What does it mean when your car cranks but won’t start? - The Truth About Cars - Navara

What does it mean when your car cranks but won’t start?

Do you know what does it mean when your car cranks but won’t start? Several reasons are causing it. Let’s do a simple test to determine the reasons for this. It is possible that there is a battery related problem. There is a simple test which can be done to determine if this is a battery related problem or not.


Car problem diagnosis
1. Turn on the headlights before starting. Turn the ignition to crank the engine while the headlights are on. If there is a change of the headlight brightness while the engine is cranking then it is a battery related problem, if not proceed to the next diagnosis.

2. Again start the engine, listen if there is a metal to metal sound like grinding or growling sound that is coming from the engine then the problem is the starter, if not proceed to the next diagnosis.

3. If the problem only happens in a very cold temperature then the problem is a freeze battery electrolyte. But if not then the only remaining reason is the bad electrical connection.

Possible reasons why your car cranks but won’t start
1. Battery related problem
2. Bad starter
3. Freeze battery electrolyte.
4. Bad electrical connection

What to do?
Battery related problem
Locate your car battery, check on the battery terminals. If the battery terminals are clean then the problem is the weak battery, recharge or replace your car battery.

But if the battery terminals is corroded it restrict the flow of the current to the starter. If the current is restricted from getting into the starter, the starter will not get enough current, it will only cranks but will not start the engine.

Now, remove the corrosion of the battery terminals. Use a wire brush to do it, apply some baking soda and water to help dissolve the corrosion. After the battery is cleaned, apply some petroleum jelly to coat the terminals and prevent accumulation of corrosion in the future.

Bad starter
Bring the car to the repair shop. Asks the mechanic to replace the starter, consider replacing it with a rebuilt one.
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Freeze battery electrolyte
Freeze battery electrolyte looses much of its power and will enough to start the engine. Nothing much can do on this situation but to wait for the temperature of the surrounding gets warmer until the battery electrolyte melt down. Next time to prevent this thing to happen, use a battery with a higher cold cranking ampere (CCA) rating if you drive your car in a very cold weather.

Bad electrical connection
Bring the car to the repair shop then asks the mechanic to trace the wirings from the battery to the starter, let him check if there is a loose connection somewhere.

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