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When I went to leave work tonight, the car wouldn't start. I've tried two known good keys, and cleaning the battery posts and cables where they connect to the posts.

There has been no indication the starter or battery is bad. I'm going to take both to autozone to have them tested, but I was hoping for some pointers ahead of time because I won't be able to take them out until Sunday.

Some observations:

  • No error codes

  • No clicking like it's trying to start

  • Key "security" light stops blinking when the aforementioned keys are inserted

  • Battery measures 12.2 V when disconnected from car

  • Interior and trunk lights are at full brightness

  • I can see the dash lights and clock dim when I try to start without the clutch pushed in

  • I can see the dash lights and clock dim and I hear the faintest hum when I try to start with the clutch pushed in

  • Cranking amperage measured low (2/3?) when I had the oil changed at Valvoline in February, but there's been no indication of weak starts

I managed to start and drive it home because I parked directly in front of a decline ramp. I pushed the car backwards to the top of the ramp, jumped in, put it in reverse and let out the clutch. It started and ran just fine. On the way home, I was coasting downhill for a few hundred yards. I took it out of gear, shut off the car, pulled the key out, put it back in, and tried to start. No starter activity.

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My first suspect would be the starter solenoid - either the solenoid itself has failed, or the wire leading to it. You should be able to check with a multimeter - does the wire go to +12v when you turn the key to 'start'? Another check is to get a length of wire, connect one end to battery+, and touch the other end to the solenoid connection - you should then hear the solenoid kick.

If it's not that, chances are it's some kind of problem with the immobiliser system - and that, unfortunately, tends to get difficult and expensive...

  • I will check your suggestions when I have some daylight and time off. Thanks. – user208145 Sep 6 '18 at 9:23
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    Would an immobiliser system prevent "pop starts" as described in the question? – fred_dot_u Sep 6 '18 at 9:28
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    @fred_dot_u I'm not sure - it might depend on the type of immobiliser? – Nick C Sep 6 '18 at 12:34
  • That's how I left work, with a pop start coasting down a ramp. – user208145 Sep 6 '18 at 20:10

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