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Author: ushats Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 71394  
Subject: car won't start Date: 3/16/2013 8:56 AM
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My 17 yr old son has a 2003 mazda protege with 120,000 miles. yesterday he went to play basketball and the car won't start when he was ready to return. he tried to jump start it but says that failed. so left his car and got a ride home

he says the radio and lights come on but nothing happens when he turns the key.

he drives it to school and back and to gym and a little bit around town- not too much.The battery is about 3 yrs old. it passed inspection in oct.
Before I tow it to the mechanic, i want to know the possibilities.
If the most likely thing is the battery, i will tow it Sam's club and get a new battery.

My son says for about a mth, it was giving him trouble to start ( never mentioned it to me!!)does that mean it is the battery?

during the last visit to the mechanic i was told the radiator needed to be changed. but since i didn't see any leak and no sign of the car heating up , i decided to wait. $450 was the cost to replace and i had spent a lot on this car- serpentine belt, timing belt, a tube that was leaking and the usual tires, break pads. son was heading to college this fall and thought it will work until then. Now this.
please advice
usha
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Author: GeeBeeNC Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 69907 of 71394
Subject: Re: car won't start Date: 3/16/2013 12:03 PM
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Mazdas of this era are known for ignition switch weight fatigue. This phenomenon is caused by too much weight on the key ring pulling down on the ignition switch thus causing no continuity. Try wiggling the key to see if it starts. If so, replace the switch and then lightening your key rings to prevent recurrence.

Since he says nothing happens when he turns the key this diagnosis is likely. The other probable cause is a loose battery cable, likely the connection at the starter.

ON the radiator issue. Does it have a plastic top that was black but is now a OD green? If so you should get it changed soon as a catastrophic failure is possible and a leak in the near future is likely. If your son didn't mention the starting difficulty he may neglect "slight" overheating,

GeeB

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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 69908 of 71394
Subject: Re: car won't start Date: 3/16/2013 2:21 PM
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The symptoms you describe are classical dirty battery terminals. (But it should have started with jumper cables.)

Dirty terminals happen due to dirt and corrosion. Removing cables from the battery and sandpapering or wire brushing the battery posts (and the inside of the cable clamps where they contact the posts) is the usual repair.

Resistance is such that lights and buzzers work ok when you get in the car, but everything dies when you turn the key to activate the starter motor (and relay). Relay click but no turnover of the engine is common.

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Author: TMFTwitty Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 69910 of 71394
Subject: Re: car won't start Date: 3/16/2013 3:26 PM
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he says the radio and lights come on but nothing happens when he turns the key.

Could be anything from the switch to starter solenoid. Not enough info to suggest where. GB sounds like he has the best grip on it absent further information. I'd do the key wiggle, and if no joy, inspect the battery connections. From there I'd check for power to the starter when the switch is turned to start. If there is power, it's the starter motor or solenoid. If not, it's probably either the ignition switch or neutral safety switch (prevents starting in gear.)

Richard

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Author: wecoguy Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 69912 of 71394
Subject: Re: car won't start Date: 3/16/2013 5:40 PM
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You need a reliable mechanic/tech to take a look, it could be anything from a marginal alternator to corrosion to the battery, the ignition switch or even the starter itself..

Olden days of generators a loose fan belt or bad brushes were as often as not the problem.

But with 3 years on the battery, likely little or no maintenance, it's the weak link... Find a good one, Interstate out here is tops in my book, swap it out, likely resolve it in no time...

I just paid my mechanic a decent pot of dollars to catch my son's car up on neglected maintenance, after it got to spewing oil everywhere.. But it was worthwhile of my mechanic wouldn't have gone for it. I trust the guy that much.. A bit of a shock, but there's no way my son could afford it, we could, done deal..

Hopefully just the battery.. Good luck!

weco

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Author: Milligram46 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 69913 of 71394
Subject: Re: car won't start Date: 3/16/2013 6:39 PM
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Mazdas of this era are known for ignition switch weight fatigue. This phenomenon is caused by too much weight on the key ring pulling down on the ignition switch thus causing no continuity. Try wiggling the key to see if it starts. If so, replace the switch and then lightening your key rings to prevent recurrence.

Since he says nothing happens when he turns the key this diagnosis is likely. The other probable cause is a loose battery cable, likely the connection at the starter.

ON the radiator issue. Does it have a plastic top that was black but is now a OD green? If so you should get it changed soon as a catastrophic failure is possible and a leak in the near future is likely. If your son didn't mention the starting difficulty he may neglect "slight" overheating,

GeeB


This guess my vote.

But I'll co with another obvious possibility not mentioned for $200 Alex.

Are you 100% sure the car is in park? If the shifter is just slightly off - or not in park, it's not going to start (this only applies to automatics, but so few people drive manuals these days...)

If the lights and radio work and the lights are nice and full and bright I doubt it is a battery/charging system issue. If you turn the key and NOTHING happens, I go with ignition switch or it's not in park (or more sinister problems after that). If the engine cranks (turns over) put doesn't start, it is either a spark or fuel problem.

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Author: ushats Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 69914 of 71394
Subject: Re: car won't start Date: 3/18/2013 8:59 PM
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Thanks for all the responses.
My son's friend's dad tried to jump start it and couldn't. called the towing company and he couldn't start it and he said it is the starter.
It was towed to the mechanic. The towing guy called me afterwards and said he got it to start but feels the starter still needs to be changed

Mon the mechanic called me and said the car starts without difficulty. he tried multiple times during the course of the day and it always started.
he said he could not say what the cause is since he can't reproduce it.

this evening , after work, drove it home.

keeping my fingers crossed.

Plan to clean the battery terminals , may be even change it.

told my son to debulk his key chain.

will update

thanks again

will get the radiator fixed- nothing is green
usha

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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 69915 of 71394
Subject: Re: car won't start Date: 3/18/2013 10:57 PM
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There are people who talk of having a few chipped teeth on the starter gear or its mating gear. Then if the engine stops in the wrong place, starter turns but cannot turn over the engine.

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Author: TMFTwitty Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 69916 of 71394
Subject: Re: car won't start Date: 3/18/2013 11:56 PM
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There are people who talk of having a few chipped teeth on the starter gear or its mating gear. Then if the engine stops in the wrong place, starter turns but cannot turn over the engine.

That's true, but then you would hear the motor overspinning. More often it's a dirty spot on the motor commutator that prevents power from reaching the motor windings.

Richard

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Author: ToddTruby Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 69917 of 71394
Subject: Re: car won't start Date: 3/19/2013 7:08 AM
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If it happens again, try tapping on the starter motor while someone turns the key to the start position. Be carful because lots of things start moving.

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