I WENT INTO THE STORE THE OTHER DAY AND WHEN I ...
1999 Cadillac Deville
November, 13, 2012 AT 3:48 AM
I went into the store the other day and when I came out and tried to start my 1999 Deville it was dead. No cranking, no dash lights, no anything. I had to get jumped and it started right up with one turn of the key. The next day Pep Boys checked my charging system and they said the alternator was fine but the battery seemed weak. It was only 10 months old, so they replaced it under warranty. The next morning, I went to start the car and it was dead again. I turned the key back to the original position and tried again. The key seemed to go forward a little further than before (maybe it was my imagination) and the car started right up. I know nothing about cars, but since then, I have been revving up the engine before turning the car off hoping the battery will have enough charge for the next time I try to start the car. The car has started the last 5-6 tries with no problems. Any ideas what might be wrong? I have a feeling it won't be long before I get stuck somewhere and will need a jump again.
Actually the goal is to get it to not start so there is something to find while troubleshooting it. Any testing must be done while the problem is occurring. GM has had a lot of trouble with their generators since the '87 model year, but your description of the problem doesn't suggest an intermittent charging system problem. It's more likely, since no dash lights were working, then suddenly everything was fine, there is an intermittent electrical connection not directly related to the starting system. In particular, look in the under-hood fuse box for a large bolted-in fuse and / or a smaller red positive battery cable bolted to it. Be sure those nuts are tight. Follow the smaller black negative battery wire to where it bolts to the body and be sure that is tight and not rusted.
Also look at the battery cable clamps. Those should not be a problem now that they put a new battery in, but it's not something to overlook.
The next time this happens, release the ignition switch to the "run" position and turn on the head lights so some current is trying to leave the battery. Start at the battery and carefully wiggle the cables in various places while watching for the head lights to come on. Do not just tug and poke wildly on stuff. The goal is to see exactly what affects the problem, and you might see a small spark when you irritate the cause.