Automobiles

Why Won’t My Car Start ? – Learn To Fix It Yourself

why wont my car start

The car starter problems is one of the most common issues that happen to every car owner. Your car can show the signal “I won’t start” at any time in your journey. When it happens, as a cautious owner, you should know the possible reasons for no start.  Remember, automotive is a complex system. It could show similar symptoms for several different reasons. But don’t worry. We have answers for your query “why wont my car start”. Hope the following table help you diagnose the problem quickly.

Car Wont Start Symptom Element To Check
No Cranks, No Lights And No Start Battery , Cable Connections
Car Cranks But Wont Start Fuel Supply, Spark Plug, Piston Rings, Injector
Car Starts Fine One Day And Dies The Other Day Battery, Carburettors
Car Starts After Turning The Key A Few Times Battery
Car Hesitates When Accelerating Spark Plug, Carburettors
Car Won’t Start Clicking Dead Battery, Faulty Solenoid, Loose Cable Connection
Engine Smokes, Starts And Then Stops Faulty Cold Start Valve
  • Pay attention to your engine when you turn the key in ignition. Observe the symptoms and run the diagnostics.

Imagine a situation, you turn the key and nothing happens or your engine cranks but not starting. What will you do? Unless otherwise you have some prior knowledge with DIY auto repair, you would make a call to your nearest mechanic shop or the service centre. They will get it repaired and return your car along with a bill that’s running anywhere between few hundreds to few thousand dollars. Not to mention, the tow truck fee will add up when you stuck in the middle of highways or in a place that is far away from the city.

To be frank, not every time your car needs a professional treatment. Here in this post, we list out some of the most common problems associated with a no start.  Some of them are easy and some of them require a hand of technician. However to decide the level of difficulty and the type of no start, you have to know all possible reasons for the car starter problems.

Why Won’t My Car Start ?

If your car fails to start, run diagnosis on the following causes. With each cause, we have also included a quick fix. Read all the trouble shooting info and keep it in your good memory. Otherwise bookmark it. It will help you on some day.

  1. Battery problem
  2. Problematic Battery Cables
  3. No Fuel
  4. Engine fuse or Faulty ECU
  5. Bad spark plug
  6. Fuel system
  7. Worn piston rings
  8. Bad injector
  9. Overheating
  10. Starter Solenoid
  11. Faulty Cold Start Valve
  12. Immobilizer

1.You May Have A Dead Battery or Weak Battery

Causes For Dead Battery

Though there are many reasons for dead battery some of the most prominent reasons are ,

  • Forgetting to switch off the lights
  • Accidentally leaving your ignition switch on for long
  • Having the faulty electrical components inside which can drain up the battery quickly
  • The battery is old and it’s not capable of holding the charge enough to operate the starter motor

How To Fix a Dead Car Battery

The maximum lifetime of a car battery is 2 to 3 years. If yours cross this limit, we suggest you to replace it with a new one.

a)If you are looking for a permanent fix, replace your old battery with a new one.

b) If you want a temporary fix, you can do a jump start. However, you should replace your battery after series of 3 continuous jump starts.

How To Jumpstart A Car Battery ?

Credit  :  ChrisFix/Youtube

  • To jump start car battery, you will need one external battery (probably from the other car
  • Try to connect healthy battery’s positive terminal to the positive terminal of your dead battery and connect your dead battery’s negative terminal to the unpainted metal in your car for grounding.
  • This way, you can make your dead battery recharged with an external battery. So now when you turn on the key, your car should come into life.

Warning

Be careful when you work with the batteries. As it can result in electrocution or explosion, it is advised to follow all the safety measures involved.

  • Avoid working with batteries with cigarette in your mouth. Keep the explosives away from the working area.
  • Turn off the engine and disconnect the battery before you start to work with the batteries.
  • If you have to work under the hood, unplug the negative cable from the battery.
  • If you are going to remove and replace both battery cables, first unplug the negative cable and plug it only at the last.
  • Tie all the cables together while working on batteries.Because when anything made of metal comes in contact with the terminal posts, it would cause serious destructions to the on board computers.

2. Check The Battery Cables

When you turn the key in ignition and nothing happens, cables can also be the reason for no start.

To Fix

1)Check the wiring that runs between the connector and the terminal post. Sometimes loose connections could be the culprit. Tighten them up and turn the key again.

2)The lead acid batteries we use in cars often form corrosion at the terminals and posts. Check the cable connections and find out whether they are overly corroded. If so, insert a screwdriver point between the connector and the terminal post. Twist it firmly and remove the corrosion buildup.

3)Rust is the another thing that blocks out the connection between battery and appliance. To solve this problem, use rust dissolvent in the battery cables (unplug the cable first) and try to peel off the rust safely. You can check out the quick guide on how to remove rust from a car from the wiki-how manual.

3. No fuel

This might seems to be a silly reason but there is also a possibility to run out of fuel.

If there is enough fuel supply and still your car won’t start, check the fuel gauge. It might be the culprit.

4.Engine Fuse

Fuses are used in the car to protect the electrical wiring system. Most cars are designed with 2 fuse panels.One is to protect the fail-safe components like ECU, ABS and cooling fan. It is located in the engine compartment.

The other set of fuse protects the electrical equipments like lights, headlamp radio etc. It is located in the dashboard near to the driver’s knees.

If the engine doesn’t start there might be a chance that ECU fuse might been blown and the car won’t start without ECU working.

To Fix

Pull out the faulty fuse, check whether the wire inside the fuse is blown. If so, replace it with a new one. Your car should be working fine now.

