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I have a 2008 Buick LaCrosse with 190000 miles. Fairly well maintained.

Lately I’ve been having trouble starting it sporadically with seemingly no specific thing causing it.

First - the symptoms: It has been turned off for some amount of time between 20 minutes and 8 hours or longer, and when I go to start it, it won’t start. The way it won’t start is that it keeps trying to turn over, but won’t. Eventually, after doing a bunch of mostly useless things - (hitting the battery with my shoe, slamming the hood, opening the oil tank and looking around furiously) - I’ll try and start it and it will start.

I have a new battery, newish (and tested) alternator, and recent oil change, fluid top off, etc. I recently had it looked at, and though some other work was done, they could find no cause for this issue.

The thing I realized today that seems like it will fix it at least somewhat consistently is if I press the brake for a couple seconds and then release while simultaneously letting go of the key in the ignition - in other words, not turning it off, but no longer turning it forward. This has worked at least twice before, and I have a feeling that this or something like it has worked more often than that.

It’s weird - this happens maybe as much as once a week, and as little as once a month - for 3-6 months now.

Thoughts?

Addendum: Regarding the request for additional info.

I would say first off that there is no correlation between starting and engine temp. What prompted me writing this was having it happen after being in the store for 30 minutes or so. But I've also had it happen after being at work a full day. I believe that this problem has started this winter (I live in Michigan so that could be as much as 6 months) or late summer. So we could say it has happened primarily in cold outdoor temperatures, but I wouldn't say that the car's temperature at the time of occurence has been a factor.

One factor that I have all but ruled out is having it be related to the gas pump somehow. Why I even investigated this is that I filled the tank once, and it wouldn't start afterwards (an example of how quickly it can happen). That time I restarted it by pressing the gas to the floor as I turned the ignition. However, this problem has not repeated after multiple full tanks; and additionally, this method of starting the engine hasn't worked again.

I would have to check it to be exact, but my battery voltage runs between 12.9 and 14+ depending on how long it's been off. Again - it's a new battery.

I've recently had a great deal of work done on the car, but other than replacing the oil pan, nothing that I can imagine would've touched anything with the starter or engine.

The only other thing that might be worth noting is that the car stalls once in a blue moon. It will stall for no reason with no commonality between instances that I am aware of. Only one time after this happened did I have trouble restarting it (trouble as described in this post - nothing special or different). I always attributed this to old age, but could be related. Otherwise, it runs fairly well - good even. I have recently fixed a small hole in the exhaust manifold, and she is quiet as a cloud.

Hope the additional info helps. I live in Michigan, but I'm not from here, and I feel woefully uneducated when it comes to cars. Thanks

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  • Welcome to the site. You have a good level of detail here. Could you go through My vehicle refuses to start. What information should I provide? and furbish some more details. In particular, I want to know if there is any correlation between the engine being cold or hot when this issue manifests itself.
    – Zaid
    Mar 4, 2018 at 7:40

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We are having this identical issue on our 2008 Buick and lower mileage. We just turned over 100k. One mechanic replaced the ignition coil. Don't let them do this to you ... it wasn't the problem. On Star was causing a huge issue draining the battery, and we had that disconnected.

One mechanic said somewhere on this car there is a little adjustment screw and that one small turn one way will make it overstart and one small turn the other way will make it delay in starting. Unfortunately, he passed away in the middle of doing this repair, and we are still trying to get it figured out.

It does seem specific to this year and model.

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  • lol - that's awful. Good luck. I've since replaced the car, and I can't remember if I ever solved it.
    – dgo
    Feb 23, 2022 at 21:25

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