Why Your Car Isn’t Starting
Every wonder why your car wont start? One of the reasons may be a weak or dead battery. If you have a battery tester that can measure cranking amps, use it to see if the battery is weak. If you cant test the battery, try jump-starting. If the car starts right away, your problem is most likely a dead battery. Charge the battery and clean the terminals and cable connectors to ensure good contact. If your car does not start by jump-starting, you may have a problem with your starter, alternator or another component of the electrical system. Be sure to read and follow all safety and handling instructions on the battery and this website.
What Does It Mean When Your Car Won’t Start But Clicks
The most common problem that causes a car to click and no start is a weak battery. The battery is not completely dead, but it is discharged, and even though it turns on the car lights, it can no longer start the engine. You will need to jump-start your car with a jump box, jump it with another car, or replace the battery.
Even if your radio, dashboard turns on, and lights work, you can still have a weak battery.
If you notice the following problems, you have what is known as a partially discharged battery.
- The car won’t start, you hear a clicking noise, and the battery seems good.
- The car won’t start, you hear clicking noise, but the lights work.
- The car does not start, but the radio works.
Don’t panic and think you have a major breakdown. That is less likely.
Here is why this is most likely a dead battery problem:
Car won’t start, and all I hear is a clicking noise.
- The chances are that your battery has partially discharged. If you forget the lights, radio, heated seats on, or keep the engine turned off but the keys in the ignition, you may have this problem. Maybe you didn’t leave the lights on. Yet, the battery could have discharged for several reasons. If your car battery is old, it may not even hold a charge.
Lights and radio still work, the car won’t start.
I installed a new battery, the car still won’t start.
Check The Fuses Fusible Links And Ignition Switch
If the battery is in good shape, check for a blown fuse or fusible link. Check your car’s manual to find the location of the fuse box, then open it. With no power running in the vehicle, inspect the fuse for a metal wire. If the metal wire inside the plastic casing is severed or damaged, a blown fuse is preventing power from reaching the starter relay or solenoid.
You may need a fuse puller to remove the correct fuse and a light source to see its internal components.
If the fuses are in good shape, the car’s ignition switch is faulty. The ignition switch isn’t the mechanical part you put the car key into it’s the electrical switch that the mechanical part operates. In some situations, the ignition switch delivers power to the car’s electrical components but not the engine starter.
Diagnosing and fixing a broken ignition switch is more complicated than checking for a blown fuse. A good rule of thumb is that if the instrument panel and dashboard do not light up when the key ignition is moved to the second position , there may be a problem with the ignition switch.
If you have a manual transmission, a bad clutch pedal position sensor can prevent the engine from turning over while allowing the electronics to work fine. The purpose of the clutch position sensor is to allow the vehicle to start only when the clutch pedal is depressed, so if it fails, the car won’t go anywhere.
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Bad Starter Bad Battery Or Bad Alternator
Youre running late for work and jump in your car knowing that youll need to hit all the green lights to make it on time. You put the key in the ignition and turn itbut nothing happens. You try againstill nothing. Not this morning you think you dont have time to deal with this.
There is nothing more frustrating than a dead car. When your car wont start, it is likely a problem with the battery, alternator or starter. But how do you know which part is causing your issue? All these parts work together to power your vehicle so it can be hard to know which part is at fault. Read on to learn some ways to determine where the cause of your problems lies.
The Ignition Switch Is Faul
A faulty ignition switch can prevent the car from starting and keep it from staying powered up when you turn on the key. The main symptom of an ignition problem is that the starter will operate, but not much else happens accessories like power windows dont work, and headlights fail to come on as well. This could be due to corrosion in the switch or electrical problems such as broken or shorted wires.
A qualified technician will need to diagnose and repair any issues with the ignition system to get your vehicle running again.
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How Do You Fix A Bad Starter
If you determine that your car wont start due to a bad starter, you can try and bring it back to its working condition. This is especially if youre in an emergency situation that requires you to move your car quickly.
Find a hammer and have someone try to start the car. Give the starter a couple of hits while the other person turns the ignition key. This helps to jar the brushes within the starter and to allow them to vibrate so as to make good contact. This will hopefully engage the starter and make the car start.
