Bonneville won't start

I was surprised this morning by my 2000 Pontiac Bonneville not starting. All the other devices and systems activated but the engine made no attempt to turn over at all. It’s a rebuilt title but the car has shown no signs of difficulty except a small bit of sputtering last night when it was unfortunately running on fumes and the service light activating after the gas tank was filled. My limited experience and lack of funds makes me hope this is a blown fuse as that would be relatively quick and painless (so I understand it) to fix but a friend has suggested it may be the starter and I am not foolish enough to believe it couldn’t be something even worse. Of course I want to be appraised of more serious concerns in case I need to start making long term plans to restore my mobility.


Do you get a click when you turn the key to the start position, yes then you probably need a starter but it could be a bad connection at the battery cables, no then it could be the park/neutral safety switch. If the latter, try putting the transmission in neutral and start it.

Casca - Keith is trying to clarify your statement “the engine made no attempt to TURN OVER”…

This is a matter of definitions…and it seems the expression “turn over” is not used clearly by a large number of people. Answering a question like yours requires to know precisely what your car actually did when you put the key in the start position.

If you heard ONLY a click …and NOT the familiar sound of the starter spinning the engine, that suggests things like battery contacts, weak battery, starter. If you didn’t even hear a click, then that’s important to report also.

If instead you heard the engine being turned by the starter, that’s what mechanics call “turning over”, also the “engine cranked”. If an engine turns over but does not start, that shows that the starting system (battery, contacts, starter) is working fine, but something else is a problem.

So, generally the options are:

  1. no click
  2. click and nothing else
  3. click and engine “turns over” but doesn’t start and run

Reading between the lines, I’m guessing your engine turned over (aka: cranked) but failed to start and run. Since you mentioned running on fumes just before this, I’m concerned that you may have cooked your fuel pump, but I could easily be wrong and sure hope I am. If you post clarifications on what you observed, the skilled mechanics who offer excellent advice on this forum will be able to help you figure out the next step.