The last thing you’d want when you’re ready to leave is car problems, particularly when your car won’t just start! It can be very frustrating, to say the least, but it’s fairly common. Many car owners have obviously experienced this. It isn’t fun when your car won’t start, especially if you’re in hurry.
If your car fails to start, you don’t have to worry because, in this article, we’ll tell you what you must know and what you should do to get the car going. In doing so, at least you’ll not feel hopeless or frustrated, though it might take a little more effort and time than what you had anticipated.
So, what exactly happens if your car won’t start and what’s the problem?
Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Start
There’s a myriad of reasons why the car won’t start once your turn on the ignition. However, some reasons are common than others, and that’s why we’ll focus on them.
Perhaps a dead battery is one of the most common reasons why your car won’t start. There are different reasons why the car battery can drain. For instance, you might have kept the car’s headlights on while parking or even forgotten to switch them off while on the road. This can cause the battery to drain.
Other possible reasons could be evaporation of water in the component that can lead to poor conductivity, a loose wire, or long usage of the car battery itself. It’s very hard to pinpoint the cause, but the result is that the car won’t start. The best thing you can do if this happens is to change the car battery.
You can use jumper cables to find out whether the dead battery is the issue. If the car starts, then definitely it’s the dead battery. Moreover, if the car won’t start, look for other possible reasons.
Another great way to affirm whether the dead battery is the problem is turning on the car’s headlights. Since the headlights are controlled by the battery, you can know that the battery is completely fine if the headlights turn on.
Bad Ignition Switch
If you’ve checked and known for sure that the car battery isn’t the problem, the next thing you should check out is the ignition switch. If the car won’t start after several attempts, the reason might be a bad ignition switch.
Furthermore, if the car starts and suddenly stalls, it could be because of a bad ignition switch. This might happen if the ignition switch fails at the “ON” position, the position that’s meant to power the fuel as well as the ignition systems.
You can also check whether the problem is with the ignition switch by carefully turning your ignition key to a start position and then you let go of the key. Thereafter, you can allow it to come back to the “ON” position and look at what the warning lights tell you (if they blink). If the warning lights go out after the switch snaps back in, then your ignition switch needs fixing.
In the same way as a faulty ignition switch, another reason why your car won’t start could be a broken starter. The starter is a force that turns on the car engine, so, incase it’s faulty or broken, it won’t turn on the car engine and as a result, the car won’t start.
To check out whether or not the broken starter is the problem, look out for the clicking noise when you turn on the ignition. If you can hear it, the cause is a problem or a weakened starter.
The fuel filter should always be clean to make sure that the gasoline flawlessly reaches the engine. Technically, you should change the fuel filter after every 10,000 – 15,000 miles, to prevent the filters from getting clogged. If the fuel filters get clogged, the fuel cannot reach the engine and the car will not start. How to know whether the clogged fuel filters are the problem?
The best you to find out whether the clogged fuel filter is the cause is by opening and checking it. The most important thing is to change the fuel filter after every 10,000 – 15,000 filters. If the fuel filter hasn’t been changed for a while, you should consider changing it and then check whether the car starts now.
A Compromised Security System
Today, most cars come with a security system or immobilizer that allows the vehicle to only start if the right key or start code is entered. Your car key and the ignition key have a chip and this must match, else the car won’t start. Car manufacturers do this to give extra security to the car and prevent it from being stolen.
Once the right ignition key is inserted chip coding in the key and ignition system matches, security lights turn on for a few seconds and then automatically turn off. That’s a good sign that everything is fine.
However, if the security light doesn’t turn on within a few seconds, or continues flashing, this means the security system has a problem. This won’t allow your car to start.
If you take a closer look at this, it’s a logical mechanism. If a person tries to use the wrong key to start the key, it’s likely a thief who’s trying to steal the car. This causes the car’s security lights to come on and then your car will not start. The entire system should keep the car safe from thieves and any person who tries to compromise the car as well as its security system.
