2003 Pontiac Vibe


August, 2, 2012 AT 4:24 PM

Hi All,

Working on wife's 2003 Pontiac Vibe automatic. Been running the car all till and got home. Everything working perfectly. Come out the next day car won't start.

Upon entering key and turning to position ON lights come up, dashboard comes up, radio works and locks work, as expected. Turn to position ignition and car does not turn the motor over.

I do hear a rear fuel pump noise in the rear pressuring the fuel system which is normal in ignition position.

A friend recommended moving the shifter from Park to D and then to Park. We did that is the car started up fine. Thinking we had it slightly out of park figured it was our fault. Ran it all day including several stops not a single problem.

The next day exact same problem. I have verified the shifter is in Park and have tried the trick many times without getting a turn over. Also when turning key to ignition and place shifter in Park I do hear relays click as if the Park sensor is possibly working.

Any ideas?


10 Answers



August, 2, 2012 AT 4:28 PM

Sounds like a bad starter so when you turn the key to the start position are the dash lights still all bright?Also do you have a multimeter to do some testing?


August, 2, 2012 AT 4:31 PM

Yes they all light up bright and like normal. Yes I do have a multimeter.



August, 2, 2012 AT 4:40 PM

Alright when it wont start see if the small purple at the starter has battery voltage when the key is in the start position?If so and the large positive cable has battery voltage going to it and all the battery cable ends are clean and tight etc bad starter.


August, 5, 2012 AT 7:13 PM

I used a multimeter to check the two leads on the solenoid.

When the key is in the ON position I read 12V with my multimeter on the contacts. When the key is in the Start/Ignition my multimeter reads 0V. I assume voltage is running through the solenoid/motor rather than my multimeter. Currently thinking the starter is bad.

Also I did not find the purple wire you mention. I do find a black wire on the solenoid that looks like a sending unit or maybe part of a relay circuit.



August, 5, 2012 AT 8:37 PM

Iam sorry I got you the wrong color wire the smaller black wire should have power when the key is in the start position. The black wire with a red stripe should have power all the time. Also do you have factory antitheft?If so is your security light on solid or flashing when it doesnt start?


August, 5, 2012 AT 10:35 PM

No problem, when the car is in start/ignition position the black wire has 12V on it. Also when the car is in ignition position the motor side of the solenoid has 12V on it too but no start/turn over.

I went ahead and took the starter off and had it tested at AutoZone out of curiosity. The starter checked out fine.

The car does have a factory antitheft. When the car is locked up the security LED is solid red. Upon unlocking the LED turns off. During ignition the LED remains off.

Also I want to clarify something you asked earlier and I replied to.

Q: when you turn the key to the start position are the dash lights still all bright?

A: I was looking at it carefully. When the key is in the on position the dashboard and radio turn on. When the key is set in the ignition position the dashboard goes black except for the low fuel light (which we know about). Wonder if this helps you any.

Also checked ground by doing a continuity check on the starter base and the negative side of the battery. After scraping some dust/grime of the starter I did get a solid continuity so I don't think ground is an issue.



August, 5, 2012 AT 10:49 PM

The small black wire is getting power when key is in the start position that tells me that the ignition switch selector switch etc is working. Also you got 12 volts at the positive battery cable and the starter tests good. The only thing left is you have a bad connection somewhere. When you check for a good ground put the volt meter on dc volts. Then put the red lead of the meter to the postive battey post. Then put the black lead to the engine block. What does it read?Also do the same thing while trying to start the car what is the voltage reading?Now what is the voltage reading across the battery posts at the battery?


August, 5, 2012 AT 11:05 PM

Across Battery while starting: 12.26V
Positive Terminal of battery to engine block while off: 12.26V
Positive Terminal of battery to engine attempting to start: 11.70V

Still thinking there is something odd with the starter.


August, 6, 2012 AT 5:47 PM

After reading everything I went ahead and short circuit the starter again. It did nothing this time. So I took it off and bought a replacement.

Autozone did another starter test and this time it failed? Either way the car starts great now.



August, 7, 2012 AT 12:21 AM

It looked like a bad starter but you said it tested good so thats why I suspected a bad connection. Glad to hear you got it fixed though.

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