1998 Buick Regal GS won't start


Buick Newbie
Buick Ownership
1998 Buick Regal GS
Before you tell me to "search because this has already been answered" please know that I have searched this website extensively and also searched Google using the site:buickforums.com so it only searches this website and I haven't found an answer that solved the issue.

The problem:
1998 Buick Regal GS will not start. Put key in ignition, turn to accessory, all gauge cluster lights come on, [aftermarket] radio works, windows and sunroof open and close at normal speed. Power locks work, doors lock and unlock with key and fob. Turn key to start/crank, cluster lights all go out and then absolutely nothing. Turn to start/crank and no starter clicks, one click under dash when turned to start/crank and one click when returns to run/accessory, then nothing. The car had an aftermarket deck installed about a month ago and the only original key I got when I bought the car is already pretty hammered but I've daily driven this car for six years and never experienced this problem.

What I've tried/done: Checked all fuses and switched similar [large] fuses under hood to double-check. Cleaned key and fob internal with alcohol, lubricated ignition key hole with powdered graphite. Pulled long dash panel to "try to push wiring harness on top of steering column" [close to the steering wheel, not the one at the bottom of the column that I've also read about]. Started in park and neutral - while holding key to start/crank position, shifted from park to reverse to neutral to drive and back and the car only chimes when in drive (or below) and reverse. Tilted the steering column up and down while turning key to start/crank. Hit the key with my palm towards ignition. Checked all ground wires associated with battery, starter, alternator, distributor - nothing frayed or loose.

What I've tried/done that hasn't worked according to the forums: I've read that I should "turn the key to start/crank and let fall back to run/accessory and let the security light stay on for ten minutes and repeat twice to relearn the electronic key". This did not work as when the key falls back to run/accessory, the security light turns off after a few seconds.

My next test is going to be using an multimeter at various locations, but I am not mechanically inclined towards American cars (give me an early-build W220 S-Class and I'll get the bitch running like a showroom queen). YouTube videos and online forums aren't super clear [to me] on how/where to check for electrical current.

Any help anyone can provide would be amazing. This is my only vehicle and I don't have money to buy a new one or to have the dealership start the car the first try and not find the problem (father's Envoy is part of the GM ignition recall, but not specifically recalled so we have paid to have the ignition replaced four times in two years).

Edit: Update: I used a multimeter and tested the hot wires for the starter and alternator and both get proper voltage. Tried jumping the car with a jump box and then with another car, no luck. Next step is bringing the battery to a shop to be tested. After that I'll probably get a new key. If that doesn't work...new ignition?
Last edited:


Full Member
Maynardville, TN
Buick Ownership
95 Monte Carlo L36
If it is the security system keeping the car from starting it's the ignition switch that needs to be replaced most likely. You can read the ohms from the chip in the key and find an online site for ordering keys to see what the resistance should be. Theres 15 different resistance values for the chip, the one closest to your reading is what the reading should be. It will probably be off some, but pretty sure the module that reads the key has some tolerance as to the exact resistance. So close should still work. If the key is close i would suspect the ignition switch. One odd thing to try first, don't laugh, it's a shot in the dark, but turn the hazzards on and see if it tries to do anything while trying to start it. I had to do a warranty repair on a motor swap because it wouldn't start, 2000ish buick something, not quite sure, but anyhow, there was a short in the steering wheel column (i think in the clock spring), whenever the lights were on, it would try to start, but in intervals with the flashing of the bulbs, got it started and it would cut out whenever the lights went off, comeback to life when on and so forth. Didn't get to dig to deep as when the boss found out it wasn't related to the swap he sent it back. Something to try anyhow. If the security light is turning off while in the run position i would think the issue isn't with the key or ignition switch. If it were the light would stay on or flash the entire time the key is in the run position, or the security light would come on when you go from run to crank.
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