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How to Troubleshoot a 2003 Buick LeSabre that Doesn't Start

by Dwight Malone

The 2003 Buick LeSabre is a roomy four-door sedan powered by a six-cylinder engine. If you find yourself in a situation where your LeSabre won't start, there are a number of things you can look into, even if you're not a trained mechanic. As frustrating as it might be to get stranded, by keeping your cool and thinking through the steps, you might be able to save yourself a trip to the mechanic. Depending on the problem, it could be just a minor setback and an easy fix.

Check the security light on the dashboard to see if it is illuminated. The keys for the 2003 Buick LeSabre are equipped with a Personalized Automotive Security System (PASS) that work by sending a radio frequency from the key to the decoder in the vehicle. If the frequencies don't match, the ignition and fuel systems will be shut down. If the security light is illuminated when you try to start your vehicle, turn the ignition to the off position and try again. If this still doesn't work, try starting your LeSabre with another key that was issued with the car.

Check to make sure you don't have a blown ignition fuse. The fuse for the ignition is located in the engine compartment fuse box and is located near the firewall on the passenger's side. The ignition fuse is the No. 11 fuse. Pull it out and inspect the silver portion of the fuse. If the band is melted or broken, you should replace the fuse and try starting your LeSabre again.

Verify that your LeSabre is in park or neutral, as the starter will not engage if the transmission is in gear.

Verify that you have fuel in your tank. An electrical short on the fuel gauge or the sending unit can give you a false reading. Add a few gallons of fuel and try to start your LeSabre again.

Push the accelerator down to the floor and crank the engine for three seconds, which will clear out excess fuel from the injectors if your LeSabre is flooded. If the vehicle starts and then shuts off immediately, try to start the vehicle again, but hold down the pedal and crank the engine for six seconds. If the vehicle dies again, use the normal starting procedure, as the excess fuel should now be cleared out of the injectors.

Check the battery clamps on the terminals to be sure they are tight and free of corrosion. To access the battery, remove the rear seat cushion. Use an adjustable wrench to tighten the battery clamps if necessary, and clean off any corrosion with a wire brush. If the engine is turning over slowly, you may also have a dead or weak battery. You can attempt to jumpstart your LeSabre by connecting jumper cables from another car to the remote jumpstarting terminal on your car, which is located in the engine compartment on the passenger side.

Warning

  • When trying to start your LeSabre, Buick recommends to crank your engine for no more than 10 seconds at a time, with 15 seconds in between each attempt to prevent draining your battery or overheat your starter.

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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