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Old 08-12-2012, 01:10 AM
 
Location: Gilbert, AZ
164 posts, read 397,331 times
Reputation: 171

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Hopefully this won't get too long, but I need some ideas on what might be going on with one of my cars. I'll try to summarize as best as possible without writing a novel.....

The vehicle is a 2005 Chevy Impala with ~90K miles on it and is located in the Phoenix area (exposed to brutal summer heat). I've owned the vehicle for 3 years, all routine maintenance is always done. Here's the problem:

A year ago one night out of the blue the car would not start at all. No cranking over, no nothing, but all lights worked just fine so I assumed it was the battery (in the heat of a Phoenix summer that's the normal way a battery fails.) By the time a friend got there to jump start the car in 1/2 hour, it started just fine without a jump. Took it to the shop the next morning, they tested the battery and it was fine. They also checked out the starter and ignition switch and found those to be fine as well. They tried to force a failure but were unable to replicate the issue at all, and the problem seemed to vanish and didn't repeat.

Keeping in mind that that was a year ago almost to the day, fast-forward to about 2 weeks ago. The problem has re-appeared and is occurring every 3 or 4 days. Nothing but a click, but wait 15-20 minutes and everything is fine. The battery was replaced about a month ago so it's a known good battery.

I'm planning on taking it in first thing Monday morning, but since the problem couldn't be diagnosed last year does anyone have any ideas/suggestions as to what to look for? I'm the first to admit I'm not a "car person"......

Thanks!
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Old 08-12-2012, 03:14 AM
 
20,328 posts, read 16,609,173 times
Reputation: 14428
Intermittent problems can be tough, connect a code reader to the cars OBD2 connector and see if the car is displaying any trouble codes..
As the battery was changed a month ago i'll assume the battery terminals are clean so i would check the negative battery connection at the opposite end from the battery terminal to make sure theres no corrosion, another problem could be the shifter, next time the car doesnt start giggle the shifter as there are safety features that prevent the car from starting in gear,they maybe worn or out of synch.
Another problem could be the safety lockout switch on the brake pedal which has to be depressed before the car will start,if the switch is defective you could experience intermittent no start.
Next area i'd check is the ignition switch but as said before if the problem is intermittent its going to be tough to pin it down.
Next time the car dont start hold the ignition key in the start position and try to giggle the whole assembly if the car starts while you are doing this then fix the ignition switch, do the same for the brake pedal hold the ignition key to start and pump the bake pedal half a dozen times,
Then do the same for the gear shift lever,ignition on start move the shifter around.
One other thing you might try is if its at night and the car dont start lift the hood and have some one check for sparks coming from the engine bay as it may lead you to the problem area.
Failing these DIY steps your options are limited to a mechanics intervention..
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Old 08-12-2012, 07:15 AM
 
2,737 posts, read 1,157,411 times
Reputation: 1785
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristineF View Post
Hopefully this won't get too long, but I need some ideas on what might be going on with one of my cars. I'll try to summarize as best as possible without writing a novel.....

The vehicle is a 2005 Chevy Impala with ~90K miles on it and is located in the Phoenix area (exposed to brutal summer heat). I've owned the vehicle for 3 years, all routine maintenance is always done. Here's the problem:

A year ago one night out of the blue the car would not start at all. No cranking over, no nothing, but all lights worked just fine so I assumed it was the battery (in the heat of a Phoenix summer that's the normal way a battery fails.) By the time a friend got there to jump start the car in 1/2 hour, it started just fine without a jump. Took it to the shop the next morning, they tested the battery and it was fine. They also checked out the starter and ignition switch and found those to be fine as well. They tried to force a failure but were unable to replicate the issue at all, and the problem seemed to vanish and didn't repeat.

Keeping in mind that that was a year ago almost to the day, fast-forward to about 2 weeks ago. The problem has re-appeared and is occurring every 3 or 4 days. Nothing but a click, but wait 15-20 minutes and everything is fine. The battery was replaced about a month ago so it's a known good battery.

I'm planning on taking it in first thing Monday morning, but since the problem couldn't be diagnosed last year does anyone have any ideas/suggestions as to what to look for? I'm the first to admit I'm not a "car person"......

Thanks!
If you're getting a "click" when you try to start the car, but nothing else, you probably have a starter solenoid going bad on your car.

It will increase in frequency before total failure.

The only cure is to replace the starter.
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:32 AM
Status: "My ride is here" (set 10 days ago)
 
Location: The Plains
6,067 posts, read 5,250,147 times
Reputation: 4284
I had an Impala the would not start occasionally. It turned out the the security system. Some GM cars have the part fail on them . A service Tech told me to turn the key to the on position for about ten minutes to let the system reset itself. eventually the part had to be replaced. $300.00
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Old 08-13-2012, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
525 posts, read 837,342 times
Reputation: 348
Quote:
Originally Posted by thriftylefty View Post
I had an Impala the would not start occasionally. It turned out the the security system. Some GM cars have the part fail on them . A service Tech told me to turn the key to the on position for about ten minutes to let the system reset itself. eventually the part had to be replaced. $300.00
Yep. On the '00-'05 Impalas, the ignition switch is a weak point. I went through this exact thing with my '00 Impala. Replace the switch and your problems will be over. Until then, when it happens that your car won't start, like thriftylefty said, turn the key on and let it sit for about 10 minutes until the Security light stops flashing. Then turn the key off and then try to start the car again.
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:22 PM
 
3,188 posts, read 1,724,490 times
Reputation: 1818
I thought GM said years ago that they were not going to build junk anymore...Guess that was just a sales promotion because they continued to build junk....This kind of problem should NEVER happen. who knows what kind of bugs are built into the electrical system...GM doesnt either
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:35 PM
 
Location: Utah
4,378 posts, read 8,624,731 times
Reputation: 3818
Quote:
Originally Posted by thriftylefty View Post
I had an Impala the would not start occasionally. It turned out the the security system. Some GM cars have the part fail on them . A service Tech told me to turn the key to the on position for about ten minutes to let the system reset itself. eventually the part had to be replaced. $300.00
My dad's Malibu had the same problem.
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:41 PM
Status: "The Union forever! Down with the traitors." (set 18 days ago)
 
13,669 posts, read 17,522,791 times
Reputation: 11856
Quote:
Originally Posted by crestliner View Post
I thought GM said years ago that they were not going to build junk anymore...Guess that was just a sales promotion because they continued to build junk....This kind of problem should NEVER happen. who knows what kind of bugs are built into the electrical system...GM doesnt either
Oh no, an 8 year old car has a minor ignition problem, say it aint so.

2005 Camry won't start, won't crank - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/in...8062122AAR3lqZ
http://answers.edmunds.com/question-...rt-113529.aspx
http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/10...-replaced.html
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Old 08-13-2012, 07:30 PM
 
Location: Gilbert, AZ
164 posts, read 397,331 times
Reputation: 171
The verdict is in...... it was the security system.

Thanks for the help everyone!
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Old 08-13-2012, 07:30 PM
 
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
525 posts, read 837,342 times
Reputation: 348
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
Oh no, an 8 year old car has a minor ignition problem, say it aint so.
No kidding. Everyone puts Toyota and Honda so high on a pedestal that even a 15 year-old copy could never have any issues at all!
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