Question about 2003 Saturn Ls 4dr Sedan

1 Answer

ION, won't start consistantly, see details

Just spent 200.00 on new battery, and oil change, they told me the alternator was really good.
Now what??
The car starts sometimes, I will run to the store and come out & it won't restart? it does this all the time.

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  • 3 more comments 
  • lynn_k_harsh Dec 15, 2008

    Mike 258, thank you, it's not consistant, one time it will start fine, go to the grocery, come out and it's dead, no clicking, no turn over.

    Have had to jump it and go.... so I went to the shop, paid 200.00$,asked the guy fixing it, if it's the alternator, or a loose connection, he assured me it's the battery & installed a new one an told me that would fix the problem. Well that was last week & I'm still haveing the starting problem. Runs good then I turn it off to go into work or school & come out & bam... nothing. No I don't have a volt meter. thnx

  • lynn_k_harsh Dec 15, 2008

    Thank you, I did check those, I actually poured coke on them one of the times I had to jump it, then I cleaned them off. I checked all the connections at that time and they looked good, I rechecked them after the guy at the shop worked on it. I will have time go to a auto parts store on Tue eve and will let you know what I find out!

    I'm so glad I found this site! Thank you.

  • lynn_k_harsh Dec 18, 2008

    I am waiting on my Brother to come in for Christmas this next week.

    I let him know what's going on & what we have discussed, he is so mechanically inclined and works on cars too, so when he gets here he will do the system check you advised w/ the voltage meter( he has one) and he said he'll take care of the rest, and find out if I was "taken" on the batterey too.

    I can't even thank you enough for your help and advice, he said you were right on with your answers and suggestions. I will in the future be back to this site if & when I need it. I probably should have called hin in the 1st place, but I wanted to see if I could take care of it. He said to be careful, that there are so many "shops" that will take advantage of my gender & lack of knowledge with cars, so at least now I know I have at least 2 avenues when I need them.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Years, to you and your family !

  • lynn_k_harsh Dec 18, 2008

    Mike was so very knowledgeable, helpful, from the 1st step of the

    problem. this is where I'll be recommending and coming to for any other needs I may have.
    This was so eductional & easy. Thanks again Mike.

  • Justin Case
    Justin Case May 11, 2010

    Hi Lynn,

    I need clarification on a few things to help you. When it doesn't start, describe the symptoms.

    1. Barely turning over (like the battery is low)?

    2. Turns over but won't start?

    3. Turn the key and nothing happens?
    When it does this to you, how have you gotten it going? A Jump?
    Do you have a volt meter?
    Can you use it?
    Let me know the answers. I'll get you fixed up.



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Hello again Lynn,

Thank you for clarifying. We still have options.

First, hold on to the receipt from that shop, but don't go back until we get you fixed.

Second, since a jump gets you going, it is either the battery not holding a charge or the alternator not providing one. Checking the belts is the first step. Are they tight?

Even new batteries can be bad off the shelf. Especially if they have been on that shelf for a while. They may show the voltage but not the amps. This is called a 'Surface Charge'.

Without a voltmeter, what you need to do now is visit an auto parts store (not a shop). Most (in the hope of making a sale) will provide free testing of batteries and charging systems.

Ask if they do this. What you need is called a "Load Test" on the battery. It simulates the load of an engine being started. This will confirm the battery is good or bad.

Then with the car running, they need to check the voltage to the battery (they will know this). If it's not above +13VDC, the alternator is bad or not connected correctly.

And if it doesn't start, what better place to be?

Let me know what they find out.
Best regards

Posted on Dec 15, 2008

  • 3 more comments 
  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Dec 15, 2008

    One more thing to check.

    Are the battery terminals clean and tight?


  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Dec 15, 2008


    You are most welcome. I'm glad you found us too.

    Another thing. When traveling in the evening with the headlights on, be aware that they are also a drain.

    If you notice them getting dim, that indicates an alternator problem. The battery alone is powering the engines electrical needs and is draining. It also says there isn't much juice left in the battery.

    If possible, have someone follow you, so you don't get stranded between locations.

    Be safe,

  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Dec 17, 2008

    I didn't forget to check up on you. Let me know what you found out.

  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Dec 18, 2008

    Thanks for the follow up. Stick close to your brother when he runs the checks, in case something similar happens in the future. Seeing something done is easier than interpreting my scribbling.

    He had the same concerns I did that you may have been taken advantage of. (Save the receipt but don't go back yet). The price tag seemed excessive. The ones that take advantage will try it on anybody. I have no problem throwing a wrench in their gears, so to speak.

    I do have a request since it seems your problem will be solved soon. How about a nice rating?

    May your Holidays be safe and warm.

  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Jan 01, 2009

    Hi Lynn,

    I wanted to thank you for your rave revue. I'm proud to have been of service.




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