Car won't start periodically

I have a 2004 Saturn Ion, manual transmission. My car won’t start periodically. It may go a week and start up perfectly then one day I get in, turn the key and nothing. I turn the key a few more times and the car will start quickly and immediately die. It will do this about three times and then I’ll turn the key another time and nothing. Eventually, after enough tries, the car will start right up and continue to run as though there isn’t a problem. The battery is fully charged and all battery connections are tight. I took it to the mechanic, but it always starts when it is there. The mechanic did find something in their computer about the 2004 model having some kind of loose battery terminal, so they fixed that. Of course, I still have the problem.

Did you clean BOTH ends of each cable? Other than that I would normally suggest a back ignition lock or starter, but the starter would not cause the engine to start and die. Sort of sounds like the ignition lock.

When you turn the ignition switch to START, the electric power (12 volts) goes through several switches, starting with the ignition switch, itself. Should this mean something to you (or, your mechanic)? Yes, since anyone of those switches can sometimes work, and sometimes, not work. A switch is an easy suspect when the start is intermittent.
If you actuate a switch several times, and sometimes it works, the switch you actuate is the prime switch suspect. In this instance, it’s the ignition switch. Your mechanic should check it out, or, replace it.
The ignition switch is the part (of two parts) which has the wires attached…NOT, the lock part.

Thanks. The cable ends are clean. I’ll check out the ignition switch.

If this keeps up and you can’t find the problem you may be wasting your time looking for a simple solution. Things like the AFM will sometimes go in and out before they die completely. If you can’t find the problem leave it with the mechanic until he can diagnose the problem.