Chevrolet Cavalier Won’t Start: Top 14 Causes & Solutions

As a certified auto mechanic with in excess of twenty years of experience, I’ve seen a decent share of Chevys that refuse to start. Hi, I’m Robby and I get how annoying this can be for people, especially when you have things to do and places to be. But don’t panic! In this article, I’ll share my inner knowledge on the primary reasons your Chevy Cavalier won’t start, along with helpful tips to get you back on the road speedily.

With advanced certifications in electrical systems and engine performance, I’ve identified and fixed just about every “no start” issue out there. I’ll guide you through how to analyze your Cavalier’s symptoms, zero in on the root cause, and determine if it’s a home remedy or best left to a professional mechanic. I’ll also give recommendations for products that can help you solve your issue, as well as make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.

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Quick Solution Alert! 🚗💡

To save you time, this might be the quick solution you need.

An online mechanic can help you solve the issue much faster, and save money doing it.

They help 1000s of people every day in your position, save a lot of time, money and risk getting their vehicle repaired. Having a friendly expert mechanic guiding and advising you every step of the way, is the best thing you can do. You will have your issue fixed faster, and likely cost much less.

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You can read on, or get instant help with your issue. We have the best online mechanics, but before asking them, we recommend asking our AI mechanic first as it’s 100% FREE.

9 out of ten times the AI mechanic is able to help you solve the problem for free, and if it’s not, you can chat with a human mechanic on the next page anyway.  Try it for free below. 

Drained or Dead Battery in a Chevrolet Cavalier 

car wont start but battery is good
Image Credit: MechanicAnswer.com

The most common reason a Chevrolet doesn’t crank is a dead or weak battery. Your battery delivers the initial jolt of electricity to turn over the engine and get it started.

Indications of a dead battery:

  • Silence upon turning the key – no clicking or turnover
  • Accessories not powering on
  • Hard time starting in cold weather

How to Fix It: Keep jumper cables on hand for a dead battery situation. Jump starting your Chevrolet Cavalier using another vehicle or jump box can deliver enough juice to get it cranked.

You can also clean dirty battery terminals that are blocking a good connection. If problems continue, have your battery tested – it may need replacing if worn out.

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Portable Car Battery Jump Starter Charger - NOCO Boost Plus GB40

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NOCO Boost Plus GB40 1000A UltraSafe Car Battery Jump Starter

YONHAN Battery Charger Fully-Automatic

Energizer Jumper Cables for Car Battery, Heavy Duty

Bad Alternator in a Chevrolet Cavalier 

is my alternator stopping my car from starting? If your battery checks out but your Chevy Cavalier still won’t turn over, the culprit may be a bad alternator. This key component charges your battery while driving and powers the electrical system.

Clues of a bad alternator:

  • Battery warning light coming on
  • Electronics dimming
  • Hard time starting, particularly following short trips

The Fix: Get your alternator checked immediately by a mechanic. A bad alternator can quickly drain your battery. This will need to be replaced by an experienced mechanic.

Faulty Spark Plugs in a Chevrolet Cavalier 

Auto mechanic and spark plug Spark plugs ignite the fuel/air mixture in the cylinders to power your car. When they are dirty, bad, or corroded, your Cavalier may not start due to no spark.

Clues of bad spark plugs:

  • Poor fuel economy
  • Rough idle
  • Engine sputtering

The Fix: Spark plugs need periodic replacement as they degrade. Most last 30k+ miles. Have your plugs inspected and change any bad ones. Using quality gas prevents buildup.

Ignition System Issues in a Chevrolet Cavalier

My car wont start, is it a faulty ignition switch? Issues with parts like the switch, lock cylinder, fob, or wiring can prevent your Chevy from starting.

Symptoms of ignition trouble:

  • No noise upon turning key
  • Instrument panel malfunctioning
  • Key won’t turn

The Fix: For fob issues, replace the battery. For other problems, have the system diagnosed and repaired professionally. If you need a new Chevy key fob you can get one online here.

Starter Failure in a Chevrolet Cavalier

Starter motor problems in car The starter motor engages when you turn the key to crank the engine. If it’s worn out, your Chevrolet Cavalier may not crank.

Symptoms of a bad starter:

  • No noise upon turning key
  • Clicking but no turnover
  • Unusual noises

The Fix: Have your starter tested and replaced if faulty. This requires the help of a professional mechanic to diagnose and repair.

Transmission Not in Park/Neutral in a Chevrolet Cavalier

transmission not in park so car won't start If your transmission isn’t in Park or Neutral, your Chevrolet’s safety features will prevent it from starting.

The Fix: Shift into Park/Neutral and try once more. If it only starts in one gear, you may have a faulty neutral safety switch needing repair. This will need to be repaired by a local mechanic near you.

Clogged Fuel Filter in a Chevrolet Cavalier

my car wont start but clicks, could it be the fuel filter? A blocked fuel filter can constrain fuel flow to the engine, preventing your Chevy Cavalier from starting.

Symptoms of a clogged filter:

  • Hard time starting
  • Engine sputtering
  • Decreased fuel economy

The Fix: Change the filter per your schedule or if thought clogged. Use quality gas and change regularly. You can have a local mechanic repair this for you, or repair it yourself, maybe with the help and guidance of an online mechanic.

Faulty Fuel Pump in a Chevrolet Cavalier

faulty fuel pump The fuel pump delivers gas from the tank to the engine. If it fails, your Chevrolet won’t start due to no fuel.

Signs of a bad pump:

  • No sound upon turning key
  • Difficulty starting
  • Stalling when running

The Fix: Have your pump tested. If faulty, a mechanic near you will need to replace it.

Compression Issues in a Chevrolet Cavalier

auto mechanic doing a tune up Proper compression is required to combust the air/fuel mixture. Low compression from leaks can lead to a no start.

Symptoms of compression issues:

  • Difficulty starting
  • Rough idle
  • Lack of power

The Fix: Testing can confirm low compression. For diagnostics and carrying out this repair, a local mechanic is usually needed and will have to replace the worn engine components.

Timing Belt Failure in a Chevrolet Cavalier

broken timing belt car The timing belt synchronizes the camshaft and crankshaft. If it snaps, the valves and pistons won’t be timed properly and your Chevrolet Cavalier won’t start.

Symptoms of a bad timing belt:

  • No start
  • Unusual clicking sound

The Fix: Have your belt inspected and replaced immediately if broken. This requires a local professional mechanic to replace the timing belt of your Chevy Cavalier.

Detached or Loose Battery Cable in a Chevrolet Cavalier

122654fa c6ae 4f2a 98d9 84b95ea016ca A detached battery cable can block electricity flow in your Chevy. This common problem can prevent starting.

Signs of a bad cable:

  • Corroded terminals
  • Power loss from moving cables
  • Frayed wiring

The Fix: Clean corroded terminals and tighten loose connections. Damaged cables need replacement. You can get expert Chevy mechanic advice and guidance online or with a local mechanic.

Bad Relays in a Chevrolet Cavalier

faulty relay switch preventing car from starting Relays control power to components like the starter, fuel pump, and computer. Failure can prevent your Chevy Cavalier from starting or running right.

Diagnosing relay problems:

  • Swap relays to test
  • Have relays checked by a mechanic

The Fix: Faulty relays must be replaced, often after a larger diagnostic. You will likely need a local mechanic to diagnose if the faulty relay is preventing your Chevy from starting.

Empty Gas Tank

car wont start because of no fuel Running your tank completely empty can cause a no-start due to lack of fuel. This seems obvious however it often happens because of an inaccurate or broken fuel gauge.

The Fix: Keep your tank at least 1/4 full to avoid unexpected emptying. If issues persist, have your fuel sender unit checked by a professional mechanic.

Engine Flooding

Overfill fuel causing car to not start Sometimes an engine can flood with too much fuel, preventing starting due to wet spark plugs. This is most common in older carbureted engines.

