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DriverDave, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Buick
Satisfied Customers: 88
Experience:  29 Years Experience, Engine Performance, Driveability Expert and Advanced Level Smog Diagnosis
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Buick 2003 Century - Starter wont turn over after driving

Resolved Question:

Buick 2003 Century - Starter won't turn over after driving car for about 5-25 minutes. No click from the solenoid. I can leave the car in neutral forever and will still start, but after driving for a while will the starter not turn over. After maybe 10-15 minutes, starter will work again. I took the starter out and took it to auto-zone where they tested the starter several times and it always cranked.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Buick
Expert:  DriverDave replied 8 years ago.


I will try to help.


Are you saying it will always start in neutral?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Whenever it decides not to turn over, it will not start in park or in neutral.
Expert:  DriverDave replied 8 years ago.

It more than likely is the starter. When you bench test it is not what we "heat soaked" and could test fine.


If all battery, cables, etc. are ok. I think your solenoid is bad. I would have it tested by a shop that rebuilds the units themselves if you have one in your area. You will get a better unit that way in most cases as well. Also auto electric shops can tell you if it's a common failure to that particular starter. I can tell you that it's a common symptom of almost all GM starters.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I had someone suggest that I check the Starter Relay, but when I search for 2003 Buick Century Starter Relay, I can't find one. Do you know if the 2003 Century has a Starter Relay and if that is worth me checking out?
Expert:  DriverDave replied 8 years ago.

I dont think it has one. You can test for power at the small lead at the solenoid when the problem occurs with a test light. Should have power with the key in the start position, if it does, and it wont start, the starter is bad.


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Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I tried replacing the starter with a used starter and the car still has the same symptoms. I checked voltage at the starter and it is 12V. I shorted the wires at the starter and the solonoid clicks and the starter attempts to turn the engine.

Another weird symptom is that the orange light that indicates which gear you are on flickers and then goes off. When the orange gear indicator light is off, the starter receives no current when I turn the ignition to "start", although there is still 12V to the starter.

I tried changing batteries, and did get it to start, although that was a fluke. The orange gear indicator light blinked for a few seconds when I had the new battery on and I immediately started the car. The light flickered back off and the starter won't click/turn again. I am convinced that the car won't allow the circuit to complete to the starter for some reason.

I thought it may have something to do with the anti-theft chip, but I've tried both sets of keys. The "security" light isn't on or blinking.

To top it off, I swapped batteries with another car and the battery from the Century wouldn't start the other car! I jumped it and it started. Could the alternator have something to do with this?

Expert:  DriverDave replied 8 years ago.
The alternator could be faulty but will not effect the starting if it's fully charged.

If the battery is not fully charged it's going to give you problems but it may have been run down trying to start it several times. It's begining to sound like a bad cable or maybe the ignition switch.

Check the condition of the negative battery cable at both ends for corrosian or loosness.. A poor groung connection is also a possible cause.

12 volts doesn't matter if it doesn't have all the juice it needs. Try this, when the car wont start, test for power with a test light a the small terminal of the starter. If the test light comes on, the battery & cables are good, it should start. If no power to the test light then it's a possible ignition switch or other power issue.

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