Sudden problem with 2000 Malibu starting in the morning


Asked by Jan 26, 2013 at 08:35 AM about the 2000 Chevrolet Malibu LS

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

A problem recently appeared with my 2000 Malibu:  when I start it in the morning, the engine cranks briefly, then stops, and then there's just a humming/buzzing noise.  All the dash lights go on (as per usual), but the car won't turn over.  After successive tries of switching the car off, waiting a few seconds and then trying again, the car eventually (and somewhat roughly) starts and runs.  It seems like, once it warms up, it starts okay again unless the car sits for an hour or two, and then it's the same problem again.  Any ideas?

8 Answers

The first thing I think of when I read your question is battery terminal corrosion. See if it looks like white or greenish mold (it is not mold, just looks like it)..if it does, try some baking soda. Wet the terminals, sprinkle some baking soda on them, wait a few minutes, rinse thoroughly with a garden hose, you MAY not even have to take them off. That is just one of many possible things.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I shall examine the connections carefully as you suggest. The thing is, the car seems to have plenty of juice when I try to start it, and it runs like a top once it gets started. VERY perplexing. And NO "Check Engine" light has come on either.

That's the kicker right there TR, if the terminals are corroded it may have plenty of amperage at first, but the bad connection will heat up the terminal on the wire, causing a bad connection, then when it cools it will crank over fine. That's why I thought of it to begin with. You say it cranks briefly then stops, and runs fine. When the alternator gets going all is well. BUT there are many other possibilities as to what's happening, this is just one scenario of many; Come on back please and let me (us) know. If you have to take them off, you can get a terminal brush that cleans the battery and inside of cable end..they can be had for a buck.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I'm at work right now, and don't have access to any actual tools, but I went out on my break and before trying to start the car I gave the battery cables a good "shake" (i.e., I tried to wriggle 'em). Then I hopped in the car and tried to start it: interestingly, the car started very roughly, but it DIDN'T do the crank-quit-and-hum routine like it did before. The engine ran a bit choppily for a few seconds, then smoothed right out, and I could swear there was a faint smell of gasoline. Interesting.

Yes, interesting. I feel I must say this: if you smell gasoline, be very careful of thee risk of fire. Were they corroded? and tight?


Well, the positive terminal has some stupid red plastic thing I couldn't pry off, and the negative terminal was uncovered but looked just fine, which as we all know doesn't guarantee anything. The cables FELT tight, but again, that doesn't mean squat....

Hmm. That red plastic cover should come off with a flat screwdriver. yeah, easy for me to say. Wiggle and pull with channellocks maybe?

Nicholus Kleppen

With mine I've found that it's the anti theft that's the problem. Since I don't have a fob, I put the key in the acc position for 15min. Then in the off for 1min. This usually does the trick. It deactivated the anti theft so the car realizes it's not being stolen.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

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