2002 Pontiac Bonneville not cranking

Shayla Eickmeier-Tylman

Asked by Shayla May 23, 2013 at 09:58 PM about the 2002 Pontiac Bonneville SE

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

2002 Pontiac Bonneville non-supercharged is not cranking over when in START position.  I have had the battery tested and it is good (only a year old).  All the lights and gauges and other things even in the back of the car (never paid attention to that before) make sounds when in the ON position.  I have tried both normal keys and our Valet key, none of them are causing them to turn over.  I read the forums and the security light is NOT flashing except when the door is open but when the key goes to the ON position it turns off.  When I go to the START position there is nothing, no sounds like clicking that I thought there should be and even all of the gauges go away but I am not sure if that is normal or not.  I was thinking the starter may have gone out very suddenly as it was working just fine and hasn't had any problems in the 7 years I have had it. I do not have many tools to check if the starter is getting power but wondering if it could also be the ignition switch or if there are fuses maybe I could check?

9 Answers


Set the park brake and then turn on the key place shifter in the neutral position and try to start the engine, if it still won't crank put it back into park, shut off ignition. You can try the hammer test next but it will take 2 people. Make sure park brake is set tight and it is in park, 1 person turn key to the start position and hold while you slide under the vehicle and with a small to medium hammer rap on the starter main body but not too hard you don't want to damage the starter housing, if the starter brushes are worn sometimes this will shock them just enough to start the engine. If it will not crank over after that then you will need to check for voltage at supply points and the switches with a voltmeter.

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Shayla Eickmeier-Tylman

Thank you for the quick response, and I forgot to mention I did try to start it in neutral with the exact same results of nothing :) Is it normal though for there not to be any clicking noises when attempting to start, I have had starter issues in a previous car I had and there was a clicking noise when attempting to start which lead us to the starter first. Is there a simple way to rule out the ignition switch? Or is there not being any noise normal for the Bonneville?

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I could be the ignition switch or the safety switch but you will need tools to check them.

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the ground connection from the positive battery terminal to the chassis and back to the engine is important that it be not corroded and able to pull the necessary 300 cold cranking amps, a new battery is recommended if that one is five years old or older...the positive lug should be free of corrosion (use your garden hose) to get all that acid away, then clean the positive lug and the small lolipop return from the alternator...the other end of the red goes to the starter solenoid, this one could also have corrosion and not be able to pull the amperage....make sure everyone is comfortable with the necessary amperage, try to start it and report back...thank you....roy~

Shayla Eickmeier-Tylman

Judge Roy, thank you for your response. Since the battery is about a year old and as I mentioned above I have already had it tested the battery is not the case. The terminals themselves are almost impossible to corrode at the battery at the battery itself since it sits under my backseat and is not subject to nature and I did check for corrosion in other areas, there isn't any. I am positive it is the ignition or starter however, due to limited resources such as funds and tools and lack of a repair manual I am trying to determine the true cause so I don't just start randomly throwing around money I don't have :) I have found someone who is loaning me a copy of their repair manual so I can locate the starter to do the test the above gentlemen said or just take it out and have our local AutoZone test it. The fact that I don't hear any clicking noises when I go to the start position I find odd for a starter problem

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good job, Shayla~ wow. in the backseat....just like a cadillac-----often wondered if they considered how batteries can catch fire if jumpstarted incorrectly....and how one of my volkswagens caught fire at the battery (voltage regulator actually)....wow, should be like...not hard to find a chassis ground at that location~....I too have been living to feed the debtors every paycheck and can relate....half of the things that I suggest to people cannot afford myself, such as silicone vacuum lines (like BMWs and police interceptors have) and silicone heater hoses---- top 0 the line batteries such as Interstate (not walmart)....but bein' poor leads to creative solutions....have had 26 vehicles in the rust belt, {can't get but 12 years out of a car before you get the 'sunfloor'}~

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Dione Pollick

I have the same exact car (2002 Pontiac Bonneville) with the same problem.. Did you ever figure out what the issue was?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2001 SSei that was having problems starting. After trouble shooting almost everything it was suggested to me that it could be the "neutral switch", which unfortunately is located inside the transmission. I took it to a tranny shop and they replaced "MLP switch". This part was less than $100 but labor to drop the tranny was $700. They also replaced the ignition switch at the same time. I was never told if they determined the MLP switch wasn't necessary and that simply changing the ignition might have fixed it. This was 3 years ago and I haven't had any related problems since changing those 2 switches out.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Mammaw Blair

Hello, I have a 2001 Pontiac Bonneville SLE model. I bought it for my daughter last year, and she cut the cadic converter off. She gave it back to me n I've had NOTHIN but problems ever since. I've poured over a thousand dollars into it that I didn't have,but I'm dependant on the car for work. Does anyone know where the main relay switch is located? Seems I'm having g some of the same issues as previously listed. My Daughter, my two Granbabies, and myself were Blessed with our lives last month. The car died in the fast lane during rush hour. I lost control of the power steering, and immediately started praying. We ended up next to the concrete wall. I crawled out and went to pulled the fuse panel n there was a red wire from one of the clutch fans WRAPPED around a green fuse in the extra spaces. It was burnt up. I didn't have any extra fuses, so I tried a piece of foil paper n it didn't work either. I even put the wire around a bigger fuse (if the clutch fan ain't turning, the car won't crank). I had my daughter crank the car while I spray a lil starter fluid n it turned over, but wouldn't stay running. Finally, two electricians pulled over, and he pulled a big square fuse out, and gotta piece of his wire, stuck it in and both clutch fans started working(that never worked), and the car crunk and stayed running.Could anyone tell me what i need to do? This was only a temporary fix, and the wire has blown out and the car won't crank. Thank you, and I appreciate any response. ~Mammaw~

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