How to articles Buyer Tips Used Cars

Car Tips: 5 Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Start and How to Fix it

By Daisy Emah-Emah Posted: 08/04/2021

What is the most frustrating thing about owning a car that has ever happened to you? 


You can never realize how frustrating certain things are until it’s too late… like beginning your day with a car that won’t start! 


You may be saddled with a lot of errands to run, a deadline to meet, or meeting a client to close a massive deal and your car won’t bulge. You are probably thinking “of all days for this to happen”… such a huge pain don’t you think?   


A car never breaks down at the “right time”… they like to sneak up on surprise malfunctions when you need them the most. 


There are a number of reasons why your car won’t start and knowing why can help you fix or switch to a backup plan in record time. It could be a dead battery, a faulty starter, an electronic malfunction, or even low fuel in your tank. 


It is pointless turning the key in the ignition for long periods of time, this will only lead to damaging your starter engine – more money spent to fix it or draining your battery!


If you are stuck in a situation where your car won’t start, here are some reasons and quick-fix solutions 


Why Your Car Won’t Start


  1. The Battery is Probably Dead

This is one of the most common reasons why your car won’t start. The battery is usually charred by the alternator while the car is running, if the battery is not charged enough your car won’t start. Your car battery can run out due to lights being left on for too long, loose wires, battery lifespan has expired, radio left on, etc. 



If you have a battery tester, you can simply test to see if the battery is the reason for the car not starting. You can also jump-start your car – if it works, it is likely a dying battery or an alternator having issues charging the battery. Once the jump start is done, the alternator (if functioning properly) begins to charge the battery while the engine is running. 


If the battery dies frequently, you need to clean out any corrosion around battery connections or replace the battery or alternator. Have a professional take a look if the problem persists. 


  1. The Ignition is Faulty

If you are certain that your battery is in the top-notch condition the next culprit is likely your ignition system. You can rule out your battery by turning on your headlights and check if the engine cranks up. If it doesn’t crank up – it is likely your ignition started. 


Pay close attention to the “check engine” light – it should blink for a moment and go out. If it doesn’t come on you will need to have it checked by a professional mechanic. Also, a damaged ignition coil could be an issue with your ignition and you can use a multimeter to test the strength of the voltage running through the coil. 


  1. The Starter is Faulty

Another common reason your car would refuse to start is a faulty starter. This is an electric motor that is connected to the battery which sets the engine in motion when the ignition is turned on. Its job is complete once the engine starts and is in motion. 


If the starter is faulty, the engine will not crank properly or crank at all when the ignition is on. To rule out the starter as the issue – listen for a clinking sound when you start your car. If you can hear the sound or it’s really noisy when starting the car, it means your starter is weak or broken. You can use a voltmeter to test the starter and have it replaced if it’s broken. 


  1. Your Fuel Filter is Clogged

A clogged fuel filter makes it difficult for fuel to get to the engine. If you run on empty frequently, this is going to cause your fuel filter to be a much worse situation. Your car’s fuel filter should be replaced every 15000 KM to 20000 KM. You should refer to your car’s manual to get the exact time. 


A clogged or faulty fuel filter could be the reason why your car is refusing to start. If you can replace your fuel filter yourself it would fix the issue or have it replaced by your mechanic. 


  1. Your Fuel Tank is Empty

You may feel a bit embarrassed if the reason your car won’t start is that you forgot to have your tank filled when you passed by the gas station the day before. It happens to the best of people, so you are not alone. It is easy to forget to fill up your tank especially if you are swamped. Luckily the best solution is pretty easy… get gas!


If your tank isn’t showing empty, it could be that your fuel gauge was miscalibrated. Get gas then have the fuel gauge fixed to avoid future issues.  


Further Reading

  1. 5 Sites you Need to Check Before Buying a Used Car 
  2. What Should I Check For When Buying a Car
  3. Everything You Need to Know about Buying Used Cars
  4. How Saving Money at a Used Car Auction Actually Works


Last Words

Hopefully, you never find yourself in situations where your car won’t start – but cars sometimes find the worst times not to start. This can mess up and disorganize your entire day’s plan.   It is always recommended to have your car checked by a professional mechanic. If you are confident you can solve your car’s start problem yourself, this guide will help. 


If you are looking for a new car and on a budget, we can assist you to land awesome deals at our dealer-only used car auction.  You don’t require a license and you can have access to our inventory of over 150k clean title and other titled vehicles. Our Auction Specialists are always available to assist you with the entire process.


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