Non-Starter

October 9th, 2008 by Editor B

Again this morning with the non-starting car. I think this is the second time since I wrote about this problem back in January. Plenty of power, but no engine action. We both tried it repeatedly. Xy was about to get a ride to work with our neighbor Debra when she asked me, “Did you try cocking the wheel left and right?” I hadn’t, so I tried it, and then she started right up. Coincidence? Or could there be a connection?

Sometimes the car won’t let go of the damn key when you shut it down. Could that be related in some way?

At a frequency of about four times a year, this problem is the very definition of intermittent.

Speaking of possibly related symptoms, I’ve been feeling like I’m fighting some kind of a bug for about a month now, off and on. Yesterday I started feeling a sore throat, and today it’s slightly worse. So I’m taking it easy, trying to rest up and stay hydrated and eat plenty of the good chicken soup Xy whipped up last night.

7 Responses to “Non-Starter”

  1. HK Says:

    I’ve heard this issue discussed before on Click and Clack (on NPR). You might go to their site — I think you can search for answers that were previously given. Or you can post your issue on a blog on their site.
    I barely know which end to put the gas in, but I think this has to do with something going wrong in the mechanism where the key is inserted. I hesitate to call that piece the “starter” because that’s probably the wrong name for it……….

    Hope you can extract at least something somewhat useful from this ramble.

    -HK

  2. liz Says:

    do you have a saturn? i had the key locking issue with my ’98 saturn sl2. my mechanic suggested squirting some of the graphite powder into the key slot. that did seem to take care of that part of the problem. the other issue….well, we have a new car.

  3. David Says:

    A lot of GM cars have a safety feature that prevents their starting if the steering is extremely in one direction or another.

  4. katie Says:

    In my brother’s old mazda millenia – it was some sort of security feature. the car would not start if the steering wheel was “locked.”

    turning it all the way one way or the other would usually unlock it and you could start it right up.

    strange but true

  5. Lee Says:

    The GM family of automobiles has a history with these problems. My truck sometimes won’t let go of the key until you press the button on the gearshift a few times.

    One time this wouldn’t do the trick, and the whole ignition assembly had to be replaced.

  6. Clay Says:

    Cars have an interlock between the steering wheel and the ignition switch. It is meant to keep the wheel from turning if the key is not turned in the ignition. Sounds like some part has worn or a spring came loose.

    Find the part that’s busted (probably a plastic piece that’s popped off), find an equivalent part in a junkyard, and swap it out. That’s the best route if you want to get it fixed.

    Had to do something similar with my door handle:
    http://noladishu.blogspot.com/2008/09/fixing-tomato.html

  7. b.rox » Blog Archive » Non-Starter Says:

    […] morning the car wouldn’t start again. Only three weeks since the last time. Cocking the wheel didn’t help. Nothing helped. I waited about five or ten minutes, and it […]

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