Warm Starting

Help! After driving my car and then running a quick errand (stopping for 2-10 minutes), my car (2002 Saturn SL will not re-start. Nothing. Waiting another 30 minutes, and everything starts normally. What could be wrong? It seems fine in every other respect. Problem started about a month ago. I’m fine as long as the car stays shut off for at least an hour.

Does “nothing” mean simply that the engine will not start as a result of the starter motor turning the engine over?
Does “nothing” mean that you don’t even hear the starter motor turning when you turn the ignition key?

Nothing means no sound at all. Thanks for helping me clarify.

More than likely a starter. What condition is the battery? Are the battery terminals clean and tight.

Sounds like the starter solenoid might be getting heat soaked and the winding opening up.
To diagnose it, see if there’s voltage at the starter terminals when it’s exhibiting the symptom. If there is, I’d bet that you need a new starter. If there isn’t you want to consider changing the starter relay in the relay box under the hood. Anything with a winding is subject to becoming heat sensitive when it gets old, and relays have windings.

Check your battery cable connections out too. You might have a corroded connection that’s interacting with the heat.

Oh, and if you have a heat shield missing around the manifold, you might want to replace that while you’re fixing the car.

Battery is older but tested just fine yet and cables are not corroded. Naturally, that was the first thing I suspected and checked. Other starter problems seem like good possibilities. Thanks.

The next time you go to start the engine and nothing happens, step on the brake pedal and shift the transmission into neutral and then try starting the engine. If the engine starts there’s a problem with the park/neutral/transmission range switch.


It sounds like a starter or neutral safety switch problem to me also.