Common reasons why your car won’t start

If your car won’t start this information is for you. In most cases this is due to electrical problems, but you must be aware of some other possible issues in your car.

When we say “a car won’t start” we could be talking about several issues. For example:

  1. That the engine doesn’t start working right away after you turn the key or starter button.
  2. That you must keep the key turned or the button pressed so the engine begin to work after some seconds
  3. That the engine doesn’t start at all

Causes why your car won’t start

Lack of gas

Isn’t this obvious? Not so much. There are a lot reasons why a car could lacks gasoline (or diesel anyway) like:

  • Imperceptible fuel leakage
  • Fuel sensor failure
  • Fuel stolen (it happens so check that out)

It could be difficult to inspect the fuel tank but you can have in mind an average fuel consumption of your vehicle so you might know how many miles you may drive with the current fuel left. If you detect less and less mileage it’s time to get de the car to inspection.

Low battery

One of the main reasons why your car won’t start is low battery charge. This might be simply because you left some light on or, in serious cases, issues with other electrical components. Remember: the average lifespan of a car battery is 2 – 5 years. Keep the warranty at hand.

Check out our blog post about common issues with batteries

Ignition system

The ignition system has multiple components which could fail separately. If the engine actually tries to start when you turn the switch on the problem must be elsewhere. If the dashboard lights turn on but the engine makes no sound the issue must be in the ignition system. Some common issues are:

  • Start engine failure: this is a small electrical engine that jumpstart the car
  • Alternator failure
  • Throttle body problems
  • Start switch

Gas pump

Moving on. If the car seems to have power and fuel, it is possible that fuel isn’t getting to the internal combustion chamber. Every car has a fuel pump, which could be electronic or mechanic. If this component fails the car won’t start simply because it has no fuel to power itself.

Spark plug

Spark plugs are responsible for producing, as their names suggest, the spark that starts internal combustion in the engine block. When the car is started air (and thus oxygen) enters the combustion chamber, then the fuel is added and the spark provided by the spark plugs ignites the whole mix. This generates the controlled explosion that provides energy for the car to move.

Air fuel ratio

As we mentioned before, there is a mix of air and fuel inside the combustion chamber, this is called “air fuel ratio”. The proportion must be ideal for the car to properly function. Air filters and fuel pump must be perfectly calibrated so the air fuel ratio isn’t affected. This is one of the most difficult issues to diagnose when a car won’t start.

Low temperature

There must be a very low temperature in order to affect an engine (0 Celsius or 32 Fahrenheit). Exposure to these kind of temperatures may cause specific problems. For example the acid contained in the battery may freeze, as the terminals. Also fuel lines could be affected etcetera. Be sure to use proper oil and coolant for extreme conditions. Also do not park your car in the open to minimize damages due to temperature.

Was this information useful to you?

Now you know some of the causes why your car won’t start. Remember to run regular maintenance to your car. This way you may avoid bigger issues and detect early problems. Save money and take care of your vehicle.

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