I have seen some similar posts, but I can’t tell if it’s the same problem or not. I have a decent mechanic in the area, but I still want to have an idea of what kind of problem I’m looking at so I can see if I can fix it myself, and if not have an idea of what to expect as his diagnosis.
Car is a 1995 Chevy Cavlier LS. 2.2L engine, about 127,000 miles. Has a minor coolant leak (freeze-out plug) and a slow oil leak (if I forget to check the level, the oil light comes on about 3000 miles after an oil change). It’s beat up, had a few years of poor maintenance (but limited use) before I got it from a relative 3-4 years ago. I do oil changes at 3-5k miles, keeping fluids topped off, and try to remember to change the air filter regularly (which reminds me, I think I’m due for one).
About 7 months ago, I had problems with the battery going dead. Some of it related to stupid mistakes–lights on or door ajar. Battery was old, parts store suggested replacing it. New battery fixed the issue.
About 2 weeks ago, I tried to start it and ran into the same problem after the car hadn’t been run for 2+ days. Dash lights come on, the key-in/startup bell chimes, but turning the key to start leads to fast clicking from the engine and the chime sounding rapidly. I forget if it made any other sounds at the time. Attempting to jump it didn’t work, but the other car had an old battery and the cables were kindof cheap. Called roadside, and he was able to jump it. He suggested taking the battery to Advance, so we did that.
Advance charged the battery, tested it, said it was fine. Suggested I bring the car over and they could test to see if it’s charging the battery. I did that, and it seemed ok. Engine was a little rough, possibly spark plugs, but I haven’t checked that out yet. I figured I had done something stupid again and left a door ajar or the headlights on.
Today, same problem again. I last drove it 2-3 days ago. Headlights were definitely off. It’s possibly the driver door was ajar causing the dome light to stay on, but I doubt it. Same noises when I turn the key as before, I hear the sound of the engine trying to start once (I think that it’s trying to turn over), but it won’t start. Haven’t had a chance to try and jump it yet.
Back in the spring, it wouldn’t start one day, but the engine wouldn’t do anything, no clicking etc. Neutral safety switch was loose/misaligned. Mechanic was able to make a small adjustment, and it’s been fine.
As nice as it would be to get a new car, I just don’t think it’s worth it. The repairs I’ve needed along the way still come in less than a car payment and increased insurance rates, and since I’d probably buy used there’s the chance of having to pay for repairs on top of making payments. Also, I consider having the oldest, most beat-up car in the lot at work to be a perverse badge of honor.