Question about 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera

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The car is not starting. it acts like it's unable to draw enough amps from the battery (ie domelight dims, dinging stops and the clicking noise that goes with a dead battery) however, jumping the car does not help at all

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  • ryajor Nov 12, 2009

    the battery is a month old

  • ryajor Nov 12, 2009

    the battery is only a month old



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First question is how old is the battery? If the battery is bad jumping the car will not help. First replace the battery then go from there.

Posted on Nov 12, 2009

  • Lee A.
    Lee A. Nov 12, 2009

    There are several things that could cause this. Have you had the alternator checked. Here is a checklist to go through that may help you.


    I don't think there is a
    tougher system to troubleshoot on your car than the charging/starting
    system. This is due to the fact that there are many things that
    can go wrong and it's tough to test some components without special equipment.
    Let's go over some possible situations and their possible causes.

    • Car won't start, all I hear is a click but the
      engine does not turn.

      • First check all battery cables for corrosion
        as this will keep power from flowing freely to the starting system.
        If they are dirty, clean with a wire brush and reattach. ( Click Here For an Example of a Battery Brush )Apply a
        light coat of grease to the top of the terminals to prevent further

      • Battery could not have enough power stored
        in it to spin the engine. This can be caused by a bad cell
        in the battery or from a bad alternator not charging the battery
        when the engine is running. If you can get the car to a mechanic,
        have him or her test the battery and charging system with a special
        tester. This tester places a load on the battery and can tell
        the condition. They can also check to see if the alternator
        is working to it's full potential.

      • Starter or solenoid could be bad. If
        you can not jump start the car and all of the battery cables are
        ok then suspect the starter.

    • Car won't start, I hear nothing.

      • Check battery cables as above.

      • Have the battery tested. There could
        be a bad cell causing a short. You can try jump starting but
        often the car will not stay running.

    • Car won't start, all I hear is a horrible grinding

      • Grinding noises point to the starter not properly
        meshing with the flywheel. This can be caused by a bad solenoid
        or a bad spot on the flywheel.

      • I have also seen starters loosen up so they
        no longer contact the flywheel at the proper distance. While
        not common, it is something to keep in mind.

    • Car starts but my headlights are dim at low engine

      • Look to the alternator for problems.
        Take the car to your mechanic to have the alternator checked for
        proper operation.

      • Check for loose wires going to the alternator.
        Also check for corrosion as this will inhibit the alternator from
        charging properly.

      • Check the tension on the alternator belt.
        If it is too loose, the belt may slip and not drive the alternator

    As you can
    see there are plenty of things to go wrong with the charging system and
    it is always best to take the car to your mechanic and have it tested
    before you go replacing parts blindly.

    Preventing problems with your electrical system:

    • Replace your battery every 4 years as a safety
      measure. It will save allot of headaches down the road.

    • If your battery is not a sealed unit, check fluid
      levels in each cell. Only fill with distilled water and be careful
      around the acid which is in the battery.

    • Check your alternator belt frequently for cracks
      and tension. Replace per your cars manufacturers recommendations.

    • Clean your battery connections at least once a
      year. Parts stores sell a handy terminal cleaner which is basically
      a round wire brush which works wonders. Once you reattach the
      terminals, coat with a layer of heavy grease or special purpose grease
      sold at parts stores. This layer will block the air from reacting
      with the connectors and creating corrosion.
    If you still need assistance let me know. If you find my information helpful please take a moment to accept/rate my solution accordingly.
    Thank you,



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