There are literally hundreds of scenarios that can lead to your car not starting. While this isn’t exactly the most comforting news in the world, the fact is you can significantly narrow down the problem just by making a few educated observations.
Here’s a list of 5 of the most likely reasons you car won’t start:
- You’ve got bad spark plugs. This can sometimes be diagnosed without even having to stick your head under the hood – great news for those who know next to nothing about how their cars operate and who wouldn’t be able to eyeball spark plug if they were given a diagram and explicit instructions. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. If your car’s engine cranks as if it’s trying to start, but won’t turn over, this is a sign that it could be your spark plugs.
- Your carburetor needs adjustment. One of the most common symptoms that your vehicle’s carburetor needs adjusting is if you can actually get your engine going, but it dies immediately after starting. Of course, not all cars these days have carburetors, as technology has marched on and fuel injection has taken over as the preferred method of choice for getting fuel to your engine. But that doesn’t mean you can’t experience the same symptoms. If your car starts and dies, it’s likely your fuel injection or your carburetor.
- You’ve got yourself a dead battery. Did you leave the lights on overnight by accident? Maybe your interior dome light was left engaged? Regardless of the reason why your car won’t start, you’ll know your battery has died if you slip they key into the ignition, turn it, and nothing happens. Sometimes you’ll hear a click, and nothing more. If this is the case, you may be able to jumpstart your battery with the help of another kind soul with an operational car. To be positive it’s your battery, check your ability to operate your car’s stereo system or headlights. If you’ve got a dead battery, you won’t have enough juice to operate these.
- A clogged fuel filter. Pro mechanics generally suggest replacing your fuel filter around every 15,000 miles. If you aren’t doing this, you’re inviting trouble to come into your life in the form of a car that won’t start at the most inopportune moment – like when you’re headed out the door to work or have to be to an important appointment. While replacement of your fuel filter isn’t all that expensive or invasive a procedure, it still has the potential of setting you back a full day you’d rather not have spent in an auto mechanic waiting room watching old reruns of Judge Judy. Do yourself a favor and have your fuel filter replaced routinely. It could save you.
- A bad ignition switch. This could be one of the sneakier reasons why your car won’t start as it’s its symptoms can often be confused with those of a dead battery. With a bad ignition switch, nothing happens when you turn the key. So how do you know it’s not your battery instead? Usually, if you’re able to operate your car radio, interior light, headlights, or any other electrical indicator within your vehicle this is clear indication that your battery is still good. If this is what you’re experiencing, you’re likely looking at a bad ignition switch that’ll have to be replaced before you can get yourself back on the road again.
Few things in life rival the experience of sliding behind the wheel of your car with the intent of going somewhere, turning the key, and having nothing happen. It can be one of the most simultaneously maddening and heartbreaking experiences of your life, especially if you know nothing about cars and have to rely on someone else to tell you what the problem is… and how much it’s going to cost to fix. Ready to have a mechanic take a look? Use Openbay to compare quotes for service and book service with top repair shops in your area.