You get your to-go mug of coffee situated, strap on your seat belt, turn the key aaaaand – – – nothing. Surely that was your imagination. Let’s try again. Turn the key once more aaaaaand – – – nothing again.
Okay – it’s official. Your car won’t start. Now what?
Troubleshooting Tips for a Car That Won’t Start
There are several steps you can take to troubleshoot the problem on your own, beginning with the battery. If you feel immediately out of your element, call your local mechanic.
He can get your car towed into the shop ASAP for a diagnosis and potential car engine repair so you can get on with business as usual.
If you feel confident exploring the engine a bit, we recommend trying the following troubleshooting tips.
Check the battery – is it time for a battery replacement?
An old, corroded or defunct car battery is the most common reason for a non-starting car. Inspect the battery connections. Do they seem old or corroded?
If there is a bunch of accumulated gunk, your problem may be as simple as corroded terminals that are blocking the electrical current.
Disconnect the battery cables and clean the corrosive gunk using a mixture of baking soda and water with a stiff metal brush. Dry them, reconnect the cables and start again.
If it still doesn’t start, use a battery tester to check the charge or jump the battery using a secondary or neighbour’s car. If car still won’t start, you have a dead battery in which case a car battery replacement will get you on your way.
Check the ignition switch
If there is no sound at all when you turn the key, your ignition switch might be the culprit. Turn your key only as far as the “on” position (without trying to turn the car all the way on).
Do your dashboard lights go on? Do the headlights work? If not, your ignition switch is probably the issue. If they do light up, it’s on to the next step.
Is it the starter connection?
From here on out, most issues that prevent your car from starting will require some form of auto engine repair.
The starter connection is an electrical connection. Just as corrosion can prevent your battery from working, corrosion on any electrical connection can prevent things from working properly.
Since the starter is exposed to the elements, there is a chance corrosion or a faulty connection is your problem here.
Or, you might just have a bad starter that needs to be replaced. You can go through your engine and check all of the electrical connections at this point.
Does your engine lack spark?
By now, you are probably lacking a little spark yourself, so you should understand how a lack of spark can put a damper on things.E
Your engine is no different.
Any problems with the coil, moisture in the distributor cap, or a coil wire that’s broken or shorting will prevent your engine from starting.
Have you replaced your fuel filter recently?
Technically, fuel filters should be replaced about every 20,000 km or so.If yours is dirty or clogged, it won’t allow fuel to reach the engine, which is an obvious problem. Replace the fuel filter and see if that helps.
Otherwise, you may have an issue with the fuel pump and relay.
Stop Stressing Yourself Out. Contact an Experienced Mechanic Already!
Don’t feel like running the mechanical gauntlet to figure out why your car isn’t starting? No problem.Contact an experienced mechanic and we’ll get your car towed promptly so we can start the troubleshooting steps ourselves and provide high-quality car engine repairs that will get you back out on the road.
The Centre for All Your Car Needs
Peter’s Auto is the centre for all your car needs with over 20 years of experience in repairing a variety of cars along with up to date mechanics and equipment. Our knowledgeable and helpful staff will take care of all your auto service and repair needs.
Our shop is located in Kitchener, ON. We proudly serve the following areas: Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph.