Main IndexAuto Repair Home Search Posts SEARCH
Who's Online WHO'S
Log in LOG

Search Auto Parts

Ignition Gremlins: Intermittent starting in cold temps, and more

  Email This Post

New User

May 15, 2021, 5:54 AM

Post #1 of 3 (405 views)
Ignition Gremlins: Intermittent starting in cold temps, and more Sign In

Hello all!
2005 Pontiac Montana SV6 I purchased used a couple years ago.

Two somewhat intermittent electrical problems that happen only in the winter:

1) Sometimes in the cold (-15C (5F) or colder) I have to put forward turning pressure on the key while it's in the ignition and I'm driving, so the electrical system/engine won't turn off. If the key is in the driving position, the electrical shuts down. This is intermittent, not consistent. Other times on cold-ish days (temps below freezing) , all is well and everything is working fine. On really cold days, it's consistently happening.(really cold meaning -20C (-4F) and colder)

That segues into:

2) Sometimes the ignition/electrical system won't engage/turn on at all in cold temps when I turn the key to start the vehicle. (meaning no dashboard start-up lights/gauges working, etc. If I remember right interior lights work if I turn them on, it's an ignition electrical thing)

This problem only happens in the winter, usually in colder temps but sometimes in warmer temps, but always when the temps are below freezing. Warmer days (still below freezing), the vehicle starts fine and the electrical system is fine.

I'm not understanding why both problems are completely unpredictable meaning on some cold days all is well and others it is not.

Really cold temps this past winter during a cold snap with temps of -20 C (-4F) and colder with windchill (windchill of -36C (-33F)) the ignition/electrical didn't work at all and the vehicle didn't start because when the key is turned in the ignition, nothing works electrically (no dashboard lights, etc.)

I've got a zero knowledge base on wiring and how to read electrical diagrams but am game to learn.

Suggestions? Thanks!

(This post was edited by Canadauser on May 15, 2021, 6:00 AM)

Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

May 15, 2021, 6:27 AM

Post #2 of 3 (393 views)
Re: Ignition Gremlins: Intermittent starting in cold temps, and more Sign In

All your symptoms point pretty clearly to a problem with the ignition lock and/or switch.
It needs to be inspected to determine the actual issue.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

May 15, 2021, 7:30 AM

Post #3 of 3 (387 views)
Re: Ignition Gremlins: Intermittent starting in cold temps, and more Sign In

? That type of cold (does where I am NOT now) strange things can happen. Keys for this and ignition switching as Hammer mentioned likely are just that IMO also. Those temp just happen to be the exact REAL temps of last Winter where I am, we deal with that + cars/vehicles are made to deal with it as well by design.
Try another OE key to this car if that solves it the one being used has the issue?
BTW, wind chill isn't the actual temp rather the speed of cooling off calculation if no wind. Driving along is wind-chill too, to extremes isn't exposure to key and switching inside,

  Email This Post

Feed Button

Search for (options) Privacy Sitemap