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Having key on and having to repeatedly shift through all gears to eventually start

Hi All,
I’m so confused with this vehicle. I have nick named it Christine!! It’s a 2001 Ford Taurus (#FoundOnRoadDead). I have an issue that I can not start my car and it happens randomly. Does not matter if car is could, warm, when time, it’s a mystery u will find whenever it feels like playing the game. I have the key on the ON position like I’m going to start car and when I fully turn key as far as it goes there is not a sound. No clicking, no nothing like it would sound like if it was the alternator or the starter. I just keep key in the ON position and shift from Park to 1. Sometimes it only takes once sometimes it takes much longer. Mechanics trying to tell me that there is no way it can happen any other than when the car is cold. Obviously I’m a female so they think I’m clueless. I know some of the basics seeing I grew up with mechanics and worked at some auto part stores and had spoken with them as well. I’m lost on this one

This is a simplistic answer but has the battery been checked and are all connections clean and tight. Has someone actually looked at the vehicle or just answering your questions. If it actually starts in gear the neutral switch might be bad or loose.


My car is in the garage more than it is out. I purchased it from a used car dealership. The car dealership never longer exists in my area. They are only in the Midwest and California. Actually I have reported that dealership for several reasons. I’m only on my 3rd motor since purchased on 5/2015. Supposedly that switch was changed but it doesn’t seem like it was ever touched. Problem never went away. Also with the transmission it shifts hard, u can actually feel the whole car push forward but they keep insisting that nothing is wrong with the transmission. All cables are in good condition and clean. I actually checked them while I was at garage this morning to have car looked at again!!! I will NEVER GET ANOTHER VEHICLE FROM THAT COMANY

This dealership is CarHop. Please do yourself a favor and stay away from them at all costs. They are scammers. They tell u what ur budget is and then they tell you what car u qualify for. Don’t forget to bring at least 12 personal references. Their lien down payments, sure, the minimum they would accept is $1,100.00. Have had nothing but problems since day one. I will not call them and if they try to call me I don’t answer. I told the corporate office only contact us through email because they never remember what was said and when and it’s always in their favor so I’m keeping it all in black and white!!

If the neutral safety switch (a.k.a. a range selector switch) has been changed then the electrical part of the ignition switch could be the cause of a no-start condition; assuming battery cable ends are clean and the battery is good.

As for the transmission, that could be due to a faulty motor/transmission mount. The one that fails is usually the one on the passenger side rear.

I am concerned about your attitude towards the dealer. You buy a 17 year old used car and are upset because of some problems? It’s common for any 17 year old car to suffer problems.

I would also be interested in hearing the story behind 3 engine failures in a year and a half.

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The engine issues happened within 6 :expressionless:months of having the vehicle. They kept replacing the motor with a flex engine. My mechanic told me that a flex engine should NOT be put in that year vehicle but the dealership kept telling the mechanic to put that particular engine in. So I really don’t know the difference between a flex engine and a regular engine

I totally understand that a 17 year old care is going to have issues but REALLY 3 motors within 6 months of purchase not to mention everything else that was wrong with the car. The car didn’t even have a heater core in it!!! Timing belt/chain, a pulley for belt, water pump and it just keeps getting better. There was so much more wrong. At least I’m very happy that I purchased a warranty for the car. It was pricey but I’m glad I paid the money.

I really am afraid that what you have has one foot in the salvage yard. All I can offer is on your next purchase try to have someone who can help you. Used vehicles are a gamble but be ready to walk if you even have one iota of concern.

I know it’s a POS, but why do you say it has one foot in salvage yard. Oh Believe me I’m not even close to being done with that dealership. I’ve filed with dealers commission, have lawyer working with me as well. One location has already been shut down.

I would be curious to know how much you paid for this car. It certainly isn’t worth much even if running perfectly and I fear you were taken advantage of. Is this a buy here- pay here kind of dealership where they did the financing? Is it paid off? Reason I ask is this type of dealership can often have an immobilizer module on the car to be able to disable it if you stop paying and maybe that module is flaky??? Just a thought.

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if the dealership has replaced the motor twice on a 17 year old car, then I would suggest that they are treating you better than many other places would.

The Flex motor should just mean that it will run on regular unleaded and Flex Fuel (E85 Ethanol.) I see no reason why this engine won’t go in your car, as it is likely the same engine in my work 2000 Ford Ranger. You don’t have to run E85.

I would be interested in what you paid for this car, and what you paid for the warranty. At some point, I’d push for just the company giving me my money back on the car- and hope that they would be ready enough to not have to deal with me anymore that they paid out.
And if they won’t, I may just move onto something else, and count my losses. The time and energy to get this car fixed just may not be worth it.

You state that you bought a warranty with the car. I’d say the dealer is doing a pretty good job of trying to remedy the problem if they changed the engine out not once, but twice at no cost to you.

That’s the problem with used salvage yard units. You never really know what you have until the car is underway again.

Fails to crank is a common symptom reported here. The relationship w/the automatic transmission shift lever suggests it’s a bad or mis-aligned neutral safety switch that’s the cause. That part is relatively easy and inexpensive to replace. It’s purpose is to prevent the engine from cranking unless the key is in park or neutral. That’s so if you leave kids in the car while you pop into 7-11 for Big Gulp, they can’t just twist the key and start the car, which might then drive through the 7-11 plate glass window. I"m not sure why your shop said it was impossible to happen tho. And why if it did happen, it could only happen when it s cold outside. That’s an unusual thing to hear from a professional mechanic.

To proved the problem is the neutral safety switch the shop could measure the voltages at the starter motor during attempted cranking. No or low voltage on the “s” terminal would be consistent with a neutral safety switch problem.

I know it does have what they say is a GPS on it. The car will be paid off in June. I’m not done with that company yet. I have put in complaints with several entities regarding the issue of this car. Next, I’m going to call my local news channels and complain and expose what they do to people. I know I got F’d over.

What were the symptoms that prompted the replacement of the engines?

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White smoke coming from between the front fenders and hood. That was the first one to be replaced. The next one was the car had absolutely no power, it couldn’t get out of its own way. Also extremely loud pinging. Not pinging as like using a cheap gas either. Car was at mechanic for a day and a half, said screw it and went to pick up my car. The mechanic tells me it needs a new neutral safety switch for one and then says to me, which makes no sense at all to me, you can try replacing the started. When I try to star car, whether cold or hot, it doesn’t make a sound at all.

It is not a buy here pay here dealership. I don’t have exact numbers in my head. I would need to go through the paperwork and get the exact numbers