The Fix: Press the gas pedal fully and crank briefly to flush the system so the plugs can spark. If problems continue, have the carburetor adjusted by a professional local mechanic.

Top 3 Ways To Get a Mechanics Help

Ask the mechanic With so many potential causes for a no start issue, it can be challenging to determine the exact cause yourself. In some cases, using aid from an experienced mechanic can be time-saving and give you peace of mind.

These are the 3 ways to get a mechanic’s help in starting your Chevy again.

1. Local Auto Repair Garage Near You

Local Garage mechanics This is the regular way to get it repaired, however, it can be very wasteful in time and money, transporting your vehicle to them, plus expensive garage fees as they often have expensive overhead costs etc, that they have to pass on to the customer.

2. A Mobile Chevrolet Mechanic Near You

mobile mechanic to get my car starting again Having a qualified mobile mechanic come to your Chevrolet Cavalier and repair it on-site can be a great time and money saver. The best mobile mechanics we can recommend in the USA are RepairSmith and YourMechanic. We have recommended them thousands of times, and they both have great prices, services and coverage across most of the USA.

3. Chat with a Chevy Mechanic Online

when to ask a mechanic This is a wonderful choice for most DIYers or car enthusiasts. It’s many times  an easy repair you can do on your own, like switching out or charging the battery. In these instances, if you understand what to do in a stepwise fashion, you can do it yourself, you don’t need to pay a mechanic locally. Well, it’s your lucky day, an online mechanic can supply all the assistance, advice, and recommendations you need, right away by online chat. You can then carry out the straightforward repair on your own.

The best online mechanic we suggest is JustAnswer, and through our link, you can get a free trial of their assistance for just $5, inquire unlimited inquiries for a week, get the assistance you need, and you do not need to keep going with the service after that. We love JustAnswer for this reason, professional auto mechanic assistance for just $5 is an unmatchable price.

The licensed mechanics at JustAnswer’s Ask a Mechanic service are ready 24/7 to provide remote diagnostics and advice. The advantages of querying a mechanic online include:

  • Convenience: Get help from the comfort of your residence without having to schedule an appointment or wait at a shop.
  • Fast answers; Mechanics respond rapidly with likely issues and solutions based on your description.
  • Cost savings: Pay per question rather than full diagnostic fees – great for basic troubleshooting.
  • Documentation: All conversations are saved in writing, providing helpful reference.
  • Expert help; Skilled licensed mechanics have the expertise to troubleshoot Chevy Cavalier|Chevrolet Cavalier no starting issues with ease.

You will get matched with the best auto mechanic for your particular case, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Cavalier or your Chevrolet Celebrity won’t start, the expert Chevy mechanic you are paired with, will be the best for the job.

So next time you find yourself searching online for something like “Chevrolet starts after jump but wont start again“, consider our Chrevrolet specialist mechanic near me service.  In just minutes, you can leverage expert Chevrolet knowledge to help get your beloved Cavalier fired up again.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) When a Chevrolet Cavalier Won’t Start

Chevrolet Cavalier won’t start but lights turn on?

If your Chevrolet Cavaliers lights illuminate but it still won’t start, the issue is likely not related to the battery. It’s highly possible there is a problem with the starter motor. Investigate if you hear any clicking sounds when trying to turn the key. If so, the starter motor is attempting to activate but failing. Get a mechanic examine the starter motor – it may need to be repaired or replaced.

Chevrolet Cavalier won’t start but has power?

When your Chevrolet Cavalier has power (lights, radio etc work) but fails to start, there may be a fuel delivery problem. Issues like a faulty fuel pump relay could stop fuel getting to the engine. Without enough fuel, combustion can’t happen and the engine won’t start. Listen near the back seat when turning the key – you should hear the fuel pump prime for a few seconds. If not, have a mechanic check the fuel system.

Chevrolet Cavalier won’t start but battery is fine?

