump only needs 12VDC. Unless the problem is in the security system or the inertial fuel shutoff, putting the key in the ON position should provide this.

Ignore the NGine light and airbag light. These will be on until you get the engine running. And don’t bother trying too hard to get codes. The ECU won’t store codes unless the engine is running.

do you have gas in the tank? just something to check.