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I haven't driven my car in about a week, and when I went to try and start it today, it would not start. It has enough battery to play the radio and whatnot, so I'm not sure if it's a battery related issue.

When I turn the key to start the car, the check engine light flashes as it's being turned, and the engine produces a sound similar to a machine gun.

Incase my description isn't good enough, here's a video of what happens when I attempt to start it.

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2  
Why the down vote? –  Larry May 18 '13 at 20:06
    
I have the same exact problem with my '05 Chevy Cobalt and was wondering if you ever found a solution? By the way im also a il resident located in will county il near Chicago. Any response would be greatly appreciated. Randy –  user3652 Sep 6 '13 at 22:48
    
@Randy Yes, the issue was that the battery did indeed go bad, and switching it out for a new one fixed all my problems. –  Josh Foskett Sep 9 '13 at 6:32

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Definitely just insufficient current to run the starter motor. What happens (causing the flashing/clicking) is that when you turn the key, the starter relay/solenoid switches on, and the starter motor pulls all the available current, dropping the battery voltage extremely low. It can no longer power the relay, so the relay springs back and the load (starter motor) is removed from the battery, voltage returns to normal, and the whole cycle starts over again.

As for the root cause, it could just be a bad battery, or an accessory left on that drained your battery, or a weak/dead alternator that's not sufficiently recharging your battery when you drive the vehicle. But to get it started, a jump start or battery charger should suffice. Then you can begin tracking down the cause of the problem.

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My first thought is battery dead, or a poor connection at the battery. What happens to the dome light while you are trying to crank it?

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It flashes, similar to how the check engine light does when turning the key. –  Josh Foskett May 18 '13 at 20:38
1  
@JoshFoskett definitely a battery issue either dead or a loose connection –  Larry May 18 '13 at 21:25

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