Car Won’t Start? Here’s What To Check

There are very few things in life that cause more frustration than your car not starting, especially just before embarking on an important trip. This article will guide you through some of the most common problems why a car won’t start so that you can make a diagnosis and determine the next steps.

There are a few reasons why your car might not be starting. In the case you’re not able to diagnose this yourself the best thing to do is consult a technician or opt for a Car Won’t Start Diagnostic Inspection. With a diagnostic inspection, a qualified technician will be able to help determine the problem and provide a solution.

Flat battery

The most common reason is that the battery is flat. This usually occurs when you mistakenly leave the lights on for a prolonged time which causes the battery to drain out. If the car hasn’t been used for a long time or only used for very short journeys, this can also result in a flat battery.

With a flat battery, your engine won’t start and none of the electrical components will work. Sometimes, there is just enough charge in the battery for some lights to come on but not enough to start the engine.

What to do when your car won’t start due to a flat battery

  • Double-check if have enough fuel in the tank (sometimes low fuel in the tank can cause the car not to start)

Battery with battery lead

Why won’t my car start in the cold?

If you find that the car does not start on a cold morning, it is likely due to a dead battery. Check if the battery is dead and if so, you’ll need to jump start the car.

If the battery is good, the next thing to check is the fuel system. Make sure there is fuel in the tank and that the fuel lines are not frozen. Here are 5 Ways To Help Your Car Battery Survive Winter.

But what if the car won’t start despite the battery being in good condition? Then it is likely the issue is fuel or ignition related and will usually require a repair rather than a jump start. 

Here are some other issues that could stop the car from starting:

Starter Motor Problems

If it’s not the battery, the starter motor is probably a source for the car not starting issue.

The starter motor is an electric motor that turns the engine over, or “cranks” it, to start the engine. If the starter motor is not working, the engine will not start. Usually, if you hear a single click or a series of clicks when trying to start a car, it could be an indication of a bad starter motor.

What to do when car won’t start due to a starter motor issue

A starter solenoid is an electromagnet that is used to engage the starter motor on an internal combustion engine. In order to determine whether a starter solenoid is bad, one of the first things to check is the wiring for signs of dirt and rust. Usually, this is best left to a professional.

However, there are many other reasons why the starter motor fails to work and the best thing to do is seek professional help. If you need a starter motor replacement, you can get started by getting an upfront price here.

Clogged Fuel Filter

A fuel filter removes contaminants from the fuel before it reaches the engine. If the fuel filter is clogged up, it can stop fuel from reaching the engine in the correct quantity, which will lead to starting issues.

If it’s a diesel car manufactured after 2015, a lack of AdBlue could also prevent the car from not starting, so make sure you check this too. A warning light will usually pop up on the dashboard.

What to do when the car won’t start due to a clogged fuel filter

You will need to check if the fuel filter is dirty and blocked. If the car won’t start due to a clogged fuel filter, the best thing to do is to have the fuel filter replaced.

Spark plugs

On Petrol vehicles, a spark plug creates the spark that ignites the air/fuel mixture in the engine. It is usually located at the top of the engine and is made of metal and ceramic. If more than one spark plug is defective, the engine may not start.

What to do when your car won’t start due to faulty spark plugs

The first step is to check the spark plugs to see if they are worn out or cracked. If they are, then they will need to be replaced. If the spark plugs are not the issue, then the problem may be with the ignition system.

A diagnostic inspection can help determine which cylinders are misfiring. It’s better to replace all of the spark plugs at once if you find a faulty spark plug. It’s usually a minor repair for most modern cars.

While the issues listed above are the most common issues for a car not starting, there are several other components that could be the cause of this. If you’re stuck on the road, the best thing to do is call a breakdown service.

If you find that your car isn’t starting while at home, we recommend carrying out a car won’t start diagnostic inspection where a qualified technician will carry out a thorough inspection to determine the root of the problem and suggest next steps.

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