Can someone please Help?

I have a 99 Chevy Lumina. I don’t know what’s wrong with it if someone could maybe help me out. The car periodically flashes the low coolant light. I check it and its fine. I don’t know if its related to my recent problem. A couple of days ago, my car wouldn’t start. All the lights and stuff come on, but there is no clicking or even trying to start. I kept trying. It wouldn’t work. I left it alone to make some phone calls. I messed with it again after a little while and it started. It has been running until today. It started, I got my son to daycare. Then when I tried to start the car to leave, it did the same thing again. I let it sit for a couple of minutes and it started again.

When you check it, are you checking the level of coolant in the radiator, or are you just looking at the overflow reservoir? (Make sure that the radiator is cool to the touch before attempting to open the cap!)

Even though this is not related to the no-start problem, at least you might be able to prevent overheating damage if you verify that the radiator is full.

I checked both.

I would check the battery terminals, corrosion occurs on the inside of side terminal connectors and is not noticeable from the outside. Disconnect and reconnect the negative cable last. The next time the no start condition occurs, try starting the car in Neutral. If it starts the neutral safety switch may be out of adjustment.

I would presume that the sensor that controls the “low Coolant” light might be bad and need replacing. But other tests should done to confirm this.

As far as the non start issue. It sounds like the battery cables are corroded or loose.

Battery connections are the first place to begin when you have a “No Crank” situation. Even
if you have a new battery, if the connections are loose, dirty or corroded, you will not be
allowing the full flow of current to pass thru the connections. The connection may be
enough to turn on the lights, but not enough for the huge flow that is needed to operate the
starter. This is where many people say that they know the battery is good….”because the
lights come on”. This is no more a battery test than licking a 9volt battery. It only tells you that there is electricity…not how many volts or the amperage that flows from the battery.
Jump starting may have wiggled the terminal just enough to allow the current to pass and start the engine, but tomorrow you have the same problem.

First remove the cables from the battery and use a wire brush to remove any corrosion and dirt from the battery posts and the cable terminals. There is a tool with a round wire brush for this purpose, found at any auto parts store for less than $10
Before connecting the cables, apply a coating of di-electric grease to the battery posts this will keep oxygen away from the connection so that it will not corrode as fast.

It is just as important that the other end of the cables also have a clean connection. Remove the positive cable from the battery again so that you do not short anything out. Follow both cables to their far ends, remove this connection and wire brush the connection and the cable terminal clean and retighten these connections.

If there was work done recently, there may have been an “engine to body” ground that was not installed following the work. These grounds normally run from the rear of the engine to the firewall and are uninsulated and most are a braided wire. If any of these are found unattached…reattach them.
Remember….this is not a “Sherman Tank” don’t over tighten the connections.
Tight…tight………………too tight…broke!!!


I’m pretty sure my dad thoroughly checked the battery, but I will doublecheck about it. Ok, I shall try those things. Thank you.

Let us know what you find. If the battery is new and the cables are clean and tight, it’s the starter.

Ok. I will find out. Thank you all for the helpful comments.

I’d suspect the ignition switch or the starter relay given that it sometimes works fine, cranks well (I assume) othertimes totally nothing. Did you try jiggling the ignition switch?

I'd suspect the ignition switch or the starter relay given that it sometimes works fine, cranks well (I assume) othertimes totally nothing. Did you try jiggling the ignition switch?
Great idea. Having either lots of keys, or a bunch of other stuff on your keyring can lead to damaged ignitions. The ignition in most cars isn't designed to carry that weight, and will eventually break down.

Agree with checking all the battery connections etc. I’ve had the ignition switch get out of adjustment a little and rotating it a little harder activated the started. A slight adjustment fixed it but two different issues.

There is a sensor in the radiator that needs to ground through the coolant to keep the light off. If the sensor gets corroded or gets bad, it will not provide a good ground and the light comes on. The only way to shut the light off is to replace the sensor, pull the bulb, or provide a separate ground wire to ground.

I didn’t try that. I will next time. When I left it alone for a few minutes, it started. I don’t know why.

As others have already mentioned, the two most common problems for the starter to not work is bad battery connections and a faulty starter safety switch. You most likely are having trouble with the switch but make sure the battery connections have been cleaned with a wire brush and are snug tight, but not over tight. If the trouble is with the switch sometimes moving the shift lever around in the PARK position with the ignition in the START mode works to get the engine started. The coolant warning light is another but different issue and needs to be addressed also. If the engine overheats due to a lack of coolant flow you will then have more trouble than you want to deal with.

Good comments above. It’s important to monitor the coolant temperature until you know what is causing the low coolant light to flash. It could well be the sensor is the problem. In which case, you can schedule a convenient time with your shop a fix. But you need to know for certain, otherwise this might become a considerably more expensive engine damaging problem. Suggest to monitor the coolant level in both the plastic tank and the radiator and the dashboard coolant temp gauge. If you only have a coolant temp warning light – no gauge – make sure it comes on when the key is in “on” but the engine isn’t started, then turns off when the engine starts. And stays off all the while the engine is running.

The no-crank problem is likely unrelated. There’s about a half dozen things that are common causes. One that hasn’t been mentioned yet, if your car sports a manual transmission, the clutch safety switch could be the culprit. It’s usually more economical to pay a good shop to get the problem diagnosed, rather than not knowing for sure and installing a new starter as a “hope it will fix it” solution. Once the mechanic tells you what is wrong, you can decide then if you’d prefer to fix it yourself.