The Timing Belt Needs To Be Replaced
The timing belt is a rubber strip that rotates the cam and crankshaft in the engine at the proper time. If it fails, the engine wonât run. You may hear a ticking sound coming from under the hood or hear the starter motor engage but not turn over. This is less common than other possible issues, as timing belts typically break while the engine is running and some cars now come with chain belts that last longer than the rubber version. Either way, it will require a trip to the repair shop.
How Much Does It Cost To Solve The Car’s Problem Wont Start But The Battery Is Working
When your car wont start, but the battery is good, many different problems could be causing the issues, as you noticed in the previous sections.
Therefore, when looking at the price to resolve this issue, the price varies by the problem source, and below are some rough estimates about how much to expect to resolve each problem:
- If the problem is related to the battery and you need to replace the entire part, expect to pay between $45 to $250, according to Kelly Blue Book.
- However, if the problem has to do with burnt fuses, you might need to pay between $110 and $140.
- To replace your vehicles starter, you need to pay between $344 to $562
- Replacing the ignition switch requires about $125 and $275
Remember, all these price ranges are just rough estimates, and the actual price depends heavily on your vehicles make, model, and year. Furthermore, the labor cost can increase the total bill significantly. Thats why you might see a big difference in some repairs when going to a dealership versus doing it yourself or having a small repair shop take care of the problem.
Is My Car Battery Dead If The Car Wont Start
Car starting problems happen at the most inopportune of times. Heres one that commonly occurs when people are ready to head out of the door: The car wont start.
This common car problem can be baffling, especially if your car started fine the day before. Whats causing this issue? Is your cars battery dead? Is it a bad alternator? Or is some other issue preventing your car from starting?
Most commonly, when a car doesnt start, a bad battery is the prime suspect. The battery plays a vital role in starting the engine. It powers the vehicles accessories, but more importantly, it powers the starter or cranking motor. The starter is what turns your engine over, and it draws a lot of power from the battery to do that. Therefore, when you have a bad car battery, the starter doesnt have enough ability to turn the engine over.
Think you might have a bad car battery? Or maybe your vehicle isnt starting?
Weve outlined some bad car battery symptoms, as well as other issues that can cause a car not to start to help you diagnose the problem.
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What Are The Things That Can Go Wrong
If your car wont start but has power, anything from the battery to the engine can be the culprit. But this is not hard to track. We just need a map of events that happen when you try to start an engine.
To understand what can go wrong with an engine, let us look at what happens when you crank it. The first thing any driver does after sitting in a car is poking his key in and cranking the engine. Then the charge from the battery runs to the starter motor that rotates the crankshaft. Meanwhile, fuel from the fuel tank is pumped into the engine through the fuel pump, then through the fuel lines, the fuel rail, and finally the injectors.
Simultaneously air gets sucked in through the air filter and enters the engine after passing through the intake manifold. In the case of a gasoline engine, a distributor sends sparks through the spark plugs into the engine. This ignites the air-fuel mixture and voila, there is your horsepower.
With the operations sorted, let us dive into each stage and see what can go wrong in each of them.
Testing A Car Batterys Charge
If your car wont start, and you suspect a bad battery, there are tests and tools you can use to measure your batterys performance. Some of the most basic, you can do at home. Other tests would be best performed at an auto repair shop.
Visually inspect the battery. The battery should be clean, the connections should be free of corrosion, there should be no significant leaks, and the battery case should be free of bumps or cracks.
Test voltage with a multimeter. A multimeter is a primary automotive tool that has many uses. You can use a multimeter to measure the batterys voltage. A fully charged battery should register a minimum of 12.6 volts. When the engine is running, the voltage should be 13.7-14.7 volts.
Test the charge with a hydrometer. Automotive repair shops use advanced hydrometers to measure a batterys performance. This tool measures the level of a batterys charge, helping to understand if its undercharged or if cells have failed.
Conduct a battery load test. Load tests determine the condition of a battery. This test will show if your battery can be charged, needs replacing, or if service is necessary.
Ultimately, these tests will help you determine if the battery needs to be replaced, if it can be charged, or if the problem lies elsewhere. Often, if the battery is still in good condition, a 30-minute charge or jump is enough to get you back on the road.
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Starter Motor Issue Symptoms
The most obvious sign of a broken starter motor is a clicking sound when you turn the ignition key, followed by the engine refusing to turn over and start.
