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Can't get my PT Cruiser to start, lights/radio work, no sound is made when "starting"

 
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Old 03 Jun 2014, 12:37 am
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Exclamation Can't get my PT Cruiser to start, lights/radio work, no sound is made when "starting"

Hello all,

I'm sorry if this is in the wrong place, but I really need help finding out what's wrong with my PT Cruiser. I've read other posts on here and been googling for a couple of days, but there are so many "posibilities" and I'm not that car Savvy, so I need some serious help. Basically, we don't have heaps of money, so I can't afford to just take it to a dealership/mechanic and find out what's wrong, but I can definitely try testing stuff if you guys want to give me stuff to test. Actually to be honest, as long is there a Youtube video that can show it to me, I can do it.

So, here's what happened, we were pulling out of our apartment complex and nothing was wrong at all, then when we pressed the break before turning onto the main road, the engine died. The dash lights were still on and so were the headlights when this happened. Once this happened we tried to turn the car on again, nothing happened. We "turned it off", key out and everything, waited a few moments and then attempted to put the key in and turn the car on, but nothing happens with the engine, no sound or anything. The dash lights do come on and normal radio sounds, etc, but when you try to turn the car on, nothing happens at all.

It doesn't make a noise, no clicking or anything, just silence.

---I'm going crazy trying to figure this out. A lot of folks on the internet say it's the timing belt, the car is at about 105k miles, but how do I check to see if it's the timing belt? (I absolutely cannot afford to replace this at about $1,000, I just don't have the money. However, we need this car running, so please let this be the last resort or an easy test to know for sure would be great)


---Next I've read about the Camshaft Position Sensor possibly causing problems like this. I saw a tutorial on Youtube on how to replace it, which seems fairly simple. Here's the question though, how do I know if it's bad to begin with? I can't afford to just buy random parts and try replacing them, but this would be great if it was the problem, because I can afford a $60 part and do it myself.


---I've also read in multiple different places, it definitely sounds electrical and it could be different fuses or a bad wire? What fuses should I be checking for something like this and how exactly do I check them for sure?


---Then someone mentioned that it sounded like battery grounding and to check it, but I'm extremely car illiterate, how do I do this? It said that there could be enough power making it through to power radio/lights/headlights, but not enough for an engine start.

---Lastly, I've also read that it sounds like a PCM problem, but I should see an error code or something after multiple attempts to start it showing in the odometer area, I don't see this. I just see the mileage and all the other dash lights on. Is there a way to test this somehow? I know that's around $900, right? or is that if it's the PCM and the other....some other part I read, I don't remember, so much reading the last couple of days.


This is a 2004 PT Cruiser, base model, no turbo. I just replaced the battery last year when the other died on me and even just to be safe I had someone attempt to jump me off yesterday, nothing happens when I do this. Luckily we were able to get it back into a parking spot at the complex, but any and all help would be appreciated. If you have ideas of what it could be and idiot proof instructions on how to test it or a video that shows it, that'd be great. Also, is there a way to get an error code from a pt cruiser without taking it to a dealership or something? I saw in some youtube videos that they just pop up when someone attempts to start them, but mine doesn't do that.

Also, again I know nothing about cars, but the break pedal won't even go down now, someone told me it's probably just air in the break lines, but I wanted to mention it. The only thing that this car has had problems with in the past is the AC. It works fine when driving, but when you're idling at a stop light or something it makes the car shake a little and the ac just shoots out heat, so I always turn it off when at a stop sign. I believe when I researched that a few years ago it was a "low pressure switch"? Super cheap item, but hard to replace on your own, so I figured I'd deal with it and just be careful.


Anyways, sorry for the long post, I just wanted to completely explain everything, this is super frustrating and we do have another car, but in our house we have 3 people with jobs, so we have to get this fixed.

Thanks!

Last edited by loraliromance; 03 Jun 2014 at 05:33 am.
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Old 03 Jun 2014, 01:48 am
JDB JDB is offline
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Join Date: May 2014
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Default Re: Can't get my PT Cruiser to start, lights/radio work, no sound is made when "start

Sorry to hear about your trouble. It IS aggravating to mess with these electronics...even if you are mechanically inclined. ;~)

There IS a simple test. It's called doing the key dance. Your little cruiser has an on board diagnostics system that you can access. The first thing to do is get a piece of paper and pen to write down the codes you get.

