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Spinning Starter

Q. 1995 Buick Regal Custom periodically not starting on hot humid day following running air conditioning.

  • 1995 Buick Regal Custom
  • 3800 V-6
  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,000 (yes, very low)
  • Fuel Injection
  • ABS brakes, four wheel disc
  • P/S, A/C, Cruise control
Out Foxing The Fox?

I purchased this car from a family member 3 months ago with 14,800 miles. Current mileage is 16,500 miles. The previous owner had similar periodic problems after a gas filter change done by the dealership. After several visits over a course of 1 to 2 years the dealership believed to have resolved the problem.

So did we, until today. I am from the Chicago area, we had severe thunderstorms last night, a lot of humidity, and very hot during the day. After work, 4:30 pm, I went to do an errand approximately 10-15 minutes away. Then parked the car for 5 minutes. Then drove another 10-15 minutes parked for 30 minutes. Then drove another 10 minutes and parked for 25 minutes.

When I attempted to start the car, the starter would turn, but the engine would not turn over. I figured I would wait another 10-15 minutes, but no luck.

I arranged to be picked up with the intent to come back later. Approximately, 1-2 hours later, I went back to the store. The car started right up. At home, it restarted 4-5 times without a problem. Any ideas what to do? I need a reliable car that I can trust and do not know if I can after this situation.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

A. If I read this correctly, the starter spins but not the engine. If this is indeed the case, then I would suspect the bendix in the starter is not engaging.

The bendix is part of the starter solenoid and kicks out the starter gear to engage the ring gear on the flywheel and that is what spins the engine. If the bendix doesn't kick out, the starter just spins. Replacing the starter will correct this problem.

The other possibility is a stripped ring gear. This can be checked by removing the starter and visually inspecting the ring gear. There may be an flywheel cover that can be removed to make this inspection easier. In either case you will need to use a screwdriver to turn the flywheel to inspect the whole ring gear.

If the ring gear does have a stripped area, the transmission will have to be removed and the flywheel/ring gear replaced.

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