Mazda 3 2006 Intermittent failure to start. Continues after new battery

I have a very reliable Mazda 3 2006. For the last month I have had a problem with it refusing to start. I put the key in the ignition, turn it on and nothing. No start, no grinding, no clicking, no sound at all. Got a new battery and it happened again. The second AAA tow guy taught me to start the car by putting it in neutral ( with foot brake and hand brake on) and then start it, which does the trick when it won’t start otherwise.

After the new battery and continued problems I asked my mechanic to check the electrical system. He did and said everything was fine.

I don’t know whether this is a generator, alternator, computer or battery problem. And I don’t know what I am doing to my car when I do the neutral set start. I don’t know if I am hurting my car when I do that.

The problem is intermittent. There is no pattern: length of trip before I stop, length of time the car is not used, etc.

Any help or ideas on what is causing this and what needs to be looked at/ fixed is greatly appreciated.


The problem you describe points to a defective park/neutral safety switch.

The park/neutral safety switch is mounted on the transmission. And what this switch does is it prevents the starter from operating unless the gear shifter is in either park or neutral. If the engine doesn’t start in park but starts in neutral then it means the contacts in the switch are defective in park but work in neutral.