Question about 1993 Saturn SC2

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1998 Saturn SC2. For the last couple month sometimes my car won't start. I'll turn the key and get a whimper then nothing. If I then manually lock and unlock the car then it eventually starts. That finally has stopped working. I'll get some life from the battery but it will no longer start. I'm very car illiterate. What could be causing this?

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There are many problems that could cause this issue. Your electrical system might have a drain somewhere -- maybe your alarm is malfunctioning (if you have one), or maybe a wire in the engine has somehow become damaged, grounding the system and discharging your batter at a slow rate. If your battery has been completely discharged before (completely dead) it might not be holding a charge like it should. Your alternator might not be charging the batter like it should while you drive, causing your battery to drain constantly and never recharge automatically like it's supposed to. It could be something more complex in your car's computer or electrical system.
The easiest way to check this is to go to a mechanic with an electrical system checker. Sears Auto Canter has all of the equipment, and charges a reasonable rate for checking your electrical system. Their equipment checks, no only the battery, but the whole electrical system for power drains, and the effectiveness of your alternator. If there is a power drain, Sears Auto can find it -- and they can help replace what is broken. They can also check the health of your battery itself (if it is not holding a charge, you can get a new one there). If it is not that, at least you have eliminated one possible cause.
If the car will start when jumped, it is most likely an issue with which Sears can help. If the car is still not working when attached to another car's battery or a jumper battery, then the problem is a bit more serious. In this case, a professional mechanic can inspect the car and find the issue, or at least give you a cost estimate, so you know if it is worth fixing.

Posted on May 23, 2011

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