So, here's the deal:

-No lights, no noise, no clicking.
-Battery voltage reads fine on multimeter. Terminals are very clean and not corroded.
-But it won't jump start.
-Headlights turn on.
-Fuses are fine.

I have googled myself into frustration, and am mystified. Any help would be appreciated.

It's a 2005 Pontiac Sunfire.
I tried to start it this morning and it cranked just like normal for a millisecond before going completely dead. No inside/ouside lights. I took the battery out on the suggestion of a mechanic and apparently the problem could be that my usual many small trips have caused the battery to drain. It's currently getting charged. Do you guys think this could be the cause of the problem? The battery IS actually due for a charge.

  • Are you saying that when you turn the ignition on you get no lights at all?
    – HandyHowie
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 7:09
  • That's whats happening this morning. Absolutely dead: no headlights, no dash lights.
    – Rachael
    Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 18:12

3 Answers 3


Sounds like a bad ignition switch for the following reasons:

  • It could be an incomplete starter motor circuit, but this will not explain why the dashboard lights are not turning on, which indicates that the ignition switch is not going into the 'On' position.

  • Independent of the starter motor, the fuel pump relay should also "click" when the key in the ignition is turned to the 'On' position:

    • If it "clicks", I would suspect the starter motor relay
    • If it doesn't, this indicates the break in the ciruit is further upstream, i.e. the ignition switch.
  • The vehicle isn't jump-starting, so this would indicate that the starter motor circuit is not being completed.

  • The headlights are independent of the ignition switch position, so that's why they turn on.


You say 'no lights' but also say that the headlights work - I presume therefore you mean that there are no lights on the dashboard? This would point towards a problem with the ignition switch circuits, in that turning the key has no effect - do any of the other electronics work? radio etc?

  • 1
    Correct, the dash lights do not work. Edit: This morning I tried to start it again. Everything flashed and cranked for a millisecond, then everything went dead. Lights, noise, headlights, everything.
    – Rachael
    Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 18:11

I had a similar problem on a 2001 Ford Taurus and after checking the battery, attempting to jump the vehicle and checking the alternator I decided the next place to check was the starter. It took me about 45 minutes or so to switch out but as soon as I did it started right up. You can rent different diagnostic tools from most auto parts stores, that helps sometimes...sometimes.

  • Read over too quick and forgot about the lights being out. Ignition switch is a better place to start. Too early in the morning! Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 19:17

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