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Chysler cirrus not starting. Was running fine 15 min ago

Hello folks,

My 98 Cirrus (V6 automatic) is not starting. The battery is working fine and it lights up everything…the wipers, headlight, the turn signals etc… But when I turn on the ignition…nothing. I hear a mild thud followed by a brief hissing sound when I turn the key from the 1 position to the 2 position (referring to a 0-1-2-ignition key positions)…like “thuh…sssssss.” It seems it comes from the underside of the car. Then when I turn from the second key position to start the engine, I get no response at all. I tried putting the gear in park / N…but no difference.

The weird thing is, approx 15 min before I attempted to start the car, I had to drive the car across the parking lot. It ran fine at that time. Could it be a fried starter motor?


The fact that the battery can run things like lights & wipers doesn’t tell you that it can do something really hard, like turn over the motor. So don’t discount the battery.

You’re just going to need to have someone have a look at it. If you have roadside assistance, the people who show up normally know how to check out the basics. You might have a dead battery. Your terminals might need a good cleaning & tightening. Your cables might need some attention. You could have a bad ignition switch, though the “thud” doesn’t really suggest that. And yes, you could have a fried starter motor. You could have a seized engine for that matter.

If you don’t have a roadside program you could at least get started if you have a voltmeter. Put it on the battery & see what you have. Pull & clean the cable & battery terminals…stuff like that.

Thanks a lot for your comments.
I am not clear about the battery aspect of it.
My car was originally parked in the far side of my parking lot and decided to move move it closer to my apt… I started the car and moved it just fine. Nothing abnormal. I went back home for 10-15 min and came back and then the problem I mentioned in the OP happened.

Thanks again…

It takes a huge amount of power for your battery to turn the starter motor - vastly more power than it takes to run accessories. Starting the car will suck a whole bunch of power out of it. Then running is just for a minute or two across the parking lot will not replace that power. (Your alternator is not a battery charger but it keeps a charge on the battery - but it can’t replace the power instantly). If you have a battery in marginal condition (and/or poor connections) it wouldn’t be unusual for it to start one time & then not the next. It is also the case that batteries can undergo sudden death.

Anyway, the battery is the most obvious and simple thing to check. Someone with a meter & a little knowledge can do a basic check in about 30 seconds.

If you can get someone to do it, you could try jump starting it. If that gets it going you could drive it directly to the nearest auto parts store where they would check the battery & alternator for free. I wouldn’t want that auto parts store to be too far away just in case…and I would call ahead to make sure they offer the service.

Ok got it. I will check that out like you said. Thanks a lot :slight_smile:


Tried jump starting the car and it did not work. The battery working fine. All the electricals work including blower, AC etc. So it is not a battery problem. Turning to the ignition has no effect. So I guess this is something else…How do I check if the starter is working or not. It is possible to check the connections directly? Thanks

BTW, I checked the fuses under the hood and on the side panel on the driver’s side.

My guess is that at this point you need a mechanic to look at it. Try jiggling the key around as you turn it as you may have an ignition switch problem. Think of the key cylinder in there as being a light switch with a bad contact.

Try it out again with the gear selector in Neutral too.

Other than that you need an electrical meter to check the voltage on the battery. (Once again running things like the blower does not tell you that the battery is good). Then to find out whether power is making it to the starter, whether the battery/starter grounds are good, etc.