Problems Starting Your Car

 

There are a few things you should check if your car won't start. If you are not driving an electric car and you don't hear a "cranking" sound when you turn the key, there is a problem getting power to the starter.

Try the headlights. If they seem dim or don't work at all, the battery might be weak or dead. While this is a problem that usually occurs in winter, it can happen at any time of the year. If the battery is weak but not completely dead, you might be able to start a car that has a manual transmission by push-starting it in second gear. (If your car is equipped with an electronic engine-management system, it should never be push-started.) Depress the clutch and put the car into second gear, keeping the clutch down. Release the handbrake. Get someone to push the car, and when it has picked up some speed, let out the clutch quickly. This will force the engine to "turn over" and it might catch and start the car.

If you do hear a cranking sound when you try to start the car, you should make sure that the car is in neutral or park. (Most cars with automatic transmissions won't engage the starter unless the car is in neutral or park.)

Check the gas gauge and see if there is fuel. If you do have fuel, you could have a blocked fuel line or you might have a faulty fuel pump and the fuel isn't reaching the engine. These are not quick fixes—if you don't feel comfortable making the repairs yourself, you should visit a trusted auto repair shop.

Your car could be flooded. (This happens frequently with older models of vehicles.) This means that the carburetor has too much fuel and it cannot vaporize properly to ignite in the engine. When a car is flooded, you'll often be able to smell the fuel if you raise the engine hood. If you suspect this is the problem, wait five to ten minutes and then try to start the car again. Don't pump the accelerator; that will only flood the engine again. Instead, hold the pedal all the way to the floorboard as you try to start the engine.

More Car Tips

What is a Timing Belt

There are several different kinds of belts that can be found in the average vehicle engine, and all of them have an important ...

Discover More

What are Lemon Laws?

What are lemon laws? Are they really even all that important? After all, since every state in the Union has them, or at least ...

Discover More

Replacing a Cracked Windshield

While you can repair most windshield cracks, why not take the opportunity to replace it with something a little better? ...

Discover More
Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four less than 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Videos

Subscribe to the Tips.Net channel:

Visit the Tips.Net channel on YouTube