If your Chevrolet Cavalier’s battery checks out OK and is fully charged, but the car still refuses to start, the underlying cause is likely electrical. Potential culprits include a bad ignition switch, broken sensor, or wiring problems. As electrical issues can be tricky, diagnosis by a professional mechanic is best. They can accurately identify the specific electrical fault and have it repaired.

Chevrolet Cavalier won’t start just clicking?

When you turn the key and there’s only a clicking noise but the engine fails to turn over, the most common cause is a faulty starter motor. The click comes from the starter solenoid trying to engage the starter motor, but the motor itself fails to spin up the engine. As the starter motor needs mechanical repair or replacing, consult with a reliable mechanic to get your Chevrolet Cavalier running again.

Why is my Chevrolet Cavalier car not cranking but I have power?

If your Chevrolet Cavalier won’t start but the lights and electronics power on, the most likely causes are problems in the starter motor, ignition switch, or neutral safety switch. Defective ignition components prevent the engine from turning over even when battery power is present.

Why does my Chevrolet Cavalier have power but won’t turn over?

When your Chevrolet Cavalier has power to the lights and accessories but doesn’t start when trying to start, the problem is often a bad starter system or related wiring problem. This prevents the starter from engaging to turn the engine over for starting.

What would cause my Chevrolet Cavalier car unexpectedly not start?

Unexpected no-start issues can occur from disconnected battery cables, fuel pump or relay failure, broken timing belt, or an empty gas tank. These urgent issues can arise without warning and prevent your Chevrolet Cavaliers engine from starting.

Why doesn’t my Chevrolet Cavalier car start but the battery is fine?

With a good battery, the culprit may be a faulty alternator not charging the system, bad spark plugs providing no ignition, or a fuel flow problem preventing combustion. Your Chevy’s engine needs air, fuel, compression and spark to run.

What are signs your Chevrolet Cavalier starter is bad?

Symptoms of a bad starter include no noise upon turning the key, a single click but no turnover, unusual grinding sounds, and difficult cranking. These indicate starter failure and the need for replacement by a local mechanic.

Why doesn’t my Chevrolet Cavalier start but battery and alternator is good?

If the battery and alternator check out, common culprits are bad spark plugs, clogged fuel filter, blown fuse, immobilizer issue, and starter relay failure. Thorough testing of all electrical and fuel systems are needed by a qualified local mechanic.

Interesting Facts About the Chevrolet Cavalier

Did you know that the Chevrolet Cavalier was actually the first car to offer a remote start system as a factory-installed option? That’s right, back in 1989, the Cavalier was ahead of its time with this innovative feature. And if that’s not cool enough, the Cavalier also holds the title for being the first car to offer a three-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment. Talk about breaking new ground! Plus, the Cavalier was the first car to introduce a convertible model in the compact car segment. So, if you’re lucky enough to own a Cavalier, you’re driving a piece of automotive history with some seriously impressive firsts!

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Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just $5.
  2. Get in-person help from a Mobile Mechanic. We recommend YourMechanic. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. Instant free quote online below. We recommend the online mechanic first, as it’s cheaper, and you may not need an in-person mechanic.

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Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just $5.
  2. Get in-person help from a Mobile Mechanic Near You. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. If there are none near you, you will be redirected to the online mechanic.

Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just £5.
  2. Get help from a Mobile Mechanic. We  recommend Fixter. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. Instant free quote online below. We recommend the online mechanic first, as it’s cheaper for you, and you may not need an in-person mechanic.

Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just $5.
  2. Get in-person help from a Mobile Mechanic. We recommend YourMechanic. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. Instant free quote online below. We recommend the online mechanic first, as it’s cheaper, and you may not need an in-person mechanic.

Where Can I Find My VIN?

Your vehicle’s unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) can be found on the title document, the vehicle registration, and the insurance policy. It is a series letters and numbers like this as example: WAUGC0896JA235262. The VIN can also be located on the following locations on the vehicle itself:

how to find VIN on vehicle