1997 Pontiac Sunfire starting problem...

155k miles, 2.4l engine with manual transmission.
Just went out to my car to start it, and nothing happened. The car started and ran fine 6 hours earlier when I took my son to school.
When the key moves from the "locked" position to the start position, the dashboard lights come on momentarily, then quickly turn off, then nothing. It's like I don't have the clutch in all the way, nothing.
The way the dashboard lights come on is strange. I can't get the key in a position where the lights stay on. It's just a flash, they're on between lock and start, no position in between do they stay on, just in that "in between" position.
Before I go and troubleshoot this thing in the cold, can someone give me a clue?
Any and all advice/suggestions appreciated.
Thanks, Brigitte
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Brigitte wrote:

Sounds like the battery is dead.
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I'll try to jump start it in the morning. If it works, I'll take it down and have it tested.
I didn't realize a battery would go dead without the slightest warning.
Thanks for your input.
Brigitte
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Brigitte wrote:

They usually give some sort of warning - Like dimming of the headlights when the engine is turned off. You have to be aware of the signs - they can be subtle.
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I have had batteries die on me right when the car was running. I have also had batteries that would start the car fine one day, then be completely dead 5 minutes after I shut it off. Your best bet would be, like you said, to get it jump-started and then get your battery tested. Here in Canada, Canadian Tire tests batteries for free, as do many other places. Just don't let them sell you there 'premium' battery if yours turns out to be bad ;-)
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