5 reasons your car won’t start

There are plenty of reasons why your car won’t start, but before you trade it in, park it off at the mechanic and walk away, here are some common reasons to look out for:

  • Always check the battery first - A dead battery is usually the most obvious reason if your car won’t start.
  • Check the fuel – No petrol in your car can cause havoc on your car, such as it could clog your fuel filter and that could get costly to replace.
  • Check the starter – if you hear a clicking noise, but no action from the engine upon start up, you might have a starter problem.
  • Consider the weather - There might be moisture in your distributor cap or electrical connections. Overheating is also a common issue and this can be due to a leaky radiator or a broken/cracked radiator hose.
  • Anything else – if all the above issues above are ruled out, a good mechanic will check all those things including your engine oil, your spark plugs, and your air filter.

Could it be the battery?

A dead battery is usually the most obvious reason if your car won’t start. The cause is usually due to you leaving the headlights or interior lights on. If your battery is new or in good shape then you should be able to jumpstart it easily. Faulty connections is another factor to consider to your battery when the cables are corroded or loose.

Could it be fuel issues?

If your car fails to start, perhaps check if there’s petrol in your car? No petrol in your car can cause havoc on your car, such as it could clog your fuel filter and that could get costly to replace. If you see a potential fuel leak, you have a larger problem, as there is possibly an issue with your fuel pump, fuel line, fuel filter, or carburetor if your car has one. A mechanic can help you fix any of these issues. It’s very important that you check the owner’s manual to ensure that you put the correct petrol in your car. But what if you run out of car and the petrol gauge says it’s nearly full – it’s important to mention this to your mechanic soonest.

Could it be start issues?

It’s natural to assume that if your car won’t start, the starter is to blame. If your battery is all well and good (you may be thinking, “I’m positive I just replaced that thing not too long ago…”) and you hear a clicking noise, but no action from the engine upon start up, you might have a starter problem. A car starter is a small, in most cases, electric, motor that harnesses power from the battery once the ignition is turned. A starter is a device used to rotate an internal-combustion engine so as to initiate the engine's operation under its own power. Starters can be electric, pneumatic, hydraulic, or in case of very large engines, even internal-combustion engines. It may not need replacing. If you’re unsure where the problem lies and the starter still won’t turn even after checking the connections, take your car into the mechanic so that they can diagnose the issue.

Could it be weather issues?

Did you ever get caught in the rain with a car that just won’t start? There could be a number of reasons - there might be moisture in your distributor cap or electrical connections. Check for dampness. If there is even a hint of water inside, wipe out the cap or connections with a clean, dry cloth. There may be cracks concealing moisture as well and if this is the situation, you will need to replace your cap or connectors. Overheating is also a common issue and this can be due to a leaky radiator or a broken/cracked radiator hose. If you are able to check these things yourself, do not, I repeat, do not touch the radiator if your car has just been running.

Anything else?

If all of the issues above are ruled out, a mechanic begins to suspect other reasons your car might not be starting, including a faulty on-board computer system, a faulty anti-theft device, an ignition switch that just won’t cooperate, and so on. A good mechanic will check all those things including your engine oil, your spark plugs, and your air filter.

Happy driving!

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