Why wont my car start?


Asked by May 30, 2012 at 02:48 PM about the 1996 Geo Prizm

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My 96 Geo prizm will not start. We replaced the alternator. Had it checked out it was bad. Worked okay for 2 or 3 days then it would not turn on. We replaced the battery. Again, it worked for 2 or 3 days fine then it wouldn't start. No clicks, no lights, no nothing. Checked the wiring, seems fine. It started right up with a jump. took the negative off the battery, alternator still running good. Charged the battery, which is brand new, now still will not start. Also have replaced a lot of the fuses.

9 Answers


What is the voltage of your battery? Sounds like you have a draw from somewhere depleting your battery power.

2 people found this helpful.

It is at 12 volts. Could it be a blown fuse?

1 people found this helpful.

Your static voltage is low on the battery at 12 volts. Sounds like you have a drain somewhere. Try pulling all the fuses you can that will allow the car to still run. One at a time add a circuit back to the system by replacing a fuse. When you notice the problem again the last fuse/circuit could be the problem one. I would also purchase a system monitor. You can purchase one that plugs into the cigaret lighter. Get a digital one that will show tenths of a volt. You should have 12.5 volts with car off and 14.3 with car running.

1 people found this helpful.

You either have a loose ground wire or possibly even an ungrounded wire (maybe on the non factory radio or any other electrical repair or modification OR the car's brain box aka computer is bad; in which case, just buy a used one at a salvage yard. Here in north east Iowa, I would expect to pay $35 to $75 depending on whether they have one already on the shelf versus making you go pull it yourself. It is hard to find used parts for these cars right now in this area because the yards skip the parting out process and throw the entire car directly into the pile to be crushed for scrap metal. I sold both my 96 and my 94 Prizms a few months ago and had half a car in parts for sale forever. Finally, I took the metal parts in for scrap. There was about $500 in parts based on the yards retail prices of the items that I had to sell back at $0.035 per pound, lol. So I am left to believe that folks here in Iowa do not realize that these cars are Toyota Corollas, and those that do refuse to believe that a Toyota is better than a Chevy and/or that a Toyota will go several hundred thousand miles with minimal maintenance and repairs. But if a dealer here has one, even these mid90s body style Prizms are suddenly priced at $4995 because they still get 30 to 40 mpg. Very strange bell curve in the Prizm market. My advice is to invest up to $500 in a second Prizm that starts, drives, and stops (usually they needs tires, brakes, exhaust, shocks and/or etc). This will be you parts car/backup ride. Just switch parts until something works. Then if the part is cheap, buy one and keep both cars going. Then when you need an expensive part like a running engine, you already have one in stock. BTW any vehicle 1996 or newer can be taken to your local parts store like Kragen or OReillys for a quick check to find an error code. This is a free, do it yourself service. Then they can tell you what is wrong with your car based on the error code in your cars computer. It is free. Most mechanics charge $50 to do the same thing.

2 people found this helpful.

auto zone sold me 3 bad alternators before i figured out that was the problem.

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my 95 LSI had a messed up heating core and it took out my after market stereo and the intake was smoking as well. i replaced the heater core put everything back together start it up and now it wont start its clicking, im thinking its the starter any ideas? could it be a electrical problem due to the stereo going out need some ideas


Hey, georgem990, start your question from its own thread, please. It will be seen by folks who understand your make, model, and year. Try tapping your starter with a hammer handle or screwdriver handle while a helper repeatedly cycles the key, trying to crank the engine. If it persists, a rebuild or rework of your starter could be needed from your info so far. Of course, if you like a guarantee on the box, get a remanufactured one. Your basic electrical system checks and connection cleaning needs are known only to you at this point. If you are having trouble still give the complete data about your car and its symptom and repairs and tests that relate to your cranking circuits as applicable, please.


i very surprised at the expensive and time consuming suggestions above and that no one mentioned what the real issue is, its a easy fix too! my dads had a heap of geos and this has happened in quite a few of them. driving along car runs great no issues for months and suddenly the geo lost power, it dies and will not start. every time this happened to us it was the IGNITION MODULE. thia happens on most geo models, super easy and not invasive to fix, its right by the distributor cap and looks like something for a computer. go to a junk yard or order one online, it takes like 10 minutes to install.

3 people found this helpful.

I really need some help mein with My Geo prizm 1996. No check engine light but the dash lights up. When I try to start the car it sound like it will start but does not. I am not getting any fire and I try to get help and gave 2 mechanic the job but guess their reckanicks I will find the problem my self but need some expert help. I already got a fuse box with all fuse and relay,also a distribute from the junk yard but still no check engine light. Need to get my baby working

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