Cavalier starting problem mystery

There you have it



managed to get car started one more time and brought it back to AAA. They demanded that chevy dealer up the road do the ignition switch / relay / wiring recall job first - and told me that would fix the problem. Spent 4 hours at the dealer having that done. They did not think it had anything to do with the starting problem and neither did I but I didn’t want any more crap from AAA - who I am ready to sue over the last 6 months of hell. Got in car to leave the dealer after recall work done. No change car would not start. Got down the road to stop and open hood to see what was done and when I turned car off that would be the last time it was running for the last 3 days. When I got back in to return to the AAA dealer, white smoke started to pour out of the engine compartment and the starter, associated wires and plastic cape covering one of the solenoid connections was on fire. I inhaled a lot of that smoke, have been coughing my lungs out for the last 24 hours and who knows what kind of melted plastic toxins I breathed in. Anyway, had to call a tow truck to haul it back to AAA. This was yesterday at 1pm. Spent all afternoon there and they tried putting a new starter on but said THAT new starter would not disengage once hooked up. Had to rent a car and when I went back to AAA just now, the car looks like it hasn’t moved since I left yesterday (was supposed to be a 24 hour rental but just had to extend that a minute ago) - got inside and they said they think the dealer screwed something up and they now want to put a different ignition switch in the car, even though that was the whole reason the guy told me to go to chevy - to get a new ignition switch put in. This AAA place is the single biggest disaster I have ever become involved with. I think they must be totally incompetent. But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say they have tried everything they should have in the order they should have up to this point. 6 months…5 starters, 2 batteries, 2 ignition switches, a burned-up, on-fire starter, getting towed and now 2 days of rental cars later - I am still getting nowhere. Ideas?

i was just going to mention the ignition switch…it could be screwed up inside. When they start failing they dont energize certain systems as the key is turned thru its course thru till the spring loaded starter section.

I wish I could have helped you out somehow in the beginning of all this. ANY competent mechanic should have been able to figure this out with all the clues this thing has given you. A mechanic with experience would not have moved on to the next thing until he proved out certain things such as the random no trigger on the starter symptom.

If I or any of us here had the car and were working with you…we would have solved this problem. I’m sorry you are having to go thru all this with this third party BS.

Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians.


From what you say about the new trouble it does sound like the new switch has a problem and that caused the starter to overheat and catch fire. Using a voltmeter it would be very easy to test the switch to see if that is true. Sorry to hear this has become a disaster.