I have a 1998 Chevrolet Lumina and recently I have had intermittent starting issues. My brother and I bought a new starter and put it in and it still wouldn’t start. After replacing the starter we’ve noticed that there was oil in the coolant reservoir. Could this be the culprit as to why it won’t start?


Oil in the coolant reservoir is usually a pretty bad sign! Are there signs of coolant in the oil as well (a creamy mayonnaise-like substance)? Either of those are signs of Head Gasket failure, which would eventually stop the engine from starting, but would normally give a lot of other signs first...

You say it started off as an intermittant problem - is it still, or will it now not start at all? If it won't even click, then either the starter solenoid has failed (i.e. you've been sold a dud starter), or no power is getting to the starter. Get a multimeter, and check that when you turn the key, 12v appears on the solenoid connection (the smaller of the two wires going to the starter - the big one should have 12v all the time). Depending on the location of the starter, it might be easier to disconnect this first, or add a temporary lead from there to somewhere you can get to easily.

If it doesn't appear to be getting power, try connecting a bit of wire to battery positive, and touching it to that connector, and see if you hear it click and/or try to turn the engine. BE CAREFUL, as if it does turn it over, fans might start spinning! If it does turn over, you know you have an electrical problem...

If it is getting power, try removing the new starter and testing it outside the car. If that works, it might also be worth checking that you can turn the engine by hand (with the battery disconnected and the ignition off, put a suitable sized socket on the crankshaft pulley bolt and try to turn it with a long bar. It should turn evenly, but lumpy, with one 'lump' for each cylinder per rotation. It'd have to be a pretty spectacular failure for that to be a problem though, and you'd have noticed that...

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