Sometimes, you could by mistake insert the wrong car key, more so if you own multiple vehicles. If this happens, you can then reprogram the car keys. You can find this information will be available in the owner’s manual. However, if you cannot find the information, just Google it and there will be sufficient information and even videos on how you can program the car keys. You just need to ensure you look for the right make and model because the programming technique might vary from one car make to another.
Empty Gas Tank
Although this can be an obvious cause, it’s something we don’t think about often. If you’ve been driving around for a while without refueling, an empty gas tank could be a possible cause why the car will not start.
The good news is that this problem is very easy to fix, just grab your wallet and buy some gas.
Since we’ve taken you through the most common reasons, it’s great to ensure you feel better. In most cases, you can easily identify the cause of the issue and quickly fix it, particularly in some easy-to-fix issues like an empty gas tank.
If you can’t fix the issues by yourself, or if you can identify the main cause of the issue, it’s best if you can contact a car repair technician and seek to help him to fix your ride.
However, there are a few ways to identify the main cause of the issue.
How To Identify The Cause?
Below are some of the things that you could do to identify the issue:
- Turn your key in the ignition. Can you do the turn? If you can’t, it means the bad ignition switch, which needs replacement. Also, it could be because the steering is fully locked with the car’s ignition lock. It’s a great way to park when parking the car on a hill or in case the front wheel is pushed against something, the steering will automatically get locked. Therefore, move the steering wheel a bit to see whether it unlocks, so you can switch on the ignition. Else, consider fixing or replacing the ignition switch.
- If you cannot turn on the ignition, the next thing you should do is check whether the lights are switched on in the electronics panel; this means the battery isn’t producing any power. The reason might be both a dead battery and a bad ignition switch. Turn on the car headlights, and in case they work properly; the cause is a bad ignition switch. However, if the headlights don’t turn on, then it’s the case of a bad battery.
- The next thing you should check is whether the security light flashes in the electronics panel or whether it stays on. In case this happens, this means the car has been compromised. Essentially, you’ll need to reprogram the car key to get the engine working again.
- By now, if you have not identified the main cause, the next thing you should check out is the engine light. Does it get turned on? Generally, the light ought to turn on while starting and this means the power is coming from the car engine and the computer is working just fine. However, if you can’t see the light, it means the engine isn’t getting battery or there’s an issue with the computer itself.
- The things mentioned above ought to give you a rough idea of the issue. If these don’t help resolve the issue, you can turn on the car ignition and see what will happen. Nevertheless, if nothing happens and your car still doesn’t start, it could be a faulty ignition system, a broken starter, or a dead battery.
- Alternatively, if you try to start the car and hear some clicking sound, but the engine still does not turn on, this means the battery is very weak or there’s a bad connection between the car’s battery terminals. In most cases, the battery terminals in the compartment could get corroded and this can be causing the clicking sound.
- The next situation is that the car engine will crank and the car will not start. This can be caused by a discharged or weak battery, bad connection at the terminals, or issues with a starter motor. These can only be fixed by an auto repair technician, so you should contact an auto repair company.
- The last possibility is the engine cranking every time and finally clicking. If this happens, the car won’t start. This can be because the motor doesn’t have sufficient power to switch on the engine. Luckily, you can quickly spot this issue and perhaps even fix it. Just open the hood and check out the two terminals, a negative and positive one that works together to send the electric current from the battery to the motor. If you connect the terminals, you can know whether the issue is a discharged battery or issues with the terminals.
If you’ve read through this guide, then you know the most common reasons why your car won’t start and ways to detect it. Let’s now delve into what you should do to start the car.
Sometimes you’ll need to seek help from a technician, particularly if it’s a dead battery, starters, broken cables and such kind of things. However, in the case of cables or a weak battery, you could start the car to get it started.
To successfully do this, you’ll need the best jumper cables and some knowledge on exactly how to go about it.
Essentially, jump-starting is a great way to start your car, especially if it has a weak battery. All you have to do is repair the jumper cables.