Just put the key in and turn it to the on position. Then turn it like you are going to start it...but NOT to the spring loaded place where it would normally crank over. It's like that little two position place in between taking the key out and when it cranks over. On and Acc I think they're called.

ANYway, turn it from on...which is back toward you but not to where you can take the key out...forward toward the windshield to acc, then back to on, then forward to acc then back to on and then forward to acc a third time and leave it there. So that's from the rearward on position to the forward acc position 3 times and leave it on acc the third time. You need to do it pretty quickly....like in less than 5 seconds.

Just 3 quick flicks of the wrist. ;~)

Now look at your odometer. If you did it correctly, a series of dashes, ------, will appear where the mileage was. And then it will show one or more 4 or 5 digit codes. Write those codes down and post them. And if you miss one, don't worry. Just take the key out and start over. It will throw the codes again. And it can be kind of fiddling to get right, so just keep at it. It can take a few tries, but get them all and post them here.

Someone will know what they all mean. There is actually a sticky called Error Codes above where you just posted that tells all this and what they all mean. But I'm guessin' that they won't mean much to you since you say this stuff is all Greek to ya anyway. ;~)

So just post um and someone will have suggestions how to proceed.
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Old 03 Jun 2014, 05:25 am
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Join Date: Jun 2014
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Default Re: Can't get my PT Cruiser to start, lights/radio work, no sound is made when "start

Hi,

thank you so much for your reply. I've tried so hard to do this and I Just cannot get it to work right. I've tried it multiple ways, but all i can get is the odometer to show the mileage.

For me, these are the key options I have.

1. Put in
2. I can twist backwards for accessories, radio, etc
3. If I put key in and twist forward once, I get nothing, no lights, etc, but the can't pop out, so I figured this was supposed to be my starting point
4. I feel like I can feel one more notch in there after the previous one, but the car shows no signs of life at this either (I did try flicking between this and the previous notch, which was hard, because it's so close, but nothing)
5. Twist forward three times and it's in the position where the dash lights come on, but in that "position" if I twist it forward there isn't another "click", but I do feel the spring loaded position.

I tried swapping from key in to dash lights 3 times fast, did this multiple times, nothing happens.
I tried from first forward notch to dash lights 3 times fast
I tried from first forward notch to 2nd forward notch where there is still no light on the dash 3 times, nothing happens
I even attempted to go from the 1st backwards notch forward, but seeing as you said you don't want to go far enough back to release the key, that's one before that, so it didn't seem right.

Nothing happens at all, if I don't go to the setting where the dash lights appear and if I do, it's just the odometer and then the check engine light pops on, disappears and after about 30 seconds, the check light comes back on and so does the airbag light.

I feel like it's possible I'm doing it wrong, but I just spent 20 minutes trying different methods, nothing changes the odometer.

I'm starting to feel tweaked, I'd feel so much "relief" just getting an error code to start off with.

Last edited by loraliromance; 03 Jun 2014 at 05:29 am.
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Old 03 Jun 2014, 05:51 am
quicksilverdon's Avatar
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Default Re: Can't get my PT Cruiser to start, lights/radio work, no sound is made when "start

First off, it's not your timing belt, because your starter would work with a broken timing belt.
I think it is either your starter or ignition switch.
Try pushing in on the key when you try to start. Reposition the tilt steering wheel and try to start. Until you get starter to turn, you are not going anywhere.
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Old 03 Jun 2014, 06:29 am
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Default Re: Can't get my PT Cruiser to start, lights/radio work, no sound is made when "start

Hey there,

thank you for your reply as well. We actually tried this earlier today, pushing the key in as much as we could and moving the steering wheel up and down it never actually started.

