96 Olds Ciera Won't Start :(


Good morning! (Well, not for me!)

Got in my car this morning and it would crank, but wouldn’t fire. My fiance helped me push it out since we had it in the garage, and as we were pushing the oil light came on. It’s currently in the hands of a very capable mechanic, but I figure I’d see if anyone had any ideas here about possible things that are wrong.

The last major bit of work I had done was back in October - there was a slow external leak in the intake manifold, so that was replaced. It had a routine tune up last summer, and an oil change/inspection in December. It’s not due for an oil change for 2000 miles / one month. I had a similar problem with the car a few months ago where it simply wouldn’t start. Had it towed, and when it got to the mechanic it started right up and he had no idea what was wrong. I’m not sure if that is related to this problem, but who knows!

Other than that (and replacing a faulty power steering pump) it’s been pretty much problem-free. Any ideas folks? Thanks a bunch. :slight_smile:


It takes three things to start a car. Spark fuel and compression. The first one to check is spark. I like the idea of buying a new spark plug, remove the wire from one plug and put it on the new plug. Hold the threads of the new plug tightly against the engine block and have someone crank the starter. You should see a nice bright blue spark. If you are tingling all over and maybe sitting down, you forgot to hold the plug with a highly insulated tool, but the spark is OK.

When it is turning over does it sound normal? When you turn on the ignition but not try to start it and you listen carefully do you hear a humming when you first turn it on? It should be coming from the back of the car. (fuel pump.)


Thanks for replying, Joseph.

I walked past the car again and saw they had some kind of tool attached to the sparkplugs, so it looks like that’s the first thing the mechanic tried, too. I suppose he would know better than I to avoid electric shock! :slight_smile:

I did hear the buzzing of the fuel pump when I tried to start it.


If you have good spark, do a fuel pressure check. If you have good spark, good fuel pressure, then test for a defective or weak fuel injector. That’s a simple ohms check with a volt-ohm meter. After that, it’s into the ignition system, i.e.: coil pack, etc. A good mechanic will know all of this. If you have good spark, the coil(s) are probably O.K. Might be a real simple thing like a fuel filter, too.