Question about 2001 Pontiac Aztek

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Key won't always start the car,

The key won't always start the car, I have found that if i turn the key to on, push in the brake, put the car in neutral the car will sometimes start itself. or, sometimes with the key in the on position, i push in the brake shift into neutral, shift back into park and the car will start itself. sometimes it won't start at all, like now it is broken down at the grocery store and i have no idea what to tell my mechanic!!

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  • Pontiac Master
  • 6,674 Answers

Sounds like safety neutral or brake switch, but if you tell him same as you told us, he should be able to figure it out without too much trouble.

Posted on May 17, 2009

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2008 impala won't start or shift out of park, key is difficult to remove from ignition.


Sound like a problem with the Neutral Ssafety Switch, this is located on top transmission (generally) and its possible that need some adjust.

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Ok...the old keyswitch worked w/o key but it quit.(turn it to run but won't start. if it does start won't shut off.} replaced keyswitch still the same thing. it has new...


Hello, Check under the dash at the top of the Brake pedal lever. There should be a switch there and it is an Interlock switch. This switch can be hit by your feet and either knocked out of adjustment or broken. There is also another switch which ties into the system and keeps the car from starting unless it is in Park or Neutral.

When you put in the new Ignition switch, there are sometimes adjustment screws which are slotted and allow the Igntion switch to be mounted higher or lower with respect to the Keyrod or cable in the steering column.

Where you need to get power is the small (Tickler) wire on the starter solenoid. You can unplug it and test it for power when the keyswitch is turned to START.
The Interlock switches power the Tickler.

This is what you need to think about. The gearshift Interlock must be adjusted to make the Tickler work in Park or Neutral. The Brake pedal Interlock is suppose to prevent the Tickler from getting power unless your foot is on the brake. Sometimes your Brakelights will not work if the Brake Interlock is broken. Have a helper check them or Scotch-tape something across the rear window Brakelight so you can see it work from inside the car.

That is all I have for this problem.

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My tailkights are not working at all. My Park in the car is stuck and won;t come down with motor started.


turn engine off. Turn key to OFF position, (no lights on dash lit). Step on brake, pull shift lever to neutral. start car, put in drive and go. this is emergency bypass.

When the key is ON, the shift lock soneoid is engaged and won't release till the brake is applied. Since you don't have brake lights, it means the solenoid won't unlock.
check for a blown fuse or a bad brake switch on the brake pedal.

OFF is the first click clockwise from LOCK. it goes, LOCK, OFF, ON, START.

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Ignition switch will not turn on. Battery is good. Steering wheel is locked, What should we do?


Quite often that will happen when vehicle parked with wheels turned, and/or vehicle on a slope, so try to avoid that in future.If nothing else, when parked on a slope, stop, keep foot on brake pedal, apply parking brake, put transmission in neutral, then take foot off brake pedal and wait for parking brake to stop vehicle rolling, then shift it into park. When leaving, put foot on brake pedal, shift to drive or reverse whatever direction your going, then release parking brake. Sounds like a lot to remember but you won't have to pull hard on shifter as before, and it could save a lot of money on transmission repairs down the road. Always try to park with wheels straight as well.
Now, with that said, if you parked with wheels turned, try hard to turn steering wheel in same direction wheels are turning, just slightly, as you try to turn key. Sometimes a quick yank in that direction will do it. Also make sure shifter is all the way in park before you try it. If your on a slope try rocking vehicle slightly up slope as you push/pull shift lever in to park and try to turn key at same time. If no luck, try pushing brake pedal real hard and try to turn key. Let me know how it goes.

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it sounds like you have a loose or broken ground cable, be sure to check all grounds starting with the battery, and so on

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