Your day could quickly turn sour if your car isn’t starting up, and we have all been there. Whether you have just got in your car in the morning to go to work or do the school run, or you have to get back to your home after work or in the evening time, it can be a real inconvenience. You would do everything under the sun to get your vehicle started again, but what is causing it not to start in the first place?
Why is my car not starting?
There could be many reasons contributing to the car malfunction but don’t worry, we are here to help you understand them. It could be something simple or complex. A simple reason could be that you have run out of fuel, and more complex issues are down to failing car components or faults with the electronics.
1- Faulty or Flat Car Battery
Your vehicle not starting up could be down to a flat or faulty car battery, and this is usually the first thing that people think about when they are unable to start their car. This can happen if you have accidentally left your car lights on overnight, or there is a problem with the electrical system causing battery drainage. Your vehicle won’t start if your car battery cannot hold its charge if it is faulty. Usually, when the battery is faulty or dead, the electrical components, such as the lights, windows and radio won’t work.
You could jumpstart your car using jump leads and another vehicle that has a fully-charged, working battery. Once you have jump started your car, you will need to drive for at least 30 minutes continuously, where there is no need to stop and start regularly so that the battery can charge up to a sufficient level. This will allow the battery to start up the engine next time you turn it on. Do not worry if you cannot drive on a completely traffic-free road, it will just take a longer time to charge up.
It is also a good idea not to turn on the heating and headlights as these tend to take a lot of battery power, but if you are in dark, cold conditions, it will just take longer to get to a good charge level. You can also use a dedicated car battery charger to bring it up to full charge overnight. Battery conditioners give your car battery small amounts of charge if your car is used infrequently or parked for a long time.
2-Problems With Fuel
You may be out of fuel if your vehicle isn’t starting up – it has happened to the best of us, and it is so easy to forget to fill up your car with petrol if you have been stressed, busy or just simply forgot to go to the station before you started your journey. So, if you have been running on fumes and you’re out of petrol, get the fuel can from the boot and get to your nearest petrol station. If your petrol gauge isn’t working properly, you will need to take it to a professional so that they can check it out if you want to avoid an empty tank situation!
3-Wheel or Ignition Lock/Jam
If you are unable to turn the ignition key, the steering lock on your vehicle might be jammed up, and this can be caused by one of the front tyres being stuck too hard against a curb. You could try and free the wheel by slightly turning it from side to side and at the same time, turning the key back and forth until the lock becomes free. If this does not work, you can press the brake down carefully and then release the handbrake – this will make the car roll away from the curb. Put your handbrake back on and try again if it doesn’t work the first time. Always make sure that it is safe to do this – and that you avoid this method if you are parked on a steep hill!
4-Broken Starter Motor
The starter motor is an electrical motor that is connected to the car’s battery system. It starts up the engine when you turn the ignition. If the starter motor is faulty, then it will not be able to start the car. Your battery may be fully charged – but if you hear a loud clicking sound when you go to start up the engine, then there is something wrong with the starter motor or an electrical wiring fault. You will need to take your vehicle into a garage to have this repaired.
5-Faulty Immobiliser/Security System
The security system of your vehicle could stop the engine of your car from starting – when the car immobiliser fails to recognise the key then the engine will not be able to start at all.
If your key fob has a flat battery in it, the signal from the fob to the car system gets weakened. The central locking won’t be able to work properly either. You could try and replace the battery in your key fob. You could also hold the fob right up against the start button and press the start button on your dashboard at the same time – if your car doesn’t have a start button then hold your key close to the ignition switch while you turn the key. If you have a spare key, see if the engine recognises it. his fails then you will need to reprogramme it manually; you can refer to your handbook to find out how. If all these fail to work, then you can contact your car dealer or your local car manufacturer’s garage.
A flooded engine means that there is an imbalance with the fuel to air ratio in the engine. There is too much fuel and not enough air. However, this doesn’t happen often because of the fuel injection system that is fitted to most modern cars. This usually happens when the engine is cold, and you only move your car a few meters to get the desired parking spot or to park it into a garage.
If you have a suspicion that your engine may be flooded, you can press the accelerator pedal to the floor, and then briefly try and start the engine for a few seconds – you could end up flattening the battery if you try and start it up for longer than a few seconds at a time, or it could result in starter motor problems. When it starts, allow the car to be idle for a few minutes and do not get out of the car and leave it unattended.
7-Blocked or Clogged Fuel Filter
The petrol or diesel won’t be able to reach the engine if there is a clog or blockage in the fuel filter; this will not allow the engine to start up because it needs the fuel to do so. You may not be able to tell if your fuel filter is blocked, so they should be regularly checked when you take your vehicle in for servicing. Fuel filters should be changed every fifteen thousand to twenty thousand miles. You can prevent yourself from a lot of trouble if you keep on top of this important component of your car.
What Should I Do If My car doesn’t Start?
The answer to this question depends on the reason as to why your car won’t startup. If it is down to a simple problem, you could fix the issue yourself, or with the help of a friend or family member – even a fellow driver that has stopped to help may be able to assist you. However, some problems you may not be able to fix, such as faulty car components or mechanical failure. You will need to make sure that you always have some sort of breakdown cover in case any of these serious issues occur.
If your car not starting up is a recurring issue, you may want to bring your car to us at Sinspeed so we can diagnose any possible issues that could be causing your vehicle to not start up when you require it to.