5.Bad Spark Plug

If your car is not starting and the battery, cables, ECU, fuel everything is checked but you are still finding why won’t my car start, remember spark plug is the next one to check for. People who try to diagnose the car starter problems, often overlook the importance of a spark plug.

If your car cranks but won’t start or it hesitates during acceleration, check whether the spark plug works. It is one of the main components in the modern cars. It ignites the air-fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber. Check whether the electric current correctly gets into the spark plugs. If the spark plug is covered with carbon deposit, chances are, either the spark is not or the produced spark is weak so it fails to ignite the air-fuel mixture for ignition.

To Fix

Remove the spark plug and clean the carbon deposits by yourself. It is an easy process, all adults can do it. It is always preferable to change the spark plug after the recommended kilometres.

6.Fuel system

The Fuel system is comprised of fuel pump, fuel tank, fuel line and fuel filter. When fuel is pumped and get into the fuel filter, it filters the impurities and fed into the injector or carburettor. If there is some problem with fuel pump, the fuel would not reach the combustion chamber.

To Fix

Change your fuel filter after certain kilometres recommended by your car manufacture. Usually fuel filters has a life of 100000 miles. Replacing the fuel filters in a regular recommended intervals would remove the contamination and reduce the restrictions in the fuel path.

7.Worn Piston Rings

If the compression doesn’t happen properly inside the engine then the air fuel cannot be ignited properly. You can diagnose the fried or worn piston rings by running a compression tester. You can rent it or buy it. If the compression is good, then you don’t need to worry about the piston rings. If it’s low, it could be because of various reasons like worn piston rings, blown gasket, leakage in the engine head gasket, improper seating of inlet or exhaust valve.

If you don’t have a compression tester, you can use our old school tricks. Keep your finger on the spark plug hole and ask your friend to start the car .If you feel too much pressure and you can’t keep your fingers on it, possibly compression is okay. If the pressure is low it might mean your spark plug is faulty.

No DIY FIX, Call the technician

Problem with the piston rings can only be fixed by the technicians. They will check for the vacuum at the inlet manifold. If it’s too low, then they will suggest you to change the piston rings. As piston rings tend to wear out over the time, try changing it at a regular interval. Also check the clearance between the valves.

8.Bad Injector or carburettor

Injector is found in all modern cars. In the past, carburettors were used to perform the task of injector. This device ensures that air and fuel is mixed up in the right proportion (Usually it’s 14:1). It also injects the right amount of fuel inside the combustion chamber. However, if the fuel injector fails to filter the residues, it often results in a weak spray or uneven spray of fuel. Sometimes fuel injector doesn’t open due to some problem in their spring which often results in the lack of fuel in the combustion chamber.

To Fix

Whether the culprit behind your car starter problem is spring or filter, replace the faulty one with the new.

9.Overheating

If your car won’t start, check with your car’s cooling system immediately . Overheating of engine is caused due to 2 major reasons one is the lack of engine oil and another is due to the lack of enough water in Radiator.

To Fix

Check the engine oil every now and then. If the radiator is running out of water, pour sufficient amount of water.

10.Starter Solenoid

If the reason for your car starter problem is not your car battery, then your solenoid most likely be the problem. You can see it mounted on the starter ( in 99% of cars).

A starter solenoid (or starter relay) is the part of an auto-mobile which switches a large electric current to the starter motor, in response to a small control current, and which in turn sets the engine in motion.

When the starter solenoid seems to be engaging and disengaging frequently, it may result in a “no start”. It may also turn the other parts defective and create car starter problem.

To Fix

With the help of insulated screwdriver, disconnect the solenoid from the wire that comes from ignition switch. Now short the positive post of solenoid to the terminal exactly at the place where the ignition switch connects. As it sends 12 volts directly from the battery, your solenoid should get activated now. Turn the key in the ignition.Your car should crank now. Don’t forget to replace the solenoid with a new one.

11.Faulty Cold Start Valve

1) Cold start valve works similar to the choke. It will send initial burst of fuel to start the cold engine. Chances are, this valve may be clogged with the dirty substances and it may soaks up fuel or make the valves to stick. In both cases, it will trigger the problems in cold start.

To Fix 

Clean the Cold start valve

2) If the  cold start valve has high pressure, it will make the engine start and stop abruptly.

To Fix 

Reduce the pressure slightly.

3)Sometimes your engine smokes, starts and then stops. It may happen when the pressure in cold start valve is too slow

To Fix 

Raise the pressure slightly.

13.Immobilizer

The purpose of engine immobilizer is to prevent the unauthorized users with duplicate keys from starting your vehicle. When unauthorized attempts are made, The ECU unit will shut down the Engine. Though this feature plays a crucial role in protecting your property, it does not mean that it is immune to problems. In very rare situations, the ECU unit will refuse to let even the correct key from starting the vehicle. The reason is simple. Computer programs can get buggy and so the computerized cars are not an exception.

To Fix

      • Take a tow truck ride to your dealer and have the technician reprogram the codes manually on their system. Though it cost few dollars, it’s the easiest fix.
      • Resetting the car will solve the immobilizer problem as well. To do this, disconnect the electrical wiring system, remove the battery, get it charged and replace it at its old place. Dead batteries can collapse the immobilizer and cause the problems. Replacing it with a new one will solve this problem.
      • Performing the BSI reboot will solve this issue as well. This is best done by the professionals.

Hope, now you know what is happening with your car when it exhibits a signal of “No Start“. If you have anything to add up to the guide, why wont my car start,please drop your comments in the comment section.

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