Why Won’t My Car Start? A Complete Guide

Why Won’t My Car Start? A Complete Guide

This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, we may receive a small commission (at zero cost to you). Please see our full disclosure policy for details.

You woke up in the morning, probably said a little prayer, did the routine you do every morning, dressed up, had breakfast, and ready to take over your day. 

You got into your car and were ready to hit the road. You inserted your key into the ignition and turned it on. But behold, there was no response. Ok, you tried again a couple of times, still no response. Why won’t my car start? This is the only question you keep asking. Sadly, no answer seems to surge, not even from the blues.

A car not starting is not the way you intend to start your day. It can be frustrating. This is a common problem that has been encountered by many car owners and drivers. Your car takes you everywhere you want to go, and it is really painful when it doesn’t start all of a sudden.

There are a lot of reasons that will cause your car not to start; we will be discussing in this guide what makes your car not to start, what to check for, and what you should do to get your car back on track. A creeper can help you get under the vehicle and check things out.

Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Start

When you turn the ignition or push the START button, the voltage in the battery is transferred to the clutch pedal. You will have to apply a downward force to press the clutch pedal to increase voltage delivery. The increased voltage energizes the starter relay to crank up the engine. 

There are several reasons why your car’s ignition will not respond; however, our focal point will be on the most common reasons why a car’s engine won’t crank up and start. They are as follows:

Low or Bad Battery

A low battery is about the most common cause experienced by drivers. A low or bad battery will not deliver the right amount of voltage needed to kick the car to start.

There are quite a number of reasons your car battery can die or become low. Firstly, if you leave your car’s dome light or headlights on overnight or for an extended period of time, you are likely to experience a dead battery. Two, it is also possible that you have a loose wire in the terminals. The thing that could cause your battery to die is poor conductivity which is often caused by lack of water in the component. The other possible reason to have a dead battery is if the battery lifespan has been spent. A worn-out or expired battery may not function at all or respond to start a car.

Whatever the reasons may be that may cause your battery to drain or die, you can be sure that your car won’t start.

What you can do: What you may need is a jumpstart to help keep your car on while your battery charges. If your car starts with the jumpstart method, be sure that you’re dealing with a dead battery. What if it doesn’t work?

Another possible solution is to recharge your dead or low batteries, or if the battery is damaged, you get a new one. If the water in the evaporated component is dry, try to get it back. This can be refilled when you take your battery out for recharge. You can also clean up the connections or call on your technicians to inspect and service the electrical components of the car.

Loose or Rusted Battery Cables

The battery cables send and receive currents from the car battery. A loose or dirty battery cable will block the flow of the circuit to the ignition starter, thereby leading to the car not starting.

What you can do: This is actually quite simple. All you have to do is check the battery cables, clean the cables if they are dirty and if they are loosed, tighten them back to position, and you are ready to go.

Bad Alternator

This could be a reason why your car battery died. The alternator is a component in the car that charges the battery and powers the electrical parts of the vehicle. A bad alternator will not charge the car battery, thereby eventually leading to the car not starting because of a drained battery.

What you can do: A bad alternator should be replaced with a new and working one. A professional mechanic does this replacement.

Malfunctioning Ignition Switch

The ignition switch is usually located close to the steering wheel. The ignition or starter switch is a part of the car’s control system that powers the starter solenoid and the ignition systems of a car. It also set off the electrical workings in a car. A bad ignition switch will not produce an electrical circuit or power the engine. This may lead to the car not starting.

What you can do: Replacement of the defective ignition switch with a working one is the only solution. This should be efficiently taken care of by an expert technician.

Defective Starter & Starter Wirings

Just as the name sounds, a starter is a mechanism that starts up the engine of a car. A bad starter will not receive the voltage needed to start up the engine, which leads to the failure of a car to start. Also, the starter wiring may be dirty or not be in place. This will also prevent the car from starting.

If your car is running on a defective starter, be on the lookout for some symptoms. You will hear a heavy noise as you attempt to start the car and turn it on. Also, a defective starter causes the car not to start when you insert the ignition key. You will also notice a loud clicking sound coming from the engine as you turn on the ignition key. Yet, the engine won’t start.

