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Discussion Starter #1
about 2 months ago my wife's RIO 5 starting have what I thought was a battery issue. Its a 2009 (bought the last night of cash for clunkers) with 75K miles.

Symptoms look just like the battery had drained, yet when I tested the battery and charging circuit (After I put the battery charger on the car for a few minutes and started it) but those test fine. When you go to start the car, the panel will light up, turn the key and nothing some times.

Quite often you have to hold the key on start, then the panel will flicker, and the car will start to turn over (begrudgingly) like it was low battery, and then finally after 15 seconds it will fire up.

I even chased pulling every fuse out of the car, she has no power seats or windows, so anything that was completely optional got pulled, same symptoms.

Debating about the starter being the cause, but it looks more like a current draw problem.

Any ideas?
 

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Sounds like a corrosion problem... Have you removed and cleaned the battery terminals and wires? Also check the wire from the battery (-) negative terminal to where it is bolted to the body of the car and also the heavy (+) positive wire going to the starter ...make sure it's clean and tight..
The panel lights flickering is a good indication that there is a bad primary (heavy current) connection and ALL electrical devices are being effected.
You mentioned "I even chased pulling every fuse out of the car, she has no power seats or windows, so anything that was completely optional got pulled, same symptoms." you do know that there is another fuse panel under the hood/bonnet and the starter relay is located there.
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Battery Terminals are clean, and I did chase down the grounds. I did look at the main, and reseated all of the fuses and relays just to make sure. No corrosion on anything there. Having the starter replaced right now by one of my friends who owns a repair shop (and they were puzzled too). Not to worried about the part and hour of labor, and if that doesn't fix it, well I've ruled out the simple stuff.

more to follow in an hour or two.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The guys at the shop started it several times (after it had already run) and replaced the starter anyways per my instructions.

Wife gets in the care drives it a mile down the road, stops in a store for 20 minutes, and comes back out, and........it doesn't start, same as before.
 
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