That makes me happy to hear it might possibly not be the timing belt, it's had me worried.
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Old 03 Jun 2014, 06:31 am
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Default Re: Can't get my PT Cruiser to start, lights/radio work, no sound is made when "start

Next is to get jumper cables and go direct to starter lugs and see if starter tries to turn with 12V directly applied.
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nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
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'05 Limited Turbo Lite, (Silver, of course)4-wheel ABS, Sunroof, Spoiler. Mods: E&G Classic grill, K&N FIPK, BTG duals, rear lowered 1.5", LED washer lights, $20 catch can, Aoogah horn, Weatherflectors, Sunroof Deflector, Fuzzy Dice, rear logo flames, rear pinstripe graphic, Gen3 Taillights, rear sway bar, hood struts, Strut bar.
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Old 03 Jun 2014, 07:29 am
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Default Re: Can't get my PT Cruiser to start, lights/radio work, no sound is made when "start

Sorry, I'm not the best with stuff like this, do you mean just directly connecting the jumper cables to the battery terminal, or?

If you mean like...a separate area for the starter lugs, where is that located and how would I apply the cables?
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Old 03 Jun 2014, 07:31 am
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Default Re: Can't get my PT Cruiser to start, lights/radio work, no sound is made when "start

Quote:
Originally Posted by quicksilverdon View Post
Next is to get jumper cables and go direct to starter lugs and see if starter tries to turn with 12V directly applied.
just a heads up, make sure you know what you're doing if you try this. the positive needs to go to the proper terminal and the negative is the starter case/engine block/etc, not a terminal. you can do more damage if you do this wrong. if you don't understand what you're doing, best way to rule out the starter is to remove it from the car and have them test it for you at the parts store.

then again, since it died while driving, i'd really doubt it's the starter

Last edited by rob342; 03 Jun 2014 at 07:39 am.
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Old 03 Jun 2014, 07:46 am
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Default Re: Can't get my PT Cruiser to start, lights/radio work, no sound is made when "start

Quote:
Originally Posted by loraliromance View Post
So, here's what happened, we were pulling out of our apartment complex and nothing was wrong at all, then when we pressed the break before turning onto the main road, the engine died.

The dash lights do come on and normal radio sounds, etc, but when you try to turn the car on, nothing happens at all.

It doesn't make a noise, no clicking or anything, just silence.

it definitely sounds electrical and it could be different fuses or a bad wire? What fuses should I be checking for something like this and how exactly do I check them for sure?
do you have a multimeter? you can pick one up cheap and it can check the fuses as well as the wiring. it's a good tool to have.

the fuses under the hood are the ones you should be checking, but it's hard to tell if they're blown by looking at them. it's not easy to see the wire inside. i'd agree with you that it's either wiring, a fuse, or the ignition switch. you can take the ignition switch out carefully disassemble and clean it.

does the key feel normal when you turn it?

Last edited by rob342; 03 Jun 2014 at 07:50 am.
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Old 03 Jun 2014, 09:51 am
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Default Re: Can't get my PT Cruiser to start, lights/radio work, no sound is made when "start

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob342 View Post
do you have a multimeter? you can pick one up cheap and it can check the fuses as well as the wiring. it's a good tool to have.

the fuses under the hood are the ones you should be checking, but it's hard to tell if they're blown by looking at them. it's not easy to see the wire inside. i'd agree with you that it's either wiring, a fuse, or the ignition switch. you can take the ignition switch out carefully disassemble and clean it.

does the key feel normal when you turn it?
The key does feel normal, except for the car not starting. I picked up a circuit tester today for something my dad suggested checking out. Is that kind of the same thing? If not I can hunt down a multimeter.

To check a fuse, do I just kinda take each one out and touch it with the multimeter? Lastly, where would I locate the ignition switch and is there a specific way to clean it?

I'm up for trying all of this. I feel like it's not the timing belt for sure, because it's just like...the car feels as nothings wrong, it's just feels like the car isn't saying "hey car it's time to turn on", I mean no resistance or anything key turning is as normal as if I was cranking it, it just never does anything at all.

I agree that I didn't really think it was the starter, because it just stopped while I was driving and I've never had any odd starting issues or really long time to get it to catch when starting, quick key turn and it's on, no resistance normally.

Thank you so much for your help, I tried to check out fuses earlier, but all of the layouts I found with fuses that I should be checking for this issue seemed to be on later model PT Cruisers and the fuse box looks so different.
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