Engine won't even crank? Start with a battery check

  • Article by: PAUL BRAND
  • Updated: August 26, 2011 - 4:01 PM

Q My '06 Malibu does not start. When I turn the key, the engine clicks -- nothing else. If I hold the key in the start position, it clicks once every second or so. The engine and security lights show as normal when the key is at start, as well as the oil and battery lights. The security light never flashes. The battery connections are clean, and my multimeter reads 12.22 volts with the key off. A scan tool pulled up a P1682 fault code. A Chevrolet dealer told me the problem is either a bad passlock sensor or body control module (BCM).

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enonormanAug. 27, 11 6:52 AM

06 Malibu does not start, Need a little more information, does the car ever start and if so under what conditions???? A quick and easy check is to check the battery voltage while attempting to crank. If the voltage remains high it is a connection concern, if it drops off to very low it is the battery. You can make a quick check by just observing the brightness of the head lights while attempting to crank.

enonormanAug. 27, 11 6:54 AM

...2010 Chevy Tahoe with 15,000 miles .. I would check for contamination of the MAF Mass air flow sensor. The result of the contamination may appear in the status of the oxygen sensor, but this is just a symptom and not the cause of the drive concern. When the hot wire becomes contaminated it will not respond to changes in air flow, and it will not set a code. A simple test is to disconnect the MAF and compare the throttle response while disconnected. When the PCM sees an open circuit it will use either last known good value, a fixed base value, or substitute using inputs from other sensors to make the calculations. It might be slightly less responsive and the idle might be slightly higher but the hesitation should be gone. As for the warranty, ONLY PCM power train control module and the catalytic converter are covered for 8-80K. The other components are covered under the base warranty

enonormanAug. 27, 11 6:55 AM

....................................2000 Chevy Impala.... these older vehicles do not use tire inflation monitor for the traction assist and ABS brakes. In most cases they don't even have that function. The most likely cause would be a wheel speed sensor, with either a weak, low output signal, or an improper frequency signal. If this is intermittent, I would suspect an amplitude concern, but if always happening I would suspect a frequency concern or a dead sensor. I have found that just the air gap can cause the concern of low amplitude output. Also if you have had a brake failure, metal to metal before a repair, metal debris might be shorting out wheel speed sensor as it is simply a magnet and wire windings and a moving armature. To determine which sensor is at fault the best test is to have a scan tool that can monitor frequency and amplitude read out of each sensor. If you can read more than one channel at a time you can compare two signals at a given speed and the the shop manual will tell you the range of the frequency variation that will set a code or trigger a function. As for amplitude, compare at a given speed the voltage output of each sensor and look for a low reading. Some lap tops have a program which will give you a dual trace oscilloscope and you can compare both frequency and amplitude of the sensors at a given road speed. A qualified shop can make the diagnoses and repair, it might be expensive but cheaper than new tires that you might not need.

doc716Aug. 27, 11 8:19 AM

the 2010 chev tahoe is a flex fuel vehicle. the ethanol should have nothing to do with the problem. Take the vehicle to Brookdale chev and they will have you running. The vehicle is under warranty and should not cost anything to fix.

tahoedriverAug. 30, 11 5:15 PM

Re: 2010 Tahoe that runs rough. I am the owner of the vehicle, and brought it back to the same dealer 3 days before I saw Paul's response & these posts. They again did the same procedures as previously done, and said nothing was wrong. The hesitation upon accelerating from a stop has ceased, and it idled smoother the first few days of driving, but I'm already noticing that it's starting to idle a little rough again. I'll dig into this deeper with another dealer. Thanks, Paul for your quick response, and thanks to both the other two people who gave me feedback - I appreciate it!

smarterthanuAug. 30, 11 5:17 PM

No Sea Foam recipes this week?

donotbugmeSep. 2, 1112:58 PM

No Sea Foam in this week's column, so no recipe. I'm confident another opportunity will occur soon.

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