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What is wrong with my 1998 Chevy Cavalier that will not start or turn over. on 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier

When I turn the key to start the car, all I get is single loud "click". Like hitting a hammer (not too hard) on a metal pipe.

This happened all of sudden with no prior issues at all. The battery is fully charged. The starter relay is good - when I pulled it out I didn't get a click. The dash lights come on and go off when I try to start the car. I read that the check engine light should come on if the computer is okay - no issues there. I checked all the wires going to the starter, including the ground wire - they are all secure with no visible cracks or other issues.

When I listen under the hood, the loud click seems to be coming from the starter itself or maybe even below it? Is it the starter? I've never seen a starter just suddenly fail without warning before?

Asked by for the 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier
'Most likely' the starter has failed. It happens! Replace the starter ASSEMBLY if defective!
2 more answers
It could be the starter selinoid
Just a thought here,my friend owned a much older Chevy Cavalier Z24 (yes different I know) and when her starter stopped working out on the road one day a mechanic stopped to help and pulled out a hammer,gave the starter a couple of taps and sure enough it started! It was a known issue with her car he said and while they should have fixed it on any other models,you might just try it if just to move the car.