What to check when my car won't start

What to check when my car won't start

This article discusses a few common reasons a car won’t start. We also describe a few things for you to check to save you money. All of these scenarios are assuming your turn the key to the start position.

San Carlos Auto Repair

1. There are no lights on the dash, there is no noise from the car

Starter Motor
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Typically, this means that you have a dead battery. But before you call for a tow truck and tell them that your car won’t start, you should check your battery connections. Locate your vehicle battery and one at a time try to move the battery connections via twisting motion (there should be no movement at all). After that go try to restart the vehicle. Okay… still no luck?? Now it’s time to call the tow truck.

2. I hear one click, but still, the car won’t start

When you get one loud click, that typically is the starter solenoid engaging into your flywheel or ring gear, but then the starter never spins. You should check the battery terminal connections (which is described above) because a bad battery connection might allow enough energy for the starter to engage but not enough energy to spin the engine.

Secondly, if you can locate the starter motor, you might try a slight tapping on the starter motor. Here is the deal… you don’t want to hit the starter motor too hard and damage the case because it will end up costing you more money. What you are trying to do with the starter tapping method is to shake electrical connections so that it makes a better contact.

Starter Motor

Here is how you do it: Get a second person inside the car and get your long blunt object positioned over the starter motor ready to strike. (Long blunt object ideas – A long broom stick, the wooden base of a hammer... anything that is non-conductive.   Have the person in the car turn the key to the start position and hold it for no longer than 5 seconds. Make sure all clothing, hair, etc... is free of any moving engine components.  At the same time as they are holding the key to the start position, you take the long blunt object and strike the starter motor several times. Repeat this method about 3-4 times.

If the vehicle starts with the “starter tapping” method, you probably have an issue with the starter motor. Get it checked out by your local San Carlos auto repair shop.
If you need further help to figure why your a car won’t start, please contact San Carlos Auto Repair

3. I hear fast clicking

This almost always means your battery is too low to start the car. Make sure that all of your electrical loads are off (lights, stereo, air conditioning, entertainment unit for the kids, etc.) Then give it about 30 minutes and try again. Some batteries will actually regain some charge if you allow them to sit for short period of time.

If you want to just get the car going, you should be able to get it started by getting a battery jump

If you need further help, please contact San Carlos Auto Repair

4. The car cranks over, but the car won’t start

This symptom could mean several things but for the sake of this article let’s focus on the three items.

Number one. Your car may not be getting enough air into the engine. If your foot off the gas pedal was 0% and full throttle was 100%, step on the gas pedal to about 10% and try to start the car again. Any change?

Number two: Do you have enough gas in the car? Check the fuel level.

Number three: If you have a carburetor on your vehicle, it is possible that you have flooded the vehicle. Step on the gas pedal to 100% and try to crank over the vehicle. As soon as the car starts you want to ease off the gas pedal so you don’t over rev and damage the engine.

If you need further help, please contact San Carlos Auto Repair

5. The car starts up and dies immediately

This symptom could also mean several things but let’s take a look at a few items. Check all of the items in #4. If that doesn’t help, check the tail pipe, make sure that no one plugged it with a potato or mud, yes we have seen that.

If you are mechanically inclined, I would recommend to check all of the fuse to see if anything has blown. Other than that you will have to bring it your local San Carlos auto repair shop.

We hope that this has helped with figuring out why the car won’t start and get you back on the road. www.aplusjapaneseautorepair.com

Written by Eric Sevim - ASE Master Certified Auto Repair Technician

A+ Japanese Auto Repair, Inc.

780 Industrial Road

San Carlos CA 94070




Disclaimer: This article is provided for general informational purposes only.  It is not intended as advice for your particular vehicle, and should not be relied upon for that purpose.  Please consult a qualified automotive maintenance professional to determine the maintenance and repair needs for your vehicle.


Categories: Car Maintenance
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