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2003 Kia Pregio Diesel Van just purchased 1 week ago. Owner claimed no problems. Just did an oil change.

Yesterday when I turned the key to start, the starter motor did not engage. No sound, I just hear one faint click as soon as I turn the key, then engine dash lights turn off, but nothing happens. After roughly 5 attempts the, 5th time engine started with no problems.

Today the same thing happened, although on the 4th attempt, the starter motor made a weak attempt to turn the motor over, acting like it did not have enough battery. After that it started without problems.

I'm guessing it is the starter solenoid is this correct?

Edit:

Thank you all for answers! OK so one said to check some things and edit/update this post, here it is: In the last week this problem did not arise, until today the car would not start over perhaps 50 turns of the ignition!

I uploaded a video to show what happens: https://youtu.be/K1vBdoX2D50

the squeeking sound is from depressing the clutch, not anything with the starter. When I turn the key, you can faintly hear a click from somewhere in the engine compartment, but nothing else happens. After 50 tries, it started without problem!

I checked the battery connections and voltage, both OK.

I also checked all the fuses. All looked OK, but many fuse spots in the cabin fuse box have no fuse in them, I am trying to track down if I am perhaps missing a fuse altogether? But I don't believe this would cause an intermittant problem.

It appears it is some wiring connection, somehow is not sending current to the starter motor. I don't know, where should I look next?

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    Starter motor solenoid contacts seem a likely culprit; here are instructions for cleaning them (dunno what vehicle those pics are for but idea is the same, you might want to try this first if you have the time). Check your wiring before you pull the starter although loose connections seem unlikely if you're getting a click every time, unless the wiring is damaged in such a way that maybe it's intermittently not delivering enough current to the starter or something. – Jason C Jul 18 '16 at 7:54
  • @JasonC if it was the solenoid, shouldn't the starter at least attempt to run, making a sound? – I have no idea what I'm doing Jul 18 '16 at 9:09
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    I would start with battery connections. make sure the connections are good and clean. make sure your grounds are good. – rpmerf Jul 18 '16 at 11:55
  • @IhavenoideawhatI'mdoing The internet talks about clicking starters with bad solenoids all over the place. I'd imagine the click could be the solenoid itself attempting to close the motor power contacts and failing to do so for whatever reason. And dirty / corroded contacts could cause a functioning solenoid to have no / poor effect other than the noise it makes when it hits the contacts. This mentions it too. – Jason C Jul 18 '16 at 13:05
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    @IhavenoideawhatI'mdoing also not that a solenoid requires very little amperage to function and thus may still work fine with a bad connection/corrosion issues. It is 100% true that there may be nothing wrong with the solenoid. – kyle_engineer Jul 18 '16 at 22:12
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Check a few things:

  1. Battery Voltage - Should be 12V (absolute minimum) to 14.5V (general maximum). I guarantee that you're not high charge, but low charge could be an issue. Test the battery with the key in the OFF position and ACC position separately to check for draw/short issues.

  2. Connections - Make sure your battery terminals are corral in free. Even if they're clean, a light scuffing with 80-120 Grit sand paper is always OK. The main spot where I've run into issues is where the negative contacts the body. Make sure it's totally clean and firmly tight.

Check this 2 points and update your post. If either of those resolve the issue, let us know. If not, we'll be able to help you better.

And finally, welcome! :)

  • No problem. I hope you get everything resolved. – kyle_engineer Jul 27 '16 at 6:02
  • Thanks, I updated the main post, what do you think it is? – Drawninpictures Jul 27 '16 at 6:03
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Almost certainly a bad battery connection or positive connection at the starter.

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