Car does nothing


when I go out to start my car and turn the key it does nothing. The battery has been checked and cables cleaned. The lights on the dash come on. It doesn’t always do this some times it starts right up like there is nothing wrong at all. What should the mechanics look for? What could be the problem


How did you check the battery?

When you turn on the car for “just the battery” do the lights and/or radio work?


I had the a mechanic check the battery and clean the ables and they said that should fix it. about three weeks later last night it Did nothing again. I am always able to start it with a jump. But I never Know when it will start and when it will do nothing. PS I don’t understand your battery radio question. Thanks though


I’m having battery problems, too. But I know a bit (a very little bit) about batteries and electrical systems. See my post about Alternator bizareness.

If you are able to turn on the radio without the car running, that means that you don’t have an “open” (a broken wire). Same if the dome light comes on.

But if you can start the car with a jump, that generally means (duh!) the battery is dying and/or the alternator is not charging the battery.

So, before we got down a billion paths, let’s answer the simple questions first. Then I’ll take it from there.


I was thinking about the question"just the battery" and the answer is yes. I know its not the alternator because the alternator gage was not showing a over charge I know about the alternator and battery problems and that is not it.The gage shows that the alternator is charging just fine.I have had those problems with this car and a past car. I don’t think that is it. All the lights work when the car is just on battery. What a puzzler


Is the car a 1973 Ford Maverick? Or…


My car is a 1991 Buick Park avenue.


I’m thinking it could be in the wireing I have never heard of a battery short but the battery is fine. How would they ever find it.


When the ignition key is turned to START, the ignition switch (hopefully) sends power (12 volts) to the starter solenoid. Considering the age of your car, it’s likely the ignition switch is defective. It can work sometimes, and sometimes, it doesn’t. To check, disconnect the little wire from the solenoid. Check it for voltage (12 volts) each time the ignition key is turned to START. Turn to START several time while watching the voltmeter (or test light). If once, or more, voltage isn’t there, the ignition switch mis-connected. In this case, the repair is to replace the ignition SWITCH (not, the lock [key] cylinder).


!991 is about old enough to need a new negative battery cable. The positive one should be disconnected at the battery, have the rubber pulled back and check for really hard, sometimes green corrosion. It can usually be removed by scraping. The starter solenoid could also be toasted.


Ignition switches also go bad or come loose from the column. Wire ends come loose at the starter. Sometimes you pull on the wires and the plastic cap comes apart on the solenoid assy.


Thanks a lot. I haven’t had those things checked out. I think I I’ll see if my husband can check out the silinoid
or see if the mechanic will. Is it hard to get to to check? My husband does some work on cars but nothing that is really hard to get to.