I’ve generally found that if the engine doesn’t crank when I turn the key, it’s a weak or dead battery. With a dead battery, nothing happens and you hear nothing. With a weak battery, you can generally hear the selonid click as it engages. That’s a sign you have enough voltage to engage the selonid but not enough to crank the engine. Of course either of these conditions could be the result of a weak or broken connection. In either case, I usually start by checking the battery.
I check for a weak or dead battery using a voltmeter. Set your voltmeter on D.C. volts. Place he positive lead on the positive battery terminal and the negative lead on the negative terminal. (Again, a couple electrical leads with alligator clips really helps with this procedure.) For a properly charged battery, the voltage should read something a little above 12 volts. If you have a weak, dead or uncharged battery the voltage will drastically drop when you turn the key to the start position.
If the voltage drops, first try charging the battery. If this fails to correct the problem, you’ll have to replace the battery.
If the voltage doesn’t drop and the engine still doesn’t crank when you turn the key to the start position, you have a weak or broken connection