Question about 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier

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My car wont start

I have tested the alternator its magnetic. I have tested the starter it spins and sparks. I got a new relay that didnt solve it! i replaced the battery and the spark plugs it still wont start. i have gas in the car . What else could it be? oh please help me im a single mom with very little knowledge of vehicles and no help here! thank you!

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You need 3 basic components to come together to get started;
Fuel, Spark, and Compression...and it sounds like you have the Spark portion covered, but just to be sure, pull one of the sparkplug boots (gently) and lay it near the metal of the engine...now turn the key just a couple of cranks, and you should see a long spark jump to ground.

Good spark, and your coil and distributor are probably fine...and the problem lies with fuel delivery, or compression.

When you say "the starter spins" do you mean a fast, growling whine...or the engine is cranking?
If the starter spins without cranking the engine, then you have no compression...and you need a starter solenoid at best, or a starter at worst.

When you crank it a few times, see if the tailpipe smells strongly of gasoline...If so, it's either the spark or timing.

Have someone bang on the fuel tank while you crank...My first suspect would be the fuel pump, which is located inside the tank...and a few good raps could jolt a faulty-but-not-blown pump into giving you enough to start, which tells you to get a pump.

*The alternator is an electro-magnet by design, and even a bad one is magnetic...the primary cause of a failed alternator is worn brushes...but this component has little to nothing to do with the starting system.

Feel free to send updates directly to me if you feel the need, and I'll do all I can to walk you through this.
JB.


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Posted on May 02, 2010

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OK, I read it, now lets start at the top.... When you turn the key does the engine turn?
If it turns, is there spark at the plug end of the ignition wires?(when it's turning)
When you first turn the key on, can you hear the fuel pump in the tank running?
I'll stay with this unless it gets complicated enough for you to need a shop.

Posted on May 02, 2010

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