Odd problem - need your suggestions

#1

I have a 2002 Buick Century with about 124K miles. Runs good but every once in a while when I turn the ignition key nothing happens. Its as though the battery has died, but all lights and warnings work. I discovered by accident that if I get out of the car, wait a few seconds, get back in and close the door, the car starts. I have taken it to a GM dealer but they were not able to find anything wrong with it. As I mentioned this happens infrequently - may go a week or two between incidents, but I am concerned that sometime it just won’t start. Any ideas?

#2

If you mean that you do not hear a starter solenoid “click” sound when the key is turned and the dashboard warning lights are on, then you may have a faulty neutral safety switch.

When this occurs again, shift the transmission into neutral and see if it starts. If it does, you know the neutral switch is the problem.
No idea why the dealer has not mentioned this since a neutral switch is the first suspect with a problem like this and it’s not a rare thing to occur with any make of car.
Another less likely suspect would be the electrical part of the ignition switch.
Hope that helps.

#3

“Stepping out of vehicle” momentarily should not be construed as a solution. It probably is related to the fact that slamming the door twice creates sufficient vibration that it either jars a loose wire connection, or the solenoid itself. The former is more likely. Check the wires both to battery, starter/solenoid and to the alternator. Verify engine isnt very heated up when this “intermittent” problem occurs. If it is, then your solenoid is too hot from the engine. Finally, replace the solenoid and/or starter combination. Before you do so, you can have the starter/solenoid “bench-tested” at most popular auto parts chains and they will advise you on a scale of how it performed.

#4

I agree, I had the same problem with a 95 Dodge Dakota. I never got around to fixing since it was easy enough to shift into neutral to start.

Ed B.