If a car won’t start there are several reasons that causing it. Some of the cause of the problem can be trouble shoot and fix at home by the car owner themselves but some may need skill of a technician in solving such common car problems.
Corroded Car Battery Terminal / Dead Battery
Car Symptoms: The car won’t start when the ignition is turned “ON” there is no clicking sound or whatsoever. Look at the dash board and you will notice that the dash light is extremely dim.
Now open the hood and locate the car battery, look at the battery terminal and check the condition of the terminal. Inspect if there is a cruddy like substance on the battery terminal if none then it means that the battery is dead and need to be replace. If there is a cruddy like substance then the battery terminal is corroded. Although the battery has enough charge on it the current will not pass through the battery cable into the starter because of the corrosion which makes the car won’t start.
The Solenoid is bad
Car Symptoms: The car won’t start when the ignition is turn “ON”. However when you look at the dashboard lights it has enough power and the battery is not weak or dead.
If the car won’t start but the battery is not weak or dead then the problem is a bad solenoid. The purpose of the solenoid is to turn the starter “ON” therefore when the solenoid is bad then the car won’t start. To solve the problem you need to replace the solenoid. However it is much better to replace the entire starter, a rebuilt starter and solenoid is not a bad thing.
Bad Starter Drive
Car Symptoms: The car won’t start when the ignition turn “ON”, clicking sound is heard during starting and the car battery is fully charge. Also while starting the car, slipping sound is heard during starting. In this condition the car won’t start. Other symptom of bad starter is the grinding sound you hear while starting.
Two causes why a car won’t start is the battery and the starter, since the battery has enough power it is the starter that has a problem. Starter is the one that cranks the engine so that the engine will start, if the starter has problem the engine will not crank and the car won’t start. Just replace the starter to fix the problem. Consider using a rebuilt starter since it is much cheaper than the new one but also work well.
Timing Belt is Broken/Lack of Compression
Car Symptoms: During starting, the car won’t start and it turns over faster than normal or it is faster than you usually hear when you start the engine. Also the engine sputters when trying to start.
If the engine turns over faster than normal it’s a sign of a broken timing belt. Broken timing belt can cause the engine to lack compression and if an engine lacks compression it will not start. The purpose of the timing belt is to make sure that the valves on every cylinder are closed when the combustion is about to occur in the cylinder, when the valve is closed during combustion there is compression inside the cylinder. To resolve the problem just replace the timing belt.
Lack of Air inside the Cylinder
Car Symptoms: During starting the car won’t start and it turns over same as normal like nothing is happened.
Inspect the air filter check if there is dirt on the filter. If the filter has a lot of dirt then it means that the dirt is blocking the flow of air. Enough air is necessary so that the engine will start, since the engine do not start then air inside the combustion is not enough.
To fix the problem, remove the dirt from the air filter by banging the side of the air filter into the ground this countermeasure is just temporary, you should replace the air filter with new one to permanently fix the problem. For normal driving usually the air filter is change every 2 to 3 years, however if you always drive on a dusty road change the filter yearly.
Moisture in the Distributor Cap
Car Symptoms: The car won’t start on wet conditions. When trying to start the engine backfires.
On wet conditions if the car won’t start it means that there is moisture present inside the distributor cap. The moisture is the condensation that is formed because of the high humidity of the air and interfere with the ignition system to operate normally thus the car won’t start when ignition key is turned “ON”.
To fix the problem just remove the distributor cap then dry it with a clean rag, if do not want to remove the distributor cap then just wait until the moisture inside dries up. To avoid this problem from happening, park the car inside a garage when it is about to rain.
Electric Fuel Pump is bad
Car Symptoms: There is no whirring sound that can be heard coming from the fuel pump when trying to start it’s like a little paddle wheel sound.
To confirm this problem, you need to turn the ignition “ON” it is the point before the engine start. Now, locate the fuel pump. If the pump is located inside the gas tank then remove the gas cap, listen on the gas tank for whirring sound. If the fuel pump is located under the hood listen for the same whirring sound. In either case if there is no whirring sound then the electric fuel pump is bad. Just replace to fuel pump to fix the problem.
Bad Electrical Connection
Car Symptoms: The engine turns over but not starting.
When the car won’t start it is also possible that there is a bad or connection on the wiring between the starter and the battery, the starter will not get enough power to turn over the engine to make the engine start. To fix the problem, locate the wiring connection between the starter and the battery and look for any loose or bad connection.
Bad Coil or Spark Plug Wires
Car Symptoms: The car won’t start and the engine sputters while trying to start. Pull the spark plug wires then lay it close to a ground, now ask a friend to turn the ignition “ON” just a second to crank the engine. During cranking observe the plug wires and look closely for any spark that should jump from the end of spark plug wires to the ground. Put the tested spark plug wires back to the spark plug and do the same procedure of testing for all the spark plug wires. If there a spark plug wires that don’t have any spark then the problem is a bad coil, coils are tend to go bad before the spark plug wires. To fix the problem just replace the coil.
The Engine Oil is Too Thick
Car Symptoms: The car won’t start when the engine is very cold.
When you are using heavy, single weight engine oil when the temperature is very cold the oil will tend to become thick to the point that the engine will have trouble cranking during starting. Because of the thick oil the friction will become extreme and the car will not start. To fix the problem change the engine oil to multi-weight oil such as 10w-40, this type of oil will not thicken especially when the temperature is cold and will not create extreme friction and the engine will not have trouble cranking.
The Solenoid is Too Hot
Car Symptoms: The car won’t start when the temperature is very hot.
When the engine is extremely hot the heat will radiates on the engine components including the solenoid. The solenoid is the one that turns “ON” the starter when the ignition key is turned “ON” and when the solenoid is too hot it will not function properly causing the engine not to start. To fix the problem just wait until the engine cools off. If the problem always occurs, install some heat shield around the solenoid to prevent it from getting hot especially during summer season.