How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dan Your Own Question
Dan, Automotive Management
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 624
Experience:  36 Plus Years of Direct Automotive Experience
Type Your Car Question Here...
Dan is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Engine stops..starter motor spins when I jump it from the battery.

This answer was rated:

Engine stops several seconds after starting. There is no noise or action when I turn the key. The starter motor spins when I jump it from the battery. When I jump the solenoid to the battery, it engages and the engine starts. It runs for about 5 seconds very smoothly and then simply stops. It doesn't run rough before quitting, it just stops. 2004 Chevy Venture, V6.


Are you the original owner?

How many miles?


Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Yes, 43k
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
When I pull out the ignition relay (#11 IGN MAIN) it tests OK (85 ohms across coil, and I can hear it click when I insert it, and the key is on).


I asked this question because a problem like this may be covered under the GM Warranty. Sometimes the dealer can offer advice by running your VIN number. They may have a re-call or special fix for the problem at hand.

You need to check the basics, coolant level and battery connections. Think back if this problem is related to any work performed lately, body work or repairs. I mention the coolant because the coolant sensor is triggered off by the condition of the coolant.

Coolant Sensor

The water temperature sensor communicates information to and from the computer. If this has failed to work properly, it would definitely create issues like the one you described. Before we condemn the sensor let's make sure the coolant level is correct and the antifreeze is properly mixed. The antifreeze should be 50-50 one part antifreeze and the other part water. If the mixture is wrong, it could affect the sensor. Most people do not pay enough attention to this little device, which can give you many problems. Learn more about Coolant Sensors, Click on the link provided below...


Dan and 4 other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Also, the battery might be a little low because it cranks fairly slow now. I've got it on the charger, but still, the alternator should provide enough voltage to keep the engine running once it springs to life.

The circuit that energizes the starting solenoid, does it also have to maintain power to something to keep the engine running? If so, then it would make sense that the same faulty circuit that prevents the solenoid from getting power could also keep the engine from running. Does the computer open a relay somewhere in the start circuit after 5 to 10 seconds? Maybe related to the fact that on this car I don't have to hold the key in start for the engine to start. I just twist the key briefly and the engine maintains the cranking until it starts...

The first step in troubleshooting any electrical system is to have a fully charged battery. The battery must pass the load test, whatever the amp hour rating of the battery is it is put under three times that amount for 15 seconds and shouldn't fall below 9.6 volts. Example, 65 amp hour battery X 195 amps for 15 seconds must equal above 9.6 volts. Typical starter draw on your vehicle is between 175-210 amps, this must also be checked to eliminate excessive starter draw as a potential problem. Before looking into other areas these test must be performed first. Once checked, it would be advised to perform a charging system check just to make sure the battery is being fully charged.


Customer: replied 10 years ago.
The car is due for an oil change (it's at the lower line on the dipstick). The car is currently tilted since the passenger front is up on a jack stand so I could get at the starter from below.

I read up on the coolant sensor. Thanks. Could it be that after a few seconds, the engine starts to rely on the sensor, and failing to find a good signal, it shuts down?
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
The car's been running just fine. Turning the ignition switch just brings about some very faint clicking under the dash. A jumper from the battery to the solenoid terminal on the starter brings immediated action - it cranks and starts right up. The headlights are good and bright and I'm reading over 12 V on the battery.
Based on your last response it sounds like you may have a shorted out ignition switch. I suggest you get to the lower part of the switch and check the switch operation and by-pass to confirm whether or not it works.
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Dan's Post: The ignition switch - you mean the switch in the steering column with the key in it??
Yes, where you insert the key is the lock, below that is the ignition part of the switch itself. That part of the switch may be defective based on your response, "faint light under the dash"
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Dan's Post: I'll go have a look. It might take a little time.
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Dan - You won't believe it. It's the key!! The car starts with my old key, but it won't start with the new key. I was using a brand new key. The new key fits in and turns just fine, but it won't start the car or keep it running. I tried both keys several times. It's true.
I thought the key "locked" the ignition by preventing the ignition switch from turning. However, in this case, the run condition also requires some subtle feature about the key that I can't easily see.
I'll have to call Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers and let them have a good time over this one.
Thanks for steering me to the ignition switch.
Best regards.


The key probably has a "chip" in it. A security feature found in most cars today.