Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Starting Problems with a 1997 Buick LeSabre LTD

A good friend of mine gave me a car a while back when he saw i was in need. By most accounts, its a pretty good car, kinda crappy gas mileage, but a good car. except one issue: sometimes, not all the time (there is absolutely no pattern to it), ill put the key in the ignition, turn it, i’ll get a buzzing sound, all the power will still come on, but the car wont start. and ill leave it alone, sometimes it takes two minutes, sometimes it takes thirty, but itll always start eventually. heres what weve tried so far:

-replacing starter cylanoid

-replacing battery terminals and cables

-replacing air filter, fuel filter

-replacing Idle Air Control (i think thats it, i dont know too much about cars)

Does anybody have any idea what the prob could be? I need to take it to a mechanic but I thought I would try this before I started spending a ton of money at some shop. feel free to post on here or email me with suggestions at I appeciate it alot

more info needed. does it do anything? meaning does the starter engage or not? if not it could be something as simple as the shift linkage out of adjustment, meaning it may read it is in park but it actually is not. it could be a neutral safety switch, ignition switch, if it turns over but does not start then there are numerous things to consider

What happens when you trun the key and the car doesn’t start? Does it crank over and not start, does it just do nothing at all, or does it try to start but never catch?

You have accuratly describe a problem with the starter being inhibited from operating due to a problem with the PassLock security system (even though you say “won’t start” I interpet that to mean “won’t crank”)

My 2006 Caravan has the same issue. After pulling the starter 3 times and having the parts store test it (it tested fine) and buying a new one just to stay sane. I realized that the washer that is the transition from the battery cable to the starter was severely corroded. This is why (duh!) it always worked fine at the parts store. I work long hours and have kids so the only time I can work on the car is about every 3rd or 4th weekend. I managed to limp by a few weeks by occasionally pushing and pulling on wire to the starter which caused the washer to rotate on the connecting bolt and knocking enough corrosion off to get a good contact. Eventually I pulled the nut off, filled off all the corrosion and reattached. I suspect that this is going to become part of my maintenance schedule due to the dis-similar metals of the washer and bolt encouraging the corrosion.

Good Luck!