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What to do When Your Vehicle Won’t Start

When you get into your vehicle, turn the key and nothing happens, it can be a major disappointment. The trouble with a vehicle that won’t start is that there are quite a few things that could be wrong. Troubleshooting is imperative if you want to figure out the problem and get things fixed so you can get moving again. Here’s a look at some common issues and what you should check if this happens to you.

Dead Battery

Many times a car that won’t start just has a dead battery. Often when the battery is dead, you will hear a click when you turn the key. Sometimes, though, it makes no noise at all. This usually indicates the battery is completely dead. Other signs of a dead battery include no dash lights or interior lights coming on when the door is opened or the key turned in the ignition, and slow moving windshield wipers. The windshield wipers can be a great way to check the battery.

You can try jumpstarting it, which will usually fix the issue if the battery is simply run down. Otherwise, you may need to take the battery in to have it tested. It could be completely dead, and you’ll need a new one.

You should also check the battery cables. Make sure they are tight and there isn’t corrosion. If they are loose, tighten them up and try starting your vehicle again. Clean off any corrosion, too.

Spark Plugs

Sometimes the spark plugs are to blame when a car won’t start. You can look under the hood to see if they are sparking when the ignition is turned. Typically, the engine will crank and just won’t actually start up if the plugs are your issue.

Distributor Cap

If you notice that your car won’t start only when it is raining, you could need a new distributor cap. Check the cap for moisture on the inside, which indicates it is worn and needs to be replaced.


Sometimes the ignition switch can go bad. Try jiggling your vehicle key in the ignition. If this fixes the issue and your vehicle starts, then you should get it to the service center for a new ignition switch.

Trying to pinpoint what is wrong when your car suddenly won’t start can be a problem. However, many times issues that lead to this problem will give you signals beforehand, so always pay attention. If something seems off with your vehicle, check it out to prevent a car that won’t start.