Help! My car is not starting…
You are ready to go but your car decides otherwise? Almost every car owner has, or will at some point, experience this ordeal… And while there are many reasons why your car may fail to start, sometimes you can try fixing it rather than immediately rushing to a mechanic. Check out this quick guide if you are experiencing any of these issues:
- 1. The car engine does not crank
- 2. The car engine cranks but won’t start
- 3. The car engine has fuel and sparks, and yet won’t start
- 4. The car engine cranks and sparks but won’t start
1. The car engine does not crank
When the engine remains silent upon turning the key in the ignition, you may want to check: the car’s solenoid, fuses, battery, and flywheel.
. The solenoid
The solenoid is an electromagnetic device which helps to complete the otherwise open circuit of an engine starter. It helps in providing the required energy to start the car. When damaged, it may prevent this power in reaching the starter motor, and should, therefore, be replaced.
. The fuses
While your car fuses help in regulating power in your car, your car’s starter won’t be receiving the adequate amount if they are faulty. Check the fuses in your engine’s fuse box, if they have been blown, they will have burn marks on them, clearly indicating a problem. To fix it, simply replace the fuses.
. The battery
When your car battery is dead or has an extremely low charge, the engine will fail to receive the correct level of compression. In that case, ensure there are no loose connections, clean up any residue from the battery connectors if corroded, replace any frayed wires, and recharge the battery if it’s low. If the voltage remains low, consider changing the battery.
. The flywheel
Located at the end of the starter engine, the flywheel is a large wheel with ridges around its edges. This gear, which helps in cranking the engine, can prevent the starter motor from functioning properly when damaged, and thence needs to be replaced.
2. The car engine cranks but won’t start
If the car cranks but there is no sign of it starting, it may be because of the absence of fuel, or because of the electrical spark not reaching the spark plugs caused by a faulty ignition coil or ignition switch.
. The ignition coil
The ignition coil is the tool which converts your car battery’s electricity into a higher voltage so as to create a spark when starting the car. When your engine cranks correctly but still requires the spark, it won’t start. This can be the result of faulty wires or a burned coil due to too much voltage. In both cases, the coil should be replaced.
. The ignition switch
This is the component of the ignition system which everyone is familiar with: the switch to start or stop the car prompted by the turn of the key. If the car fails to start, the wiring should be checked in case of a poor connection. Else, you may need to replace the whole ignition switch – which can break when applying too much pressure on it.
3. The car engine has fuel and sparks, and yet won’t start
If all of the above problematics have been cleared out but the car won’t still start, the following components may be clogged: the air filter, the fuel filter, the fuel pump or the fuel injector.
. The air filter
If the car’s air filter is dirty and clogged, it may be preventing air from entering the ignition system. Get it cleaned or replaced to allow proper airflow.
. The fuel filter
In the same vein, a clogged fuel filter may be hampering with the proper flow of fuel which won’t get through the filter. It should be cleaned or replaced. Also, as a rule of thumb, keep in mind that your car’s fuel filters should be changed every 15,000 to 20,000 miles.
. The fuel pump
When broken or clogged, fuel won’t be properly pumped to reach the spark ignition. With the help of a suction strainer, clean the fuel pump. Else, get it replaced.
. The fuel injector
Similarly, fuel won’t be injected properly into the ignition system if the fuel injector is clogged or damaged. It is noteworthy that a gasoline smell may indicate a leaky injector, which needs immediate replacement. On the other hand, a clogged fuel injector can be easily cleaned.
4. The car engine cranks and sparks but won’t start
When the car refuses to start, and yet cranks and sparks, the issue may originate from the car’s mechanical distributor or the spark plug.
. The mechanical distributor
A weak spark may be a sign of a malfunctioning mechanical distributor. This can be due to the distributor cap being broken or having water in it, to faulty wires connecting to the distributor or with the rotor. If any of these elements are faulty, it should be fixed or replaced.
. The spark plug
When wired incorrectly, or when providing a weak spark, the whole spark plug should be replaced. Alternatively, if the wires are worn out, it can be fixed by replacing only the faulty wires.
If none of these worked, or for your peace of mind, find a local garage to erase all of your doubts. Make sure that they are trustworthy and provide quality work and good customer service.