Car Repair

We have a 2002 Chevy Impala. Sometimes our car just doesn’t start…very unpredictable. Just doesn’t turn over…no grinding, etc. We have checked the battery and have had a new starter put in. Any thoughts?

You need to have a competent mechanic to completely check the electrical starter circuit system. Don’t guess and stop “hanging parts”. Sometimes it is just a relay or a bad connection, and there are many.

A good shop will automatically do this, and maybe you did not need a new battery or starter.

Does not turn over implies key is turned and nothing seems to happen. Which is different than turning key and hearing starter make a bad grinding sound which means teeth on flex plate may be damaged. But saying key on, no sound is different than key on, grinding sound. You have new starter. But old battery. Could be battery. Could be ignition switch. Could be neutral safety switch. No sound is the critical clue.

I’m with Doc on this. Any competant shop can thoroughly check the starting and charging systems, and that’s the absolute best place to start. By doing the diagnosis first, you change the correct parts and only the correct parts and save time and money.

The next time this happens, shift to neutral and try and start it. If it starts in neutral, the neutral safety switch may need adjusting/replacing.

2002, does it have on start or are there any security lights showing on the dash when you are attempting to start it?

@CatMatt, I think you mean OnStar. The digital version of OnStar, which is the only one supported today, can provide this information only if the sensors are there. I think a 2002 GM vehicle is too old to have this feature. We don’t have it on our 2003 Silhouette, but the 2009 and later Cobalts and Cruze in our driveway do have it.

Aagree. Battery, battery connections, battery cables, neutral start switch and the other possibility is the ignition switch itself out of adjustment. I had that on my Buick where intermittantly turning the key would not activate the starter. Sometimes turning the key very hard would work. Just a little adjustment of the slide switch itself.