2001 Saturn SL2



December, 20, 2012 AT 8:21 PM

I have a Saturn with an automatic transmission, that is having intermittent starting problems. (Yes, I have made sure it's all the way in park when I try to start it.) The battery was replaced a couple of weeks ago. The old battery just wouldn't take a charge anymore. The battery cabels are bolted tight to the battery and look clean. The alternator has been tested and is fine. The starter was replaced about a year ago and hasn't had any trouble starting the car. When the car actually starts.

So this all started after the old battery was replaced. It doesn't matter what time of day it is, how cold or hot it is, or how long I wait. Sometimes when I try to start the car, all I get is a click. The radio, lights, heater, all turn on and none of my radio stations get reset like they would if it was a bad/dead battery.

So I try turning the key anywhere between 1 and 20 times, getting nothing but a click. Suddenly, I'll try one more time, and the car will start up strong like nothing is, or ever was, wrong. It stays on fine, and drives fine. I'll shut it off and sometimes it will start right back up again and sometimes I have to try it over and over again.

I've noticed that the steering column is loose and that my wife's key doesn't turn in the ignition switch unless I wiggle the key and steering column while applying a light amount of pressure to get the key to turn.

My thought is that it's the ignition switch only because the steering column is loose and my wife's key doesn't turn in the keyhole vary easily. Also, both keys are warn down A LOT, and can be pulled out while the car is still running. I tried to have a new key made for it, but it's like its not the right key for the car. I guess my only concern is, if its the ignition switch, why would this problem start when I put the new battery in? Coincidence?

Also, I have heard about the little wire to the starter and the neutral safty switch both being a potential problem but in those instances, it seems like the car does not start at all. My car starts, just not every time.


2 Answers



December, 20, 2012 AT 11:12 PM

It sounds like a dead spot in the armature of the starter motor. Even though it is a year old, it sounds bad. Once it gets past the dead spot, it starts.

I would start there




December, 22, 2012 AT 2:17 AM

Just to add to this I doubt its the ignition switch haven't seen many of them do that. Get a multi meter at the ignition switch when it doesn't start see if the yellow wire coming out of the ignition has power?If it does then its not the switch. Then there is two purple wires at the neutral safety switch with the key in the start position both those wires should have power with the key in the start position? Also at the starter there is a little purple wire going to the starter should have power with the key in the start position?

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