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Looking at a car that won't start.

 
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Old 27 Oct 2017, 11:46 am
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Default Looking at a car that won't start.

Hypothetically, if you wanted to look at a car that did not start, but did have lights, what would you check? I know fuses, and wiring, but I feel certain the seller would have checked those. I know there can be a fail with the gears - if the car is not all the way in neutral? - other than making sure the car is in neutral, how would you test that? I had a thread with a similar issue, but it was electrical and I simply had to undo something I did. It seems harder to not have an actual starting place. Thoughts?
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Old 27 Oct 2017, 11:53 am
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Default Re: Looking at a car that won't start.

Can you hear the starter solenoid "clicking"?? Sometimes a loose battery cable
or ground will allow lights to work, but not supply enough current to engage the starter properly...
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Old 27 Oct 2017, 11:55 am
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Default Re: Looking at a car that won't start.

does it not crank? if so, i'd guess they hooked the battery up backwards and fried a fusible link.

after verifying it was in neutral and the parking brake was on, i would set the key to the run position and attempt to start it by shorting the solenoid on the starter.

no way in hell i'd bring it home without getting it to start unless they wanted $200 or less for the car. this would be so i could scrap it and recover the amount paid if there were big issues discovered when i got it home.
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Old 27 Oct 2017, 12:05 pm
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Default Re: Looking at a car that won't start.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dream1 View Post
Hypothetically, if you wanted to look at a car that did not start, but did have lights, what would you check? I know fuses, and wiring, but I feel certain the seller would have checked those. I know there can be a fail with the gears - if the car is not all the way in neutral? - other than making sure the car is in neutral, how would you test that? I had a thread with a similar issue, but it was electrical and I simply had to undo something I did. It seems harder to not have an actual starting place. Thoughts?
I would see if it atleast cranks, if it's got a dead timing belt it would still crank. Check for spark, check battery voltage. Check the starter. If you can quickly figure out the issue, do not tell the seller, he may ask for more money or decide to keep it. My two cents though
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Old 27 Oct 2017, 12:07 pm
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Default Re: Looking at a car that won't start.

Thanks Rob, that was a second question - value of a car you can't start. It is advertised as a personal owner - but the pictures seem to be a lot, so I don't know how much liberty I would have. The thought of towing a big question mark home is a little troubling.
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Old 27 Oct 2017, 12:21 pm
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Default Re: Looking at a car that won't start.

More information is needed.

What year?

Automatic or stick?

Mileage?

Condition of the Pt Cruiser can give you an idea if the seller has kept the engine in good condition or not.

With information including the above will help you determine what might be wrong with it. First thing I would do is hook up the OBDII Scan Tool and find out what codes are being triggered.
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Old 27 Oct 2017, 12:55 pm
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Default Re: Looking at a car that won't start.

2007, 150,000 miles, automatic. Pictures look clean, but again, I'm not sure of the ownership. In going back, I had not read correctly and it is at a lot. They do state it is not the starter.
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Old 27 Oct 2017, 04:22 pm
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Default Re: Looking at a car that won't start.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dream1 View Post
2007, 150,000 miles, automatic. Pictures look clean, but again, I'm not sure of the ownership. In going back, I had not read correctly and it is at a lot. They do state it is not the starter.
If it is at a lot they might be able to give you a history on the Pt Cruiser. With 150,000 miles on it if the timing belt has not been changed on it I wouldn't buy it unless you know how to replace the timing belt. The cost of having someone replace the timing belt can be expensive making it not worth buying.
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Last edited by ptcruisersteve; 27 Oct 2017 at 04:26 pm.
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Old 27 Oct 2017, 04:25 pm
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Default Re: Looking at a car that won't start.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dream1 View Post
2007, 150,000 miles, automatic. Pictures look clean, but again, I'm not sure of the ownership. In going back, I had not read correctly and it is at a lot. They do state it is not the starter.
See if it cranks.

A timing belt could make it that far and snap.

Would be cheap fix if you can do the work yourself
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Old 27 Oct 2017, 10:06 pm
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Default Re: Looking at a car that won't start.

Thanks guys. I also wondered about the timing belt. After reading a recent thread about changing the timing belt I thought it might be a good practice run before my daughters' needs to be changed. All that being said, I would like a deal like Rob suggested, but I'm not sure they would.

I also wondered about the camshaft sensor - but am guessing I can only check that by jacking up the car? I'm trying to decide how serious I am before I actually contact the seller - but I wanted to see if I could suss out what they should have looked at. They did state it could be ignition or electrical, but ignition seems easy enough to fix and get a much better price.


I also know from experience it could be a fairly simple (2 days and PTcruisersteve holding my hand) wiring issue.

Last edited by Dream1; 27 Oct 2017 at 10:18 pm.
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