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Dodge Repair/'04 Caravan: wont' start


QUESTION: My son drove the car in ice, slid and hit a curb but not hard.  Came on to my house but now car won't start.  Two of the brake lights on dash board came on when he hit the curb.
We have tested the's not that.  Car lights and horn work but it clicks once or so when try to start it.  Battery nearly new, starter fairly new, alternator has been replaced within 2 years.
Do these cars have a collision override that might keep it from starting.=?
We are at a loss.

ANSWER: Hi Julie,
No, there is no collision over ride.
It sounds (if this 'click' is fairly loud and is coming from the starter motor itself) like an issue with the battery connection to the starter motor or a loose connection of the battery post clamps to the battery or the connections of the several wires at the far
end of the - post clamp wire to the body or the engine. The connection from the battery to the starter is a red wire from the + post of the battery, but for safety don't touch that until you disconnect the - post clamp from the battery so as to avoid a short circuit. If it is a loud click then that means the starter relay is working as is the solenoid switch at the starter motor but the start motor is not responding either due to a too weak battery, that + battery wire connection to the starter, or the starter motor is faulty. Try tapping on the side of the motor with a hammer while a helper tries the key.
If it is a soft click (and comes from the starter motor relay in the power box in the engine compartment proper) then the battery may be weak or the wire from the starter relay to the starter solenoid switch at the the starter motor may be loose.
So check the battery clamps and far end connection of the - post wire and listen for where the click is coming from and let me know what you find. Also, check that the gear shift is centered in the P or N position and also try moving it a bit off center and trying it again.

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QUESTION: Actually now there is no click at all. All the indicator lights come on when key is turned over but nothing else happens.

Hi Julie,
My first idea then is that the battery is discharged to too low a voltage to do anything but operate the lights. Nonetheless, check that the battery cable clamps are tight on the posts. Then once you know they are tight, try a jump start using cables from another vehicle, or if it is near an electrical outlet borrow or buy a battery charger and charge the battery, or if you have road service have them come out and give you a jump start and then drive it for a while. Given the history, it may be that the battery cable clamps are loose such that the current will not flow well.

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Roland Finston


Get a Free Fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

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