Starter going bad

On my newly purchased 2003 chevy impala i believe my starter is going out. Outside of turning the key and nothing happens how does a mechanic test or verify its the starter?

A voltage test at the starter, then a voltage drop test at the starter would tell.

I’d first remove and clean the battery terminals and posts and recharge the battery. If suddenly you have no power when turning the key…corrosion at the cables could be the problem.
I’d also take the battery down to the parts store and have them test it under load.

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!!!


Well took it to the dealership I bought it at this morning. They said they did a full check of the battery and the starter, cleaning the cables and checking all connections and found nothing wrong. They started the car about 15 times and each time it started. They don’t believe it’s the starter or the battery. They suggested it’s something maybe in the inginition switch and recommeded taking to their chevy dealership on the other side of town which I have an appointment with on friday. It did sound a bit different when I got in the car and started it up, sounded cleaner if that makes any sense and started all three times I had to start the car going from the dealership to work. So not sure what’s next.

Usually an amp draw test is performed on the starter while attempting to crank the engine over. If the amp draw exceeds the specifications for the starter, either the starter is worn or there’s a problem with the engine.


they said the amp test was perfect and was where it should be.

Maybe there’s a problem with the neutral safety switch; a.k.a. a range selector switch.

Do the dashboard warning lights illuminate when there’s a no-start?

Nope the dashboard goes dark. I was looking on line and there was stuff back a few years about the security system which was failing and causing the car NOT to start. Still investigating this possible issue.

A failed security system would still allow the indicators on the dash to light up when the key is turned on. Every car I’ve worked on with security module issues usually have a flashing security light when you try to start it. A dark dash means no power is getting to it. This could be an intermittent connection problem from the battery or fuse panel or bad ignition switch for the most common issues.

If it wasn’t cranking consistently, and now it is, I’d assume the battery terminal cleaning job the shop did is what fixed it. No-crank’s can often be remedied completely by doing that alone.

Assuming the battery is good and the cable connections are clean, maybe there’s a problem with the junction terminal which I assume the 2000 era Impalas use just liike many other GM vehicles.
A poor connection there can lead to everything not working or blinking out the second the key is turned.

There should be a heavy lead from the battery positive terminal to the starter motor and a smaller lead from the battery positive terminal to a junction located nearby. All electrical power except the starter motor goes through that junction and so does the starter solenoid power.

My son thought there was an issue with the security system on his Camaro (VATS or PassKey) one time as it would do nothing and the problem was nothing more than a poor junction terminal connection.
I even had a similar problem with a SAAB while on vacation once. Checked into a hotel in Colorado, walked out, and nothing; dead as the proverbial doornail. A poor junction terminal connection as they use the same methodogy GM does. Like the Camaro, a less than 5 minute fix.

I have figured out what is the issue. It’s a glitch in the security system. I was reading online yesterday that this seems to be a problem with this model. The cars security system thinks you are trying to steal it so it shuts down. This morning I went out and actually used the key to open my trunk and the alarm system went crazy. I then went to try the car and nothing. I was told by the dealership to let it sit for 10 minutes then it should reset. Well from what I had read that doesn’t work and it didn’t for me either. HOWEVER, by using the radio where you can reset the code lights and such (I found that out when my low tire presure light was on) you can turn your security system to “off”. Which I did and the car started right up. Dealership said there would be no damage to the car driving it that way but that your car could be stolen without the security system on. I have insurance…I can risk that…I need my car to start and run. Still taking it in to see if they can solve this issue on friday, but from what I have read they can’t or havint been able to.