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Problems Starting a 2002 Chevy Silverado Truck

by Dwight Malone

If you're in a situation where you turn the key in your 2002 Chevy Silverado and the truck won't start, a number of potential explanations exist for why it may not start. By checking several key components in your Silverado, you can pinpoint the problem yourself and possibly fix it. You can do much of this troubleshooting even if you have limited or no mechanical experience.

Check the dashboard when you are trying to start your Silverado and look to see if the security light is on. If it is, there is an issue with your Passlock anti-theft system. With Passlock, your key emits a radio frequency to a receiver inside the vehicle. Only once the Passlock system has confirmed that the key is valid will you be able to start your vehicle. If it detects a problem, your fuel system will shut down and the anti-theft system will require servicing by a trained mechanic.

Push the accelerator to the floor while holding the key in the start position if your Silverado has not started after 10 seconds of cranking the engine. Chevrolet recommends waiting 15 seconds in between each attempt at starting the vehicle and not cranking it for more than 15 seconds per attempt, to prevent draining the battery or burning up the starter.

Check that your Silverado is in either Park or Neutral if it has an automatic transmission, as it will not start if it is in gear. If you have a Silverado with a manual transmission, be sure you are pressing the clutch pedal while turning the key to the start position.

Remove the spark plugs with a spark plug wrench and visually inspect the tips of each plug. If they are dirty or fouled up with an excessive carbon build-up, replace each one. Depending on which engine you have in your Silverado, you will have either six or eight spark plugs. Chevrolet recommends changing the spark plugs on your Silverado every 60,000 miles.

Check to make sure your Silverado is getting fuel to the engine, which will require a two-part test. First, attach a fuel pressure gauge in the fuel line before the fuel filter. Crank the engine while someone else takes a reading, which should be 50 to 60 PSI. If the reading is low, or if no fuel pressure is present, replace the fuel pump. If the reading is within range, perform the same test in the fuel line in front of the fuel filter, which is along the frame rail on the driver's side. If the pressure is lower than the desired 50 to 60 PSI, replace the fuel filter. Chevrolet recommends changing the fuel filter every 60,000 miles.

Check the connections to the battery if the engine is turning over slowly or not at all. The battery on your Silverado is behind the driver's side headlight. If the terminals are loose, a sufficient charge cannot be delivered to the starter to start the engine. If the connections are loose, tighten them with an adjustable wrench.

Confirm that your battery is properly charged. To do so, turn on the interior lights and the radio and crank the engine. If the lights and radio flicker and die out, or if you just hear a clicking noise, the battery is weak and should be replaced. To get the vehicle started immediately, you can try to jumpstart it off another vehicle.

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About the Author

Dwight Malone is a journalist who has worked for various Chicago-area newspapers, including the "Chicago Tribune" and "Naperville Sun." He has been a writer, editor and graphic designer since 2000. Malone studied journalism at Eastern Illinois University.

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