Pontiac Grand Am

We have a 99 grand am- v6, 103k miles. It’s a fab car and is in great shape. Except for one small thing, “baby”, as my daughter calls her, wont always start. We put an alternator in her the first weekend we got baby. She ran like a top. But sometimes, more often than not lately, she doesnt always want to start. All the gauges work when the key is turned, but she will not engage. It does not sound as if the starter is even trying to work. Baby never does this on a cold start, its usually after we have reached our destination and return to go home. So far after a few attempts, she will start. Maybe she doesnt like our house…anyway, we played with the keys once the car was started hoping to make her “act up”. Then I would have guessed ignition switch. Im wondering if she may have a lose wire on the starter? Any other suggestions would be most appreciated. “Baby” is sitting in the drive and has not been driven much to my daughters dismay because we cant count on getting home. I dont want to walk!

First Baby with troubles in IL,


Probably time for a new starter.

An out of adjustment Neutral Safety switch could cause this. Occasionally my 1995 Dodge Dakota would not start in Park, after I would shift to Neutral the truck would start right up. When this happened, the starter would not engage or turn.

Another possibility is that the starter has a “dead spot”. This happened on my boss’s old Taurus. About 1 of 3 attempts the car would not start. The fix was replacing the starter. The starter on my 2000 Blazer started acting up at the 100k mark last year. An independent mechanic should be able to figure out the problem.

The next time this happens try starting the Grand Am in Neutral. Don’t forget to keep your foot on the brake pedal.

Good luck,

Ed B.

Did not think about trying to start it in neutral. I will remember that when she acts up again. I think that I will simply change the starter and see what happens as that is my hunch.

Thanks for the info Ed

Grab “babys” battery cables by hand near the battery and try to move them sideways. If you can get any movement, remove, clean, and tighten them with a 5/16 wrench. These GM side terminal cables are notorious for poor connections.

Checked them when we changed the alternator. But, if all the gauges work, could it still be the battery cables?
Latest problem- the ABS on/off, trac low lights keep coming on and off. What gives with this car? Im beginning to think that I should just sell it before its too late and find another.