What you can do: Have your starter and wiring checked by an expert technician. If the starter is bad, it should be replaced with a new one.

Clogged Fuel Filter

The fuel filter transfers gas from the tank through the fuel injector to the engine. A or dirty fuel filter will cause fuel not to reach the engine leading to the car not starting.

What you can do: The best solution is to have the fuel filter checked. This cannot be done by you but hire the service of a trained technician. Typically, you should change your car’s fuel filter every 9,000 miles (15, 000 km) to 18,000 (30,000 km). this is not impossible if you want to enjoy the fun of a car each time you’re out on the smooth terrain. So if the case is an old filter, have it changed, and in no time your car should take you where you want.

Lean Misfire

A lean misfire occurs when all the cylinders of an engine start to misfire. This usually happens when the cylinders are not getting enough fuel. The engine might crank up a little but may not start. The possible cause is a bad fuel system.

What you can do: To solve a misfire problem, you will have to check your entire fueling system. These include the fuel filter, fuel pump, and the fuel injector and possibly checking for a leak in your fuel tank. The air-fuel ration must be accurate to be sure that either the air or fuel is not in excess. You should also read our post about the possible causes of an auto misfire.    

Engine Issues

Issues relating to stiff bearings, broken pistons, misfiring, leaked gasket, low oil, and many other engine-related problems can also be a contribution to why your car won’t start. 

What you can do: The way out of any engine problem is to have your engine checked by a professional mechanic. Do not carry out any trial-and-error tactics on your engine. Let a certified auto repairman or mechanic help you inspect the engine.   

Engine Wont Start

Empty Fuel Tank

It sounds silly, right? Sometimes you get carried away by the fun and excitement of the road that you forgot to refill your gas tank. Once your car’s gas tank is empty, your car won’t start. Can you imagine a completely bloodless person breathing? The gas in your car performs a similar function as the blood in your body.

What you can do: This is no brainer. If your bowel is short of food, the natural thing to do is to refill it with good food. If you’re running short of blood, doctors recommend you take more blood tonics to increase it. The same way, if your car’s gas tank is empty, all you have to do is refill it. Even after refilling, you may still find out that the car doesn’t start. Call on a technician to inspect if there is further damage caused due to the shortage of fuel.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I fix a removed battery cable?

The battery cable can be the reason your cat won’t start. All you have to do is place the cable back on the battery terminals and tighten it either with pliers or if you are on the road, using a rock to hit it in place is the best option.

Q: My car is not responding; why?

Your car will not respond due to many reasons. Low battery, bad ignition starter, defective starter solenoid, flawed fuel system, and many other reasons are the contributing factors that will make your car to not respond.

Q: How do I start a car that won’t start?

There are many things you can do or check to start a car that won’t start. One of the immediate things to do is to quickly get to the car bonnet, open it to see if the battery terminals are in place. Alternatively, you can also jumpstart your car to start again. If these two initial steps fail to work, you may need to call your mechanic.

Q: How much will it cost to fix a car not starting?

There is no cast-in-stone answer to this question, however simple it may seem. As you have observed, there are different reasons your car won’t start as much as there are different possible solutions. If you have a dead battery and you will need to recharge it, you won’t incur the same cost as when you have to buy a new battery.

In the same way, fixing an alternator problem will not come at the same cost as buying or replacing a clogged filter. The service cost will also differ depending on the technician who will work on your car or those different components. In all, make sure you carry out a regular inspection of your car to know the condition before starting a journey. Regular maintenance is essential to avoid your car not starting.

Final Thoughts

 On a concluding note, there are other reasons why your car won’t start, from electrical issues to mechanical issues. We have listed out the most common causes why your car won’t start all of a sudden and the possible way out. Some of these can be done yourself while others are too complex but for an expert. Also, your gear might be stuck, which could cause the car not to start if it’s off.

Do not take scheduled maintenance and regular servicing of your car for granted. In all of this, make sure you have a standby certified and well-trained auto technician or a professional repairman for your car.  

Whether it is a bad alternator, dead battery, faulty ignition switch, or clogged filter issue, you can have them fixed, repaired, or replaced easily if you notice the problem as soon as it comes up.

Similar Posts