Neutral Safety Switch [Archive] - Forum


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01-26-2014, 11:02 AM
As everyone knows it's been extremely cold lately. For the past couple days it was close to zero degrees and my car wouldn't start. Battery is just fine, fuel pump powers on and pressurizes. There's just no click when I turn the key. One day it worked by putting it in neutral but then the next day it wouldn't start in neutral either. Could this be the neutral safety switch or is it more likely the starter? Haven't had much time to test anything yet but the car did start just fine yesterday once it hit 30 degrees.

01-26-2014, 02:34 PM
I'd say it's more likely the starter. Is it spinning at all though? Or just not turning over the engine? And what have you checked on the battery? A lot of people think the battery is fine, but the cold weather really affects them. It lowers their voltage, and if the cables, battery contacts, or ground cables have any corrosion on them, that can cut down the amount of voltage and current getting to the start as well. Might not be getting enough voltage to activate the solenoid and/or turn over the engine.

01-26-2014, 03:04 PM
The battery is just under a year old and I tried jumping it in case that was the problem. Let it sit with cables on it for almost ten minutes and still got nothing. The battery posts are clean and free of corrosion. I can test with a multimeter to make sure. When I turned the key there is no click at all from starter and the engine doesn't even try to turn over. It's about forty degrees right now so I think I may pull the starter before the cold that way I can test it under the extreme cold that's coming again tomorrow. I did some more searching after posting and what I mean is maybe use jumper cables and hook the cold starter to a warm battery tomorrow.

01-26-2014, 04:25 PM
Salt induced corrosion issues are very common at this time of the year. As per previous posts, a battery issue or connection issue is the most common. A PNPS problem is certainly not out of the question, but I don't see very many failures of that component on this application. Whip out your test light (or DVOM if you have one) and check power at the starter before pulling anything apart. If you have a DVOM, a voltage drop test from battery + to starter power lug is the proper troubleshooting test. Ideally, you will show less than .1 volt drop from battery power to the starter under load (.05v or less is the target).

A PNPS or shifter adjustment issue can be 'backyard' tested by holding the key in 'crank' and raking the shifter from park back down through the RND gates - any cranking as you move the lever indicates a PNPS problem.