Car Won’t Start? Mechanic Master Dave is Here To Help!
Are you trying to figure out why your car won’t start? Car problems can be inconvenient and frustrating. The fear of a costly car repair may be upon you when you have car problems. It’s not fun for most – but it’s fun for me. They call me Mechanic Master Dave for a reason. I’m passionate about working on and helping others with cars. That’s why I am writing here to help you get your car started today.
Does they key turn in the ignition? Do lights on the dash come on when you turn ignition on? Is your check engine light on? Investing a few minutes into listing the symptoms can help get you back on the road faster. Prior to calling for a tow you should invest a little time checking 4 things.
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4 Things You Should Check if Your Car Won’t Start
#1 Check the battery. Is it dead or discharged?
A dead or discharged battery can cause your car to not start. Are you experiencing one or both of the following symptoms?
- Do you hear clicking noises?
- Does the starter turn slowly when you turn the engine on?
If so, your battery might be dead or discharged. Good news is… a dead or discharged battery is usually an inexpensive and quick repair. It’s perfectly normal for your battery to be working one day and dead the following day. In some cases there are warning signs.
So what can cause problems with your battery? Perhaps you left the dome lights on for an extended period of time. Or maybe the vehicle has faulty electrical system or components. It might even be something as simple as it’s just an old battery.
Here’s an easy way to diagnose a dead or discharged battery:
- Turn on the windshield wipers. Are they moving slower than normal? If so, your battery might be low.
- Turn the dome light on. Keep a close eye on it while you turn the car on. Does the dome light dim as the engine turns on? If so, your battery might be discharged.
I recently replaced my battery. How could it be dead so soon?
How long ago did you replace the battery? If the answer is recently you should try to recharge the battery. Keep in mind – the average life span of a car battery is about 4 years. Use jumper cables to jump-start the car and recharge the battery. Once you get the car running you should leave the engine on for a while. If the battery will not hold a charge you may need to replace it. Problems within the vehicle’s charging system may also cause a battery to not recharge.
Starter not cranking? Do you hear a clicking noise?
You turn the key position to “Start.” The engine doesn’t crank. The car won’t start. Do you hear single or repeating clicking noise from the engine compartment? This too might mean the battery is dead or discharged.
#2 Notice any lights displayed or flashing on the dashboard?
If you notice a key-shaped or “Security” light on the dashboard there might be an immobilizer problem. Commonly, cars are equipped with an immobilizer or security feature requiring the use of the proper key to start the car. An immobilizer uses a security code attached to a chip inside the key. Usually, when the ignition is turned on a security system sensor reads the code. While it’s reading the code you may see a “Security” light come on for a short period of time. If the sensor detects the correct code the light should turn off and the car should start.
The “Security” light might remain on or flashing if…
- The car doesn’t recognize the key
- Problem with security system itself
In some cases reprogramming the key can solve the problem. You can most likely obtain information regarding key re-programming in the cars owner’s manual. Google search can also be a valuable source of information regarding key reprogramming. Can you find a user-friendly procedure to re-learn the key? If so, try it.
Do you have a spare key? If you do, you should try it. Does it work? If not, the dealer or your mechanic can inspect the immobilizer. If needed they should be able to reprogram the keys.
#3 Is the check engine light ON when you start the car?
In most cars when you turn the ignition ON, prior to starting the car, the “Check engine” comes on. Usually this signals that the engine computer is ON.
If the “Check engine” light doesn’t turn on it might be a clue for solving why your car won’t start. If the “Check engine” is off it may indicate the engine computer is receiving no power. Broken wire, burnt fuse, and faulty main relay are a few reasons the engine might not be receiving power. Alternatively, it could indicate a problem with the engine computer itself.
#4 Starter won’t crank? Do you hear a click?
You turn the key position to “Start.” The engine doesn’t crank. The car won’t start. Do you hear a single or repeating clicking noise from the engine compartment? The battery might be weak or its terminals could have a poor connection. Check the battery and inspect for damaged or disconnected wires or other potential connection issues.
How do I prevent my car from dying?
Properly and regularly servicing your vehicle can improve reliability. It’s also important to locate a top-rated mechanic who performs thorough inspections with any service. Repeatedly using the same mechanic long-term can improve vehicle health. My job as a Mechanic Master is similar to a doctor’s job. The better I know a vehicle, its personality, and history, the better I can service it.
Schedule Kendall Toyota Service appointments online.