• Chevy Malibu 09

  • Low on coolant (still visible in the tank so not entirely out)

  • Belts are fine-Never overheated.


One day it didn't start (don't remember it cranking) but then it started right after.

Second day, it happened a couple of times and had a harder time but yet started and worked fine.

Third day, it would not start and hasn't started since.

I bought new battery terminals, had a used battery that had 56% so I took it back and got another used one. Nothing happened. (The radio also was able to stay on for a few days when it wasn't running and now it doesn't turn on at all)

Can it be the key as well?

The Owners Manual said that it may have a feature named "PASS-Key+ Electronic immobilizer". It uses a radio frequency transponder in the key that matches a decoder in the vehicle. The cover of my key broke off so I was scared the chip would fall and needed something to hold my other keys so I wrap Electrical Tape around it so the chip wouldn't fall out. That's around the time I started encountering the problems. Maybe the black electric tape messed up the radio frequency somehow?

I also reconnected the back speakers (that came with the car, no subs) prior to any of this. Owner Manuel also mentions "The engine is designed to work with the electronics in the vehicle. If you add electrical parts or accessories you could change the way the engine operates"

Or how do I know if the key is just too worn out?

I know it may be the starter but I want that to be my last option since I'm a broke college student. It also can't be jump started. Tried with the old battery and new.

  • 1
    What is the security light doing?
    – vini_i
    Jun 22, 2016 at 0:05
  • 5
    I proposed to edit out the "PLEASE READ" in your title. That tends to annoy people more than it attracts useful attention. Jun 22, 2016 at 0:45
  • Does the engine crank? Is the Security light on in the message center?
    – Ben
    Jun 23, 2016 at 1:35

1 Answer 1


When this happens, the first thing to do is buy a Voltmeter. Test the battery (or lug it to the autostore where they can test it for free.) If you have the correct battery and the battery is resting at 12.6 V.

The next thing to look at are the terminals and posts. Are they clean, if not buy a wire brush, baking soda wear kitchen gloves or get some nirile gloves and MOST importantly safety glasses that are close fitting to your face..... clean the heck out of anything that looks soiled. Dry with rag. Reattach and make sure you can't wiggle them at all.

Step 3: It's not the battery or connections. So, when you put the key in, does it show a "key" icon or other icon on the dash? Use google to see if it's supposed to when it recognizes the key.

Step 4: If it's not the key, is there a humming or a click when you turn the key? Open the hood, have someone turn the key all the way on listen for any sound from the starter.

Step 5: Tap (Not bang and not pet) the starter with a hammer a lot and test the starter.

Step 6: remove the starter and have autostore test it for free.

Step 7: Buy a new starter, because it was definitely your starter in the first place. Old batteries will wear out your starter and/or your alternator and cost you more money than buying a new battery would. Plus, a new battery will have a 2-5 year replacement warrantee, even at "Stuff mart." Get the right battery and remember if it's chugging at start.... you don't have enough voltage and you're killing your starter.

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