You rely on your car to get you to school, work, and everywhere in between. When it’s time to go you expect to turn the key (or push the button), put it in gear, and be on your merry way. Except for the day when your car decides it doesn’t want to start and to make matters worse, you’re probably running late or it’s pouring rain.
Don’t let your car not starting get you down, it happens to every driver at some point. Learn what to look for when your car won’t start so you know whether it’s something as simple as a battery or a major repair is due.
What To Do When Your Car Won’t Start
In order for your vehicle to start, it needs adequate voltage, cranking momentum, compression, and fuel. When one of these elements fails, your car will have difficulty starting. Starting the vehicle can be divided into two parts: the first part involves the electricity that is needed to awaken the engine; the second part requires fuel, spark, and compression. Once you’re able to determine which part of the process has failed, it will make determining which component is responsible easier to find for repair.
When your car won’t start, it’s important to determine whether the car is not turning over or failing to crank. When a car won’t start and you do not hear the starter engage, it’s considered a no-crank, no start. When you attempt to start your vehicle and hear nothing but a bunch of clicking, that is the sound of the starter attempting to crank the engine to life. That is referred to as a crank, no start.
What To Do If Your Car Won’t Start and No Crank
Your car needs a burst of electricity to rouse the engine. The starter, battery, and alternator are the first three components that are used to get the engine started. If one of these mechanisms has failed, your engine won’t have the initiative or power to start. Common issues related to the no crank and their symptoms include:
- Dead battery – When your battery goes out, it’s often with no warning. In fact, your car may have started just fine yesterday only for it to refuse to start today. Often you can tell the battery is responsible when the radio doesn’t work, the dashboard warning light comes on, or your headlights won’t turn on. Here are some tips for a longer lasting battery.
- Loose or dirty battery terminals – When corrosion develops on the battery terminals, it hinders the vehicle’s ability to start. Visually inspect the terminals to ensure no corrosion is present and that they are tightly connected to the battery.
- Failed starter – The starter is an electrical motor connected to the battery that signals the internal workings of the engine to crank once the ignition switch is activated. If the engine doesn’t receive the crank signal from the starter, it won’t start. Signs the starter went out include lights on the dashboard, intermittent starting issues, dim lights when attempting to start, whirring sounds, burning smell, or smoke from underneath the engine.
- Faulty ignition switch – The ignition switch is like a decoder or an anti-theft module. It recognizes the vehicle’s key and activates the electrical system allowing the car to start. When the ignition switch fails the key may not turn at all, or thedash lights may fail to come on when the key is turned, or button is pushed
What To Do If Your Car Won’t Start and Cranks
Once the electricity has jumped the engine into action telling it to fire up to create spark and compression with the use of fuel, the engine will start. However, when spark, fuel, or compression are absent, your car won’t start, and you’ll hear a clicking sound indicating the starter is trying to do its part. Common issues related to the crank and no start and their symptoms include:
- Lack of fuel – No gas, a failed fuel pump, or clogged fuel filter can prevent the engine from starting. Fuel is a key element that is required to begin the combustion process. When fuel is not present, the air has nothing to mix with, the spark plugs have nothing to spark, and the engine will not be able to move. Common signs of fuel system issues include lack of power, misfires, sputtering, stalling, and poor gas mileage.
- Worn spark plugs – Many vehicles can last for as much as 100,000 miles before needing spark plugs but when they are in failure in addition to the possibility of causing a no start, they can also cause problems such as rough idling, misfires, check engine light on, and poor acceleration.
- No Compression – Compression is what is needed to create the tiny explosion for creating pressure, forcing the crankshaft to turn and send power to the wheels. Lack of compression is often caused by damaged piston rings, faulty lifters or camshaft, or timing belt. A vehicle experiencing low compression will run rough and experience misfires. If compression is absent from all cylinders, the car will not start.
At Sun Auto Service we understand that starting issues are inconvenient and that you need your car to get from point A to point B and that’s why we guarantee fast, efficient, and quality service that you can trust. When your car won’t start, give us a call. We can provide towing when your vehicle is immobile and same day service to get you back on the road. There’s no need to worry when your car won’t start when you have Sun Auto Service on your side!