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Old 01-14-2013, 11:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Battery / Starter / something else?

Hi, I hope I got the right subforum. A few days ago my car started having issues starting. I'd turn the key (lights come on, everything appears normal) but the engine doesn't attempt to turn over. I don't hear any clicks. I try this 1 - 3 times and it eventually starts right up without me changing anything. The battery is less than a year old. It seems to happen after sitting for several hours like while I'm at work. I don't seem to have an issue if I just turned if off within 2 hours or so. Anything I can check?

2003 Mazda 6i automatic trans, 4 cyl
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by chelcwallace View Post
Hi, I hope I got the right subforum. A few days ago my car started having issues starting. I'd turn the key (lights come on, everything appears normal) but the engine doesn't attempt to turn over. I don't hear any clicks. I try this 1 - 3 times and it eventually starts right up without me changing anything. The battery is less than a year old. It seems to happen after sitting for several hours like while I'm at work. I don't seem to have an issue if I just turned if off within 2 hours or so. Anything I can check?

2003 Mazda 6i automatic trans, 4 cyl
Check that your battery terminals are clean and tight - this solve it most times. If not it could be the starter solenoid.
Good luck,
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Mine did something similar. It just wouldn't start one night and then it was fine. I can link you to my thread, but I'm not sure how much help it would be as we never figured out what was wrong.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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^^ ++ on Canyon's input!
When it does work, does it Crank & Start on its own or do you have to jump it or take some other action?

With a helper and hand held volt meter (DMM) you can quickly make some headway. Do you have access to a DMM? If not you can buy them for less than 20 dollars at most any store these days.

Get this info and report back:
Battery voltage across the + & - terminals:
Battery voltage from engine block to starter 12V+ lead (Follow from battery).

With a helper:
Have them turn the key and repeat the above test.
Battery voltage across the + & - terminals:
Battery voltage from engine block to starter 12V+ lead (Follow from battery).

When it does not crank bu the key is turned, also measure the voltage on the smaller terminal next to the battery cable at the starter. It should measure near battery voltage .i.e. 11.5vdc. If it measures LOW, or zero, there is no signal to the starter to engage the starter (tell it to operate).

If there is battery voltage present .i.e. 11.5Vdc or thereabouts AND the BIG terminal on the starter has 12+vdc, then the starter is bad. Specifically the solenoid in this case.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks so much guys! I'll check this out and see

Answer to your question: it starts on its own after a couple tries. I haven't had to get a jump or anything.

Last edited by chelcwallace; 01-14-2013 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I checked it this morning - the terminals are pretty solid. I couldn't move them at all. They seem pretty tight. They looked a little dirty, but nothing absurd. Last night, I noticed it DID click when it wouldn't start. It did this about 4 times. This morning, I had no issue starting it. ? I don't seem to have a volt meter, thought I did. Does the clicking change the scenario at all?
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:46 AM   #7 (permalink)
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^^ Likely starter solenoid. The starter motor does the work of turning the engine over. The starter solenoid is big electro magnet with contact switches to transfer energy from the battery to the starter motor.

- you turn key, energy goes to the solenoid.
- the energy creates an electromagnetic field in the solenoid.
- the solenoids magnet pulls a slide which will engauge the starters driver gear.
- as the slide reaches its destination, contact is made to transfer energy from the battery to the starter motor.
- as the motor begins to power up (spin), the slide have moved the bendix outward connecting the starter drive gear to the flywheel.
- if the battery has sufficient energy, the engine turns over.


* yours is "**Likely**" broken at the solenoid. The magnet moves the slide but NO electrical contact is made to power the starter motor and turn the engine over. With a Hand Held DMM, this can be proven so you know where to spend your money. Oh - as I know it there are plastic parts inside the starter motor that break and hang up the solenoid. So you may end up getting a whole new starter before all is said and done.
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Old 10-31-2013, 04:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Sorry for the late late update - but it was the ignition coil. Replacing it cost me about 200ish from a friend in the field. A non-friend repair shop quoted me $600.
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Old 11-04-2013, 09:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You state that the battery is fairly new (less than a year old) - but just for grins have you replaced it and see if the symptoms still reside?

I had a similar problem - replaced the battery (albeit mine was 3+ years old), problem went away never to return.
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:17 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chelcwallace View Post
Sorry for the late late update - but it was the ignition coil. Replacing it cost me about 200ish from a friend in the field. A non-friend repair shop quoted me $600.
9 months!!

Ignition coil. Hmm - your car does have one. Did this cure some other driveability complaint? Ignition coils and stater solenoids rarely overlap in fault modes. One doesn't let you start it, the other doesn't allow it to keep running. Very likely some minor fault was corrected along the way.

Glad that fixed it for you!
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