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Common Reasons a Car Won't Start

Friday, August 17, 2012
Image Courtesy of Flickr

There are several reasons why a car won’t start. A check of all your car’s systems and connections should reveal the cause of the vehicle’s inability to start. Before you can diagnose the problem, you should know the issues which can prevent your car from starting.

Drained Battery

Your car cannot start if the battery is drained of power. Signs that your car’s battery is dead are nonresponsive lights, radios or other electric components when trying to start the car. A jumpstart from a charged battery should temporarily fix this problem until you can charge or replace the battery.

Starter Connection & Function

The connections between your car’s starter and the engine can become corroded over time, which prevents the engine from starting. In order to test the connection to the starter, you will need a helping hand. One of you will hold a circuit testing device to the starter’s connecting wire while the other tries to start the engine. You should also check the bolts which hold the starter in place. A loose starter moves and keeps your engine from starting. If the starter is getting power but is not turning, it is broken and you may need to replace it entirely.

Other Electrical Connections

A circuit tester can be used to make sure all electrical engine systems are receiving power and are properly connected. There are a number of connecting wires which keep your car’s electrical systems up and running. Corrosion or loose wires can prevent a car from starting and are easy to fix once located.

Clogged Fuel Filter

Your car’s fuel filter should be replaced during regular maintenance checks. A congested fuel filter will stop fuel from getting to the engine, which prevents the car from starting.

Fuel Pump Issues

A comprehensive check of your fuel pump involves a fuel system pressure test, which uses a complicated testing device usually only found in a professional mechanic’s garage. Before paying a professional to run a diagnostic on your fuel pump, make sure all wires and fuses are connected and functioning. As long as the fuel pump is receiving power, the issue with your car starting may be with the fuel pump relay.

The most common reasons a car won’t start primarily involve unavoidable wear and tear, which can be fixed through regular maintenance of your engine. While a qualified mechanic is needed for more complex repairs, many of these problems can be fixed yourself.