Car Won’t Start? 6 Quick Things to Try!
So your car won’t start…
These 6 quick fixes are designed to get your car running long enough to drive to a technician and hopefully avoid calling a tow truck. You will probably need to take your car to a dealership or repair shop to fix the source of the problem.
When your car won’t start, the first thing you need to determine is whether or not the starter is cranking.
Verifying whether or not your starter is cranking will save you time while troubleshooting and help get your car back on the road more quickly. It will also help you communicate the problem to the technician or service advisor because this is the first course of action they will take when working on your car.
If you turn your key and your car does nothing, then your car is “not cranking and will not START.” If your car makes a noise caused by the starter, but still will not run, your car is “cranking, but will not RUN”.
Cranking means that the starter is engaging and it is trying to rotate the engine (this is also commonly referred to as turning over).
If your car is not cranking and does not start, here is a list of things to try:
1. Jumpstart the battery in your car. Read step-by-step instructions on how to jump start your car.
2. Start the car in neutral. First confirm that your car is in park. If you car will not start while in park, try to start your car in neutral. If your car starts while in neutral, this might mean that you have a bad neutral start safety switch. You will need a professional.
3. Hit the starter with a hammer or hard object. THIS IS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE REALLY CAR SAVVY!!!!!!! Have someone turn the key while you hit the starter with a hammer or hard object. (If you don’t know where your starter is, don’t attempt this!) If this works, you have verified your starter is the problem and you will need a new starter. This is only a temporary fix and you will need to take your car to a technician.
4. Push-start a manual transmission. This only works on manual transmissions or stick shifts. Put your car in neutral and stay in the car. Have someone else push your car or start rolling down a hill to gain momentum. Make sure your key is on. Once you are moving, pop the clutch. Then put the car into either first gear or reverse, depending on the direction that you are moving. This works as a substitute for your starter. If your starter is not working, your car has spark and fuel, but not compression and timing, so gaining momentum or movement starts your engine.
5. Check your battery terminals. The battery terminals are the parts that connect your wiring to the battery posts. Make sure the connection is tight and free of corrosion. A loose connection can be a reason that your car won’t start.
NOTE: If your car won’t start and is not cranking, the problem is usually caused by your starter, battery, wiring, or ignition.
If your car won’t start, but it is cranking, here is what you can do:
6. Check to make sure you are not out of fuel. If you car is cranking and will not start, almost every issue besides low fuel will require a professional.
TIP: If your car is cranking and will not start, it probably isn’t your battery and you should not bother trying to jumpstart your vehicle.