Car cranks and tries to start, just takes forever


Asked by Feb 04, 2018 at 01:03 AM about the 2000 Chevrolet Malibu

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My car is driving us absolutely insane.  It has two seemingly unrelated starting
issues. It's really embarrassing to be honest. No matter where we are, everyone
stops what they're doing and are like oh look at that POS, sucks to be her. I'll try
not to make eye contact, just look down at the rpms gage, but they come over
half the time and knock on the window, prob since I look like a helpless girl (I'm
like I'm good, this happens every day I got this).

The first issue seems to be idle related. half the time I crank it, it starts for a sec
and then dies. At that point it's so hard to start and I have to try again 3-6 times
to get it to finally crank. The first couple of times it just cranks and cranks and
doesn't even get close. But after a few, it tries so hard to crank, just won't catch.
My husband told me to feather the pedal after it starts, it's less likely to stall out,
which does work from my experience, but sometimes I just forget (it's dumb I
need to think about how to start my car, it should just start right up like normal

Second thing is less predictable, just random no starts. These are like I
mentioned above after the first few cranks, where it gets close to turning over,
just won't catch (you know, the car like shakes and the rpms go up ever so
slightly). This is the worst bc I can't do the idle thing.  We were at my best
girlfriends wedding last weekend and I was like, well give you guys a ride to
your hotel (my husband rolled his eyes anticipating trouble). We piled like 6
people in only to embarrass the heck out of myself. I was sweating and
blushing it was so awkward, we just sat there and cranked it for 5 min till we
gave up and called an uber. After that, even my coworkers won't stop making
fun of me. The one guy was like we're going to lunch soon, you should probably
leave now (30 min early) so you can get your car started in time.

I know it's an old car, but we can't afford a new one right now.  When i can get it
started, it's a great car. Honestly I may switch cars with my husband even
though he commutes bc I keep getting stranded. It seems to happen way more
to me than him. Really sucks when you're in a hurry, and it adds like 5 min to a
trip just cranking and cranking. Any idea what these issues could be? It's not the
theft light, unfortunately.

I'll try taking a video. It happens so much I'll def be able to document it


6 Answers


My favorite question is, do you want a jump? Like you can hear me cranking the heck out of my baby, obviously it has a good battery. I did crank it so long the battery died last month though (again obviously the battery is good its brand new). I gotta fix this though. This much cranking is going to kill my starter. It already feels and sounds differently. Like it shakes more when it stumbles as it almost turns over like I mentioned the rpms bounce for a sec as it sounds like it's gonna catch and the whole thing shakes. But it didn't used to shake so hard (my change rattles it bounces so hard!)

1 people found this helpful.

the idle problem sounds like the TPS throttle position sensor , take a look at the plugs and wires , air filter , look for any broken/loose vacuum lines/hoses , the starter and batt are taking a beating and if you have to take it to a garage for those to be replaced i suggest you bite the bullet and take out a loan for something else , this thing may turn into a money pit if you do get it running I mean it's 18 years old , it's been driven into the ground don't drive it back out


Thanks, a starter wouldn't be too much though right? She only has 91k miles, despite the age, so I'm hanging on as long as we can. It's a tough decision for us bc it always starts eventually, just sometimes it takes a really long time (longest was maybe 8-10 cranks which of course happened the day of that wedding with everyone all dressed up and nowhere to go haha). I know it's bad, I wouldn't crank for so long but it's Sooo close to starting so I just keep at it). we've never been stranded except that one time I killed the battery cranking too long (but the battery was already weak and it was 10 degrees that day). I guess for me I'd rather face the embarrassment of the really long cranking sessions and just deal with it until we kill the starter, then make the hard decision.  I do really love this car, she's my baby. That's probably why I've just  gotten used to our friends making fun of it at this point, but they don't understand why I still love my car.  My friend Jen jokes that I like it bc it's like the episode of curbed your enthusiasm where the guys car shakes so much it actually gets women stimulated (lol, I wish! It shakes bad, but not that bad). At this point, I just get self conscious with strangers and coworkers because I hate having that conversation. Literally everyone asks if I need a jump. Obviously it's got a good battery if it's trying as hard as it freakin can to turn over. So I now park at the end of the parking lot, or wait until people next to me drive away to turn the key the first time, just so no one hears me and comes over if it doesn't start.  That way when it doesn't start, there's no pressure and I can take my time getting it to turn over. I really just hate the feeling of people watching me struggle with it I know what you mean though, it sounds like a money pit. But I love this thing and everything else is great, when we FINALLY get it started. It runs perfect except for the hard starts every other time. Guess I'll just keep parking far and deal with it. A little blushing/embarrassment is a lot cheaper than a new car

1 people found this helpful.

if I had a 2000 chevy that wasn't rusted out I would hang on to it also I don't like newer cars , if they made a normal car I would buy one but they are loaded with nonsense so for now , like you , I must deal with repairs out in the cold , me and Jim , turn the key to the runs position and back off without starting it a few times then start it see what happens

My wife’s having similar issues getting her malibu to start. I guess I was hoping she was exaggerating the problem at first. I had yet to be with her when it didn’t start right away, and the car always had a few hard starts here and there since she owned it. It would take maybe 7-8 secs of hard cranking a few times a week, but it always started for her the first time she turned the key back then. I think this was happening maybe 2-3 times a week, and I knew even that tiny bit of extra cranking embarrassed her. She used to complain about it all the time to me and I’d just roll my eyes and ask, “it still started didn’t it?” After a while she stopped complaining about it, so I assumed it was not happening to her anymore. A few months back, she was driving us home from dinner in her car, which we rarely take anywhere together. She needed gas so I had her stop and filled her tank up. When she restarted the car, it ran for a sec and it stalled out instantly. She looked at me nervously, I could tell she was mortified for some reason. I just said something like, “that was weird”, or “what was that about”. And she just casually answers, it does this a lot to me actually. I was minimizing the issue in my head again thinking, a few random stalls when she has to get gas didn’t seem so bad to me, especially if she hasn’t said anything to me about it. But then when she tried to restart the car it just cranked for what seemed like forever. She tried probably 4 or 5 more times before she finally got it started again. That was the longest few min and I was shocked and embarrassed this happens to her. Come to find out that was basically happening everytime she filled up her car. Fast forward to present and it takes her 5 or 6 times to start her car a few times each day now. She somehow just deals with it. Everybody just knows not to have Rachel drive anywhere, and that’s become a running joke. But it’s getting old. She’s attached to the car for some odd reason. I really hate her car now, especially when its hot out and she can’t blast the AC until she gets the damn thing to start for us. Has your problem gotten any better the last few months?

Fml her damn car embarrassed the heck out of us again this weekend. We met up with some mutual college friends we hadn't seen in forever and of course her car decided that was a great time to act up. We were leaving a few min early while everyone was standing around saying goodbye, and Rach went to start her car to get it cooled off, but it stuttered a bunch and stalled right away. I knew that ment trouble, so I started walking away as she tried restarting it 2 or 3 really long times rather than wait for our friends to leave. Id rather no one has to see my babe go thrugh that, but she really has been beating it to death, it just feels rougher now as it cranks than even 3 weeks ago at the gas station. I guess it just embarrassed me watching her struggle with it in front of our friends for 5 excuiating min, we both looked at other other like, not now start this time come on, haha. 6th time was a charm lol, Def time to step up and buy her some good wheels I can be proud of

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