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Advice 2002 hynduai sonata

Hey guys I need some advice. I just recently purchased a 2002 hynduai sonata as my first car. It has about 167k miles on it at the time of this post and needless to say it has it fair share of problems. As a college kid, I dont have the money to have a mechanic fix all of my cars problems for me so I have been under the hood alot lately. Anyways to get back on topic, my car has recently been giving me trouble. A few days ago i noticed when i was on my way out of the driveway that it was really hard for me to shift out of park and into reverse. This continued for a couple of days until i tried to start my car one evening and it wouldn’t start. Now initially i thought that my car not starting was a result of a dead battery, so I took my battery out and brought it to autozone to be tested where they told me the battery was working fine and they even charged it for me. I brought it back home and hooked it up to my car again only to find out they were right. My car still dosent start so i borrowed my friends error code reader and hooked it up. I ran the check engine light diagnostics and i think taking my cars battery out has reset my cars onboard computer. So im having trouble getting the error codes to see whats actually wrong with my car. So i guess my question is whats my next step. Did i screw myself? If i cant read the codes would a mechanic be able to? Im just looking to find out whats wrong. I would be doing any and all repairs myself. Given the fact that it wont crank im thinking it could be the starter. And im also not sure if my difficulty shifting from park to reverse or drive is related to the car not starting. I really just need some advice this is very stressful. Any and all responses will be greatly appreciated.

If it won’t crank and the battery is fine, that points to the battery connections or a bad starter. Get a $10 voltmeter and check the voltages at the starter terminals, to ground. They should be 10 volts or higher when you are trying to start the car. If they are, then the starter is bad. If not then it is in the wiring or a relay.

but first clean the battery connections,specially the inside of the clamps. There are special wire brushes that you can get for a few dollars for that. And clean the other ends, where they connect to ground and the starter .


Thanks for the response, i will definitely do all of the above. What do you think about my trouble shifting though. And if none of the above works will a mechanic still be able to get error codes from my car or has that ship set sail by me removing my battery prematurely?

If the gear shift cable is binding perhaps “park” is not fully engaging, try starting it in neutral.

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A problem in the shift linkage could explain the difficulty in shifting and the non-start. There’s an electrical switch that keeps the starter motor from running if the transmission is not in P or N. A malfunction in the shift linkage could keep that switch from working.

Try starting it in neutral, and if you have the manual for the car shift interlock bypass may be in there

Difficulty shifting out of P could be related to the brake interlock. You have to be pressing on the brake to shift out of P, right? So maybe the sensor that indicates you are pressing on the brake is faulty, of the mechanism that activates to allow you to shift out of P is faulty, or improperly adjusted. One thing to check: do all the brake lights work when you press on the brake? This could all be related to the fails to crank also, but can’t make that claim with much certainty. I’d treat them as separate problems until proven otherwise. You are right about the diagnostic codes, once you remove the battery you’ve lost any that were stored. Fails to crank usually doesn’t flag a code anyway, so I doubt you’ve lost much info by disconnecting the battery in regards to that problem. The voltage measurement suggested above is where to start on a fails to crank. Trying a start in N is a good idea too.

Your original shifting problem led me to think it could very well be your current no crank problem and others here agree. Your Automatic Transmission (A/T) has a neutral safety switch preventing the starter from operating in a position other than park or neutral. If your shift linkage is out of adjustment the position your shifter indicates may not be what your transmission is actually engaged in. If this is the problem it could be a fairly inexpensive repair.

Thank you all for the responses.