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Common reasons why your car won’t start

With a bit of knowledge, you can troubleshoot your way to a solution. Below are some of the most common reasons why your car won’t start.

If you turn the key & nothing happens

  • The car is silent when you turn the key in the ignition.
  • None of the electrical components work (e.g. the lights, radio, etc.).
  • The battery light comes on.

The most likely culprit is a dead battery. Your battery can die because your headlights or internal light were left on overnight, a wire has become loose, the water inside the component evaporated or simply because the battery’s lifespan has expired.

What to do

  • To test your battery, turn on the headlights. If they work but the car wont crank, it means the battery is charged but the problem could instead be a faulty ignition switch.
  • If your headlights do not work, check if the battery terminal cables are connected.
  • If there is any corrosion around the battery terminals, give it a clean using a mix of bicarb-soda & water and a wire brush to clean it away. Make sure you use gloves.
  • Jump-start your vehicle. Once you have your car jump-started, let the engine run for a while to allow the alternator to fully recharge the battery.
  • If the jump start works, you’re most likely dealing with a dying battery. Your mechanic can perform a battery load test for you to see if it needs replacing.

The car makes a clicking noise but won’t start

  • If you turn the key in the ignition & only hear a single or repeated click but no engine crank, this means the starter motor doesn’t have enough power to turn over the engine. This could be caused by a weak battery, corrosion, or poor connection at the battery terminals.
  • But if you know your battery is working properly and your car still won’t start, you might have a problem with the starter motor or ignition switch.

Starter Motor

  • The starter motor is part of starting system that is connected to the battery. Its job is to set the engine into action when you turn the ignition on.
  • It can be difficult to determine whether the starter motor or ignition switch is at fault, so it is a good idea to call your mechanic for an inspection.

The key won’t turn in the ignition

  • Check if the steering has become locked. This can be caused by the front wheels having been parked at an odd angle or pushed against the curb. Usually, a simple turn left and right of the steering wheel & a gentle wiggle of the key will allow the steering lock to become released.

If the engine cranks but the car won’t start

  • There may be no fuel supply to your engine. Is your fuel tank empty?
  • Your fuel gauge may be faulty, get it checked.

Your automatic car was not put into ‘park’

  • This is a simple mistake if you are not used to driving an automatic car or the last person to drive the car didn’t put it into ‘park’ when they turned off the vehicle.
  • If you notice this is the case, simply put it into park & try starting the vehicle again.

Hope you have found this guide helpful. But if you want to know more, please call our friendly staff at Mainstreme Automotive – Dayboro on 07 34251503 and we’d be happy to answer your questions and arrange a vehicle inspection.

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