Turn key and nothing happens


#1

My 2005 Ford Focus just came out of the shop getting the alternator replaced. Driving down the road it just died. The car still has power, Lights, interior lights, all that stuff is on. I turn the key and nothing. Any thoughts


#2

If you turn the key and there is no sound, not even a clicking sound, then it may be the starter. The click would be the starter solenoid.


#3

If the car was already running and it just died could it really be the starter? I am also being told it could be the voltage regulator.


#4

The voltage regulator is built-in to the alternator. I’m leaning towards a bad ignition switch.


#5

It doesn’t make sense to me how it could be the ignition switch or the starter if it was already running. I was also told the car has California emissions and the alternator could be 130V. I was told by my mechanic the car takes a 110V alternator. Could the alternator actually be 130V?


#6

It’s called “no-crank” by mechanics. When you turn the key from “on” to “start” several parts all have to work in order that the engine cranks and starts running.

  • Battery and connections
  • Ignition switch
  • Neutral safety switch (automatic) or clutch safety switch (manual)
  • Starter relay (if used)
  • Starter solenoid
  • Starter motor
  • The ECM is usually involved in the process, so that must be working too.

So something is amiss in one or more of the above parts. Since you had the alternator replaced, it is possible the battery connections weren’t properly cleaned and tightened during that job. That’s probably worth asking your mechanic to try. If not that, the quickest way to find out what’s wrong is to ask your mechanic to measure the voltage at both terminals of the starter motor during attempted cranking. If both are 10.5 volts or more, and it doesn’t crank, replace the starter motor. If one or more is less than 10.5 volts, work backwards from there to find out why.

It’s also possible the replacement alternator isn’t working, so when you drove the car the battery discharged. It’s possible other stuff could work even if the battery was discharged enough to prevent the car from running, as it doesn’t require much power from the battery for the dome light or the radio.


#7

Battery connections are the first place to begin when you have a “No start” 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 http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/kd-tools-terminal-battery-brush-kdt201/25980576-P?searchTerm=terminal+brush.
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!!!

Yosemite