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Intermittent No crank / No start

2008 Chrysler Sebring V6 hardtop convertible
Intermittent no crank / no start condition – when turning key to start position, either you get nothing as if there is no battery connected and or a slight click as if the solenoid was trying to engage. The pattern can be nothing, nothing, nothing, click, click, nothing, startup or any combination of clicks or nothing, always resulting with a startup. Sometimes it will only be 3-4 attempts, other times 15-20. This occurs anywhere from every 15-20 starts to driving 2,000 miles from NH to FL without one failure.
Completely random occurrence – no pattern can be seen – has been ongoing since September 2015 to now March 2016. I have tried moving the shift lever and the steering wheel while it occurs, no change.
Facts – battery was replaced 2-3 years ago
After the first occurrence I yanked the battery, cleaned the terminals as well as the terminals under the hood. Over the next couple of months brought it to the dealer who could find no codes and of course it did not fail while they had it so they did nothing. In December I appealed to the service manager to replace the starter as I thought is sounded like a bad spot on the armature. He did so and also had the WIN module replaced. No issues until I was in FL weeks later.
Here the dealer has replaced the PTC and TIPM modules and installed a redundant ground wire. The problem is still occurring.
Any ideas – I’m down to under 400 miles on my 100k bumper to bumper warranty?

The ignition switch itself. Try wiggling the switch when you get a no-start condition.

or the interlock on the clutch pedal (if manual) or the brake pedal (if automatic), if there is one. You can temporarily bypass this to see if that fixes things.

Try staring it in neutral instead of park, there is another switch there somewhere.

Battery connections are the first place to begin when you have a “No Crank” situation. Even
if you have a new battery, if the connections are loose, dirty or corroded, you will not be
allowing the full flow of current to pass thru the connections. The connection may be
enough to turn on the lights, but not enough for the huge flow that is needed to operate the
starter. This is where many people say that they know the battery is good….”because the
lights come on”. This is no more a battery test than licking a 9volt battery. It only tells you that there is electricity…not how many volts or the amperage that flows from the battery.
Jump starting may have wiggled the terminal just enough to allow the current to pass and start the engine, but tomorrow you have the same problem.

First remove the cables from the battery and use a wire brush to remove any corrosion and dirt from the battery posts and the cable terminals. There is a tool with a round wire brush for this purpose, found at any auto parts store for less than $10
Before connecting the cables, apply a coating of di-electric grease to the battery posts this will keep oxygen away from the connection so that it will not corrode as fast.

It is just as important that the other end of the cables also have a clean connection. Remove the positive cable from the battery again so that you do not short anything out. Follow both cables to their far ends, remove this connection and wire brush the connection and the cable terminal clean and retighten these connections.

If there was work done recently, there may have been an “engine to body” ground that was not installed following the work. These grounds normally run from the rear of the engine to the firewall and are uninsulated and most are a braided wire. If any of these are found unattached…reattach them.
Remember….this is not a “Sherman Tank” don’t over tighten the connections.
Tight…tight………………too tight…broke!!!


BillRussell, thanks for the idea on the brake interlock, I’ll check it out. Are there any relays in the starting circuit? I’ve also heard a shorted battery can exhibit these symptoms, ever heard of that? All of the items suggested by Yosemite have been done, but thanks for the reply.

Don’t forget the ignition switch. Re shorted battery, I don’t think that could be intermittent. Once is shorts, the battery is trash.

Did you try starting it in neutral instead of park?

“Try staring it in neutral instead of park, there is another switch there somewhere.”

That switch is the neutral safety switch. If the car starts with no problem in “neutral” then the neutral safety switch is probably bad if you have an automatic transmission.

Usually click click click start is the starter solenoid going bad. The clicks let you know that the ignition switch is working as well as the starter relay…it ends at the starter solenoid. Almost textbook.

Of course we need to know battery voltage before condemning the starter solenoid…bec it needs proper voltage to engage hard enough. What is resting batt voltage ? If it is low…you found the issue. If its normal…we go back to the solenoid.


Thank to all, I don’t know the exact results (if any) diags the dealer did, only parts replaced. The starter was replaced some time ago and I was told the solenoid was part of the starter on this car. The problem existed before and after. Regarding click, click start pointing to the solenoid I agree. But what about nothing, nothing start? So far it has only “not started” once since the advise to try it in neutral and it started on the next crank. It was nothing, shift to neutral, start. I’m looking forward to a couple more failures to confirm this fix.

The moving to neutral issue will be the gear selector module on the transmission. It monitors what gear the transmission is in currently. The starter relay is only active when the selector says that it is in Park or Neutral…and since you use the Park position most of all really…that is where the tranny switch is having an issue…or is very likely anyway. There are ways to test this and sometimes it can be adjusted.


It would be nice to know what is making the clicking noise you are hearing. If it is the starter solenoid then it would seem the main battery cable is causing the issue, though it doesn’t seem your car is old enough for that to be an issue, but it could be. Internal wire corrosion by the battery connection can cause that kind of problem. Full power can’t get to the starter motor. If you are hearing other relays clicking then I would suggest you find out what fuse or fuses in the dash fuse panel are tied to the starter circuit and have at least a test light probe with you so you can check the power to those fuses when the trouble happens so you can verify power to that point. Use the slits on top of the fuses to check for power.