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My car won't start with turning the key in the ignition

On the way home from work one night I hit a regular dog sized animal (fox, coyote, dog). It caused damage to my radiator, condenser and fan. After the accident I moved the car a few times to keep the battery from dying. On the last time I went to move it, it wouldn’t crank up so I assumed to battery went dead and gave it a jump. That didn’t work so I just left it alone and let my mechanic deal with it. So now the damaged parts have been replaced and the car runs beautifully…except it won’t start from turning the key in the ignition. It will only start from underneath the hood with the help of a switch. I’ve had several different mechanics look at it and after putting the car on several scanners and checking wiring and other parts associated with starting a car, no one has an answer. I’m just hoping may to find some suggestion here. Oh, it’s a 2011, if it matters.

Soooo What is this “switch” of which you post?? A switch to what? Installed by Chevy or by some so called “mechanic” as a work-around? Sounds like you aren’t letting the correct mechanics look at it.

A little help please, like mileage? Engine size? Automatic or manual transmission?

2011 Chevy Malibu LS
2.4L 4-cyl. engine
Automatic transmission
Around 71,000 miles

Every mechanic I’ve taken it to is 100% certified and people I trust. The only reason I know the car will start with the “switch” is because the last guy I took it to did some trial and error type work. It’s a remote starter switch that mechanics sometimes use when working alone…Look it up. And I think it’s was connected to the starter. I’m still not driving the car but so far no one, not my friendly neighborhood mechanic or car dealership mechanic, can figure it out.

Do you have a remote start aftermarket device? Plan B mechanic?

The “switch” I was referring to is a remote starter switch. And I’ve went to 3 different mechanics.

The question about an aftermarket remote start that is installed on the car because they are commonly known to cause issues.

Uploading… Uploading…
I believe this is the “switch” that was referring to

I understand that @db4690 , the question is is there an aftermarket remote starter installed on the car. Help me rephrase the question if needed.

There was one connected and it’s been the ONLY way the car has been able to start.

The OP and the responders have been talking about two different things.
One is a switch with alligator clips put in by a mechanic working alone so he can start the car from under the hood.

The other is a remote start device permanently wired into the car with a remote control so you can start the car form inside your house.

So, the question is, which of those devices is the mechanic using to start your car?

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What happens when you try to start the engine? You didn’t tell us.

The switch as mentioned and pictured above.

Maybe I am missing something but this doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to solve.

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My recommendation is to find a shop that specializes in automotive electrical systems (not to be confused with an audio shop) and let them take a look. This should be pretty simple to solve by someone who has access to the schematics and wiring diagrams (two different things) and the expertise to use them properly.

The mechanic’s switch bypasses the ignition cylinder START circuitry. A shop that specializes in electrical circuits can determine where the “open” is. It might be in your steering column (ignition key cylinder) or even a relay. Or someplace else.

Sincere best of luck.

Oh, has anyone bothered to check the fuses?


I’m not sure about the fuses but I’ll be sure to ask tomorrow. Thanks for the advice. Seems to be the most logical thing to do.

It only makes a “click” noise when the key is turned.

You have towed this car from shop to shop for certified technicians to inspect and have doubts about them checking the power supply/fuses? How much have you paid in diagnostic work?

If the relay clicks when you turn the key an the mechanic can start it with a jumper to the solenoid, it seems to me like the problem has to be the relay or the wire or connections between the relay and the solenoid.

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Any good reputable shop should have no problem solving this. This is a very common problem. It’s a mechanics 101 subject. Any professional mechanic should be able to solve it. If none of the mechanics you’ve taken it to can solve it, take it to another shop.

If you’ve told them you don’t have much money, they may be saying not that they can’t solve it, but they can’t solve it for the money you have to spend, so no use doing the diagnosis to figure it out. Perhaps that’s what’s happning. Have you told them you only want a low cost solution? B/c a good mechanic can solve it, but the solution may not necessarily be low cost.

If I had this problem myself, first thing I"d do to diagnose the cause is measure the voltage at the two terminals on the starter motor (SM terminal to case) during attempted cranking. For ideas how to solve it, suggest you tell us: What are those two measurements on your car? Ask your shop to make the measurements for you; unless you are very knowledgeable about shop work, know the safety procedures, and have all the proper equipment, don’t attempt this yourself.

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No I never asked for low cost. I commute a hour, both ways, to work so I never cut corners when it comes to car repairs.