If all the lights and in-car electrics are working fine, this also points to an issue with the starter motor rather than the battery.
Even jump starting wont work if the starter motor has failed.
Engine Misses While Idling
Check the spark plugs to see if they are firing at the correct times and providing the necessary spark to power the engine. You should also check the fuel system, like the fuel pump, fuel filter, and carburetor, to see what parts are not working correctly and how to troubleshoot these problems to prevent you from having a new battery but car wont start without a jump.
When figuring out why you have a car won’t start but battery is good condition with your vehicle, there are some main causes as to this issue appearing in your vehicle. One of the main reasons your car may not start without a jump is the alternator if this part becomes damaged, a new battery will not help at all, and you will have to determine how to fix the alternators problems that are harming your vehicle.
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Good Battery But Car Wont Start: The Bottom Line
When the battery on your car is good but it will not start, you are likely dealing with some sort of issue in the fuel or ignition systems. Some common causes may include inadequate fuel, a faulty starter, a bad ignition switch, a clogged fuel filter, a bad fuel pump, a shot timing belt, or a weak ignition coil.
Although a jumpstart is not a remedy to any of these issues, with some of them likely to require a costly repair, be sure to try one of the simple tricks listed above to get your car started and on the road to the mechanic!
Car Cranks But Wont Start New Battery But Car Wont Start Without Jump
When your car cranks and still your car would not start? If this is the problem with your car, the first thing you need to check is the fuel supply of your vehicle. An individual can check this by analyzing the fuel filters, fuel lines, and most importantly the fuel injectors to make sure that they are working properly.
If all of these parts are in good condition, the second thing you need to do is check the spark plugs. This step is to ensure that the engine is getting the necessary electrical spark and timing to start up the process of internal combustion.
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Engine Cranks But Your Car Will Not Start
When the engine cranks normally but you car won’t start, you need to check ignition, fuel and compression. Ignition is easy enough to check with a spark tester or by positioning a plug wire near a good ground. No spark? The most likely causes would be a failed ignition module, distributor pickup or crankshaft position sensor.
A tool such as an Ignition System Simulator can speed the diagnosis by quickly telling you if the ignition module and coil are capable of producing a spark with a simulated timing input signal. If the simulated signal generates a spark, the problem is a bad distributor pickup or crankshaft position sensor. No spark would point to a bad module or coil. Measuring ignition coil primary and secondary resistance can rule out that component as the culprit.
If a Hall effect crank sensor has power and ground, the next thing to check would be its output. With nothing in the sensor window, the sensor should be “on” and read 5 volts . Measure the sensor D.C. output voltage between the sensor signal output wire and ground . When the engine is cranked, the sensor output should drop to zero every time the shutter blade, notch, magnetic button or gear tooth passes through the sensor. No change in voltage would indicate a bad sensor that needs to be replaced.
Testing The Engine Compression
The next thing you want to check is your engines compression. You will need a compression tester to do this, which you can either buy or rent at an automotive parts store. Heres how you do a compression test:
If the compression gauge/tester registers 90psi, then your cylinder has a healthy compression. If its below that, then there are a variety of issues that may cause this. Such as bad piston rings, a bad valve, or a crack on your engine. Identifying the exact cause can be tricky, so we recommend taking your car to your trusted mechanic for a diagnosis.
If your car wont start but the battery is good and it still cranks, those are the things that you should check. There are a few more things to check such as the air intake system and the ignition timing. We recommend watching this video from ChrisFix to give you a visual guide on how to diagnose the car:
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Ground Cable Wiring Problem
The ground cable is the heavy black battery cable that connects the negative terminal of the car battery to the cars body. Its also known as the negative battery cable, ground wire, or ground strap.
Almost every electrical component of your car flows through this battery cable, making it the foundation of the entire vehicles electrical system.
If theres an issue with it, itll stop your car from starting because the power flow will be cut off. This implies that the engine power wont be able to crank your cars engine.
How do you tell if theres a ground cable problem?Here are some common symptoms:
- Dim or flickering dome light
- Defective fuel pump
- Hard starting
What can you do about it?
Pop the hood to inspect for a damaged ground cable visually. If it looks worn out, then youll need to replace it.