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My 2001 SL1 sometimes won't start, I can turn the key and it just won't start, and then other days it's perfectly fine. And now today, it wouldn't start at all, no lights, no dinging with the key, it's a manual so I pushed it down a hill and nothing, no lights, no engine turn over, nothing. What could this be?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Jessica Howe, Automotive Expert & Coach at


Thank you for writing in. Start by checking the battery. If the vehicle will not make sounds or turn on the lights like it normally does, then you have lost power. Batteries can be intermittent as they fail, and it sounds like yours finally died. It likely needs to be replaced. Also make sure that the battery cables are clean, dry, and tight. If the issue continues to happen, your alternator may have failed. This would mean it is not recharging the battery like it should be when the vehicle is running. You can also try jump-starting the vehicle to get it started, and see if the alternator can charge the battery. Good luck!

LeeAnn Shattuck, Chief Car Chick at The Car Chick

When a car does not start (with no lights, no dinging, etc), the first place you look is the battery.  Is the battery dead?  Are the cables loose or the terminals corroded?  Your local shop or most roadside assistance companies can test the battery and check the cables / terminals   If it's not the battery or its connections, you may have a bad ignition switch or starter.  

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