Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Dodge Neon won’t start

Dodge Neon no crank no start

If you have a Dodge Neon no crank no start condition, the first place to start diagnosis is with the battery. You must have at least 12.25 volts measured across the battery terminals to get that starter moving. And don’t think you can tell the condition of the battery terminals by looking at them—you can’t. So clean them with a wire brush. Then clean all the ground terminals coming off the negative battery terminal. That means negative battery to engine, to radiator support or fender, and engine to firewall. Still no crank?

Well, think about where the power goes from there. In older vehicle, starter solenoid current had to run through the neutral safety switch before it could reach the starter solenoid. But in newer vehicles, the state of the neutral safety switch is read by the PCM. If it sees that the vehicle is in PARK or NEUTRAL, it will allow starting. To do that, it usually provides ground to a starter relay in the fuse box. The starter relay switches power to the starter solenoid and THAT’s what connects battery power to the starter motor.

So before you do anything else, check the operation of the Park/Neutral Switch. The first test is to move the shifter to Neutral and try starting. If that works, you’ve nailed the problem—replace the park/neutral switch. If it doesn’t start, you’ll have to check wiring to the park/neutral. Download a wiring diagram from alldatadiy.com or eautorepair.net (see links below) and start checking for correct voltages at the park/neutral, and the control coil of the starter relay. If the wiring checks out, see if you’re getting a ground signal to the starter relay control coil. Without that, you’ll never get power to the starter. If you get ground, try swapping the relay with another relay with the same part number.

If you’re still not getting anywhere, be aware of the severe corrosion issues being reported on Chrysler’s Intelligent Power Module. So check that out too.

© 2012 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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