By December 10, 2012 2 Comments Read More →

Engine Won’t Start – No Dash Lights

Reader Question

I’ve got a Chevy Blazer four-door 4×4 and an auto mechanic who’s chomping at the bit to ding me for $800 for a new fuel pump.

Here’s what it’s doing. A conventional turnover of the key won’t start the vehicle. It turns over repeatedly – without the dash warning lights coming on – but won’t start.

A partial turn or a key-in, though, will start the vehicle – on the oft chance that the dash warning lights come on. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t. When they don’t, the vehicle won’t start. I keep trying the partial turn until they do, and then the vehicle starts.

Others – including a Chevrolet service adviser – have told me that the mechanic is trying to rip me off, and that I have an ignition problem.

Your thoughts?


Hey Bill,

I would need to test some things myself, but just from reading your email I would have to concur with the service adviser about a possible ignition problem. Ignition switch, lock cylinder or actuator rod inside the steering column type of problem.

Since you don’t have dashlights either, I can only assume you are not getting power from the ignition switch under the dash on the steering column. Its a cheap and pretty easy guess.

Easy test…….is there voltage at the fuel pump when it won’t start? If no power to the pump…….the pump is NOT the culprit.

You can sometimes bang on the bottom of the fuel tank with your fist or a rubber hammer AS you crank over the engine ….to help jump start a weak fuel pump.

These vehicles were notorious for bad fuel injectors nicknamed a SPIDER. The plastic fuel lines would leak and cause an internal fuel leak in the intake manifold area. Since it leaked fuel pressure, the common complaint was slow to start, excessive cranking time etc. etc.

Austin Davis

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."
  • Jeff Garcia

    I have a 1989 suburban V2500 that won’t start won’t turn over and no lights come on at all. Already changed the battery and cables are in good condition. What’s causing the issue

  • Mark

    I have the same prob. It is in deed the ignition switck. If you use a star screw driver you can remove the two screws under the steering wheel and the knob to control the tilt wheel will pull out. Just pull it towards the door.

    There is a bundle wires right there coming out of the ignition switch. Turn on the key if you dont get dash lights give a gentle push on the wires and the lights will come on and the truck will start.

    It is a short in the harness that is causeing the problem. To correct it you will need the replace the ignition switch.

    Advance Auto Parts part no: IG22681 $170.17