I drive a 2007 Cadillac SRX. My car suddenly died while I was driving, just after I got off the freeway. When I turn the key, it would only click once. My gauge lights and radio came on. I replaced the battery and it still won’t start. I hear a little bit more cranking, but it won’t start, What could it be? Could it be something very bad like the ignition timing?
Could be anything but if your starter motor is not working, first thing to check would be the main battery connections. Clean and tight. Losing a battery connection could cause the car to stall and also to not turn on the starter. Otherwise shop time.
The connections seem to be fine. Can it still be a starter issue if it died WHILE i was driving?
That’s an important observation. Quit while running does not mean the starter is bad. It could mean there’s a problem within the battery, or with its connections.
I changed the battery already
With a new good battery it should be able to crank for several minutes - but don’t do it that long, because it can overheat the starter motor. 15 seconds cranking and then a minute pause is more like it. If it cranks strongly but does not start and run, the problem is not in the battery or its connections. Maybe the timing chain or belt, maybe crank position sensor, etc.
Sudden shut down could be broken timing belt. Does it have one? Edit- no, a timing chain. Any odd noises coming from the engine?
The puzzling part is that the starter motor should still crank regardless if the timing belt, cam sensor, or whatever is the problem. Unless the problem is the electrical connection that also affects the starter.
If it has the 3.6L, I believe that’s an interference engine. Chain slips or breaks and the starter won’t be able to rotate the engine very far if at all.
When engines die like the way you described it usually is a bad thing. Your engine may be locked up. I suggest you try spinning the engine over manually if you can to see how freely it moves. If the main cables to the starter motor get warm pretty quickly due to the engine not turning while the starter is ON, then there is a real problem with the engine. Don’t force the starter to work if this is the case, as you will damage things further.
That makes sense. A locked up engine could not rotate.