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'96 Chrsyler Sebring won't kick in

Dear Ya?ll,

Thank you for all of your knowledge ,humor and patience. I am clueless about cars and have been laid off for the last year. That was about the same time my Chrysler Sebring '96 started getting hard to start: turns over but takes forever to kick in. I have been getting by this past year completely on the miracle of prayer. The odd thing is once it starts, it runs great and if it has been running, recently, it is easier to start the second time. My car also passed smog with flying colors. Yesterday was a different story, it never did kick in ,and I ran the battery down. What do you think it is? My mechanic retired and moved away, I am in a complete quandary and I don?t know any one who is car savvy.

I really need your help and if there was a way I would send you a peach pie, for your time.



If you have been unemployed for a year, this is undoubtedly not the answer that you want to hear but…here goes:

If you have skipped maintenance on this car–such as replacing spark plugs, air filter, and fuel filter–that would be a likely source of your starting problem.

Unless the car’s maintenance is brought up to date, it will be very difficult–and potentially more expensive in the long run–to try to “cherry pick” the source of the problem.

Once all maintenance is up to date, the starting problem may very well disappear, and if it doesn’t at least it will be much easier to diagnose the problem. As I said, this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but there are seldom any cheap or magical solutions to car problems, unfortunately.

Here’s someone who had the same type of problem

Try the same procedure, and if it works, you know what the problem is.


Thank you VDCdriver,

I wasn’t expecting a miracle, just some knowledge. I was wondering if it could be something like a tuneup. Thank you so much for answering …that gives me a place to start with getting it fixed. I really appreciate it. It is good to have an opinion, I’m not bummed out, instead I am hopeful. Have a great weekend.


Just be sure to specify exactly what you want done when you take the car to a mechanic. Since the term “tune up” is archaic and non-specific, it can mean different things to different people. And, because the use of that non-specific term tells someone that you are non car-savvy, it invites dishonest practices on the part of an unscrupulous repair shop.

My advice is:

Use the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule that is in your glove compartment to complie a specific list of what you want to have done. (Spark plugs, air filter, fuel filter, etc, depending upon what is specified in the maintenance schedule.)

Go to a well-reputed independent mechanic for this maintenance.
AVOID Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, Discount Tire, AAMCO, and any other chain operation. Chain operations invariably find questionable additional items that they will swear are necessary, even when they are not. Additionally, their prices are higher than what you will be charged by an indy mechanic.

Good luck with the car, and please post back if you have any further questions!