Strange issue with a 2001 Saturn L200 that I purchased

So its kind of unusual but here it goes. My roommate purchased a 2001 Saturn L200 roughly 5 months ago from a private party. When he looked at the car the interior and exterior of the vehicle was in great shape, it had only 90,000 miles on it and seemed to be taken care of. He drove the car around and it ran perfectly. He bought the car for $1200 and drove it back to our house. When he got to the house and parked it he tried starting it and nothing happened. He then let it sit for 5 months and was going to just leave it on the street to be towed so I bought it from him for $200. There is a new battery, new starter, new battery cables, I have checked all of the ground wires and connection ports to the starter and it all seems to function fine. The weird thing is when you turn the ignition key there is no sound what so ever, it doesn’t turn over. But when you climb under the vehicle and bypass the solenoid on the starter with a screwdriver by connecting the hot and cold ports on the starter, the vehicle starts right up and runs perfectly! I know this model has a security problem but all of the research I have done seems to show that the security light on the dash will be illuminated when this occurs and that light is not illuminated. I have checked all of the fuses and tested all of them as well. The only thing I was able to notice was that the port labeled “BCM 2” is receiving no power. Does anyone know who the significance of this is and if this could be the issue? All suggestions are welcome.

You only have 200 in the car now, why not have it towed to a good repair garage and pay about 100.00 to find out what is wrong. Even if you put a 1000.00 in it you can still come out ahead or at least drive your money out of it.

yeah thats a good point, the only issue is where I am located, the cheapest tow company will charge roughly $400. I wanted to get this vehicle so I could actually learn a little about repairs and get a little time under my belt working on cars. If that is the last option I will do it, I’m just worried the Auto shop will assume one thing, then I fix the thing they thought, and that turns out not to be the issue.

If the dash powers up normally when you turn the key, but then no crank, I’d suspect the neutral safety switch.

Could the security light that you mention, be burned out .

But then I don’t think you would have power to the ignition and you wouldn’t be able to jump across the terminals and it start.

I agree with @insightful…neutral safety switch.


thats what I had thought I’ve had one ordered and will install in a few days. If I bypass the solenoid will I still be able to start the vehicle if the neutral safety switch is faulty?

Sorry Mr. @insightful; I didn’t mean that you were a neutral type of guy, on the fence dispassionate, and uncaring!!!


If you put a jumper wire in the plug to the neutral safety switch that should tell you if that is the problem.

Another idea, measure the voltages at both terminals of the starter motor during attempted cranking. They should both measure 10.5 volts or more, terminal to starter motor case.

Let us know what that measurement is for each terminal.