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Issues starting

A 2005 Kia Spectra 5 with 252,000 miles will occasionally not start. In the AUX position I get lights, dash, radio. Turn to START, and there is dead silence. No clicks, stutters, or attempt to start. New starter last year. Would like to get one more year from car before replacing. My car guys cannot get it to repeat this at the shop. After attempting up to 15 times, the car fires up just like nothing happened. Maybe unrelated…the door locks will randomly lock themselves when you are walking away from the car.

The next time this happens, with ignition switch on, step on the brake pedal and place the transmission into neutral and then try starting the engine.

If the engine starts, there’s a problem with the transmission range switch.


There’s another poster here with a similar problem. Here’s some possibilities anyway:

•Faulty anti-theft device (if it has this function installed)
•Transmission safety switch (if auto), or clutch safety switch (if manual)
•Loose or corroded connectors on the battery posts
•Faulty battery
•Faulty ignition switch
•Faulty starter motor

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!!!


I have done the step on brake, but transmission will not shift if car is not running. The steering column no longer goes into “lock position”. If I pull the wheel hard to the left (like curbing the tires) then the vehicle starts.

battery and starter motor are new, within the last 3 months. My car guys still cannot get it to repeat for them. Trouble shooting has elicited the following: it happens when the car is driven in “straight” to a parking spot, braked firmly , and quickly shut off. If you try to re-start in the instant, it will not! I have jiggled the shifter, braked hard to floor, and re-inserted the key to no avail. Success has come with pulling the wheel hard left. The problem occurs at all temps and humidity levels.

If the ignition switch is on the steering column, maybe that’s the problem, & turning the wheel is changing the geometry of something and making the connection inside or at the connector of the ignition switch work again.

If you can figure out a way to get it to fail in a repeatable way, a shop could do a voltage measurement at the starter and get to the bottom of it pretty fast I expect. Absent that, you’ll have to ask the shop to test for each of the issues mentioned above, one by one. At this point my first guesses would be the transmission neutral safety switch, the ignition switch, or the starter, in that order.

thanks for the list, I am going to leave it at the shop and let them test it to their heart’s content. niki