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Undoubtedly, one of the worst situations in which a driver can find himself is to turn on the ignition and see that the car will not start. This can complicate things a lot and, quite possibly, we will have to resort to the services of a tow truck to solve it.

But, why doesn’t the car start? How to start a car that doesn’t react to the ignition? This problem can come from different components and, with the right knowledge, the problem can be diagnosed. Sometimes, this could get us out of trouble when my car won’t start.

In this case, we find different situations, for example, that the car does not start and nothing turns on. Below, we are going to review the most typical situations that cause this problem, the starting faults symptoms, and their solutions, which could very well save you a trip.

Car won’t start – Most typical situations

Starting problems can have their origin in different systems and components of the vehicle. It may be due to the ignition system or one of its components, such as the starter motor or spark plugs, it may be due to faults in the vehicle’s electrical installation, the fuel system.

1. Problems with the electrical installation

The first thing that comes to mind when we find that a car does not start is the battery. If the battery runs out of charge, logically, the engine of the vehicle will not be able to start. If this case takes place, it is advisable to always have a multimeter.

The probes are placed on the poles of the battery and the voltage is measured, thus, we will leave doubts on if the battery has been discharged. The measurement must be of 12 or more V. If we do not have a multimeter if the lights do not work with the due intensity, it can be a symptom that the battery is discharged. The immediate solution is to use a battery charger to try charging the battery, although there are ways to start a car with a discharged battery. If the battery is very old, it may not charge properly. If this is the case, the battery must be replaced to solve this car starting problem.

It can happen that, although the voltage measurement is adequate, the lights of the car do not emit the light that they should. This can indicate a problem with the contacts, observe that the cables are well connected, without looseness, and that they do not have oxide. Clean them if they have it and try again.

Problems with the battery and the car, not starting can also be related to a faulty alternator. It is very important to know where the problem is when the car will not start the battery or alternator. To do this, see how to tell if the alternator is faulty. Problems with electrical components, such as relays and fuses, are also a possible cause. How can you tell if a fuse is blown? The fuses that allow the components related to starting the car to function properly should be checked with a multimeter.

The same applies to relays. Relays are switches that allow electricity to flow when they receive a low current. Thus, they are responsible for components such as the fuel pump to work, a faulty relay can be responsible for the car not starting. Sensors can also be behind a car’s starting problems. For example, in modern cars where the engine is started by pressing a button and fully depressing the clutch, if the limit switch sensor is not working properly, the engine will not start.

In addition, in automatic cars it is also necessary to press the brake pedal fully down and in vehicles with automatic transmission to put the lever in position P or N. If the corresponding sensors are faulty, the engine will not start. If the corresponding sensors are faulty, how to start the automatic car? If they are not replaced, it will not be possible to start the car.

2. Problems with the ignition system

If you find yourself in the situation my car won’t start, and it has a battery, then the problem may be found by checking the ignition system. If it happens that the car does not start and nothing lights up, the main suspect may be the starter motor.

This is a small motor that serves to drive the flywheel, engaging the flywheel and giving it the initial push. The most typical failure of this component is that its bearings have worn out, then, we find that the car does not start clack.

The solution to this problem is to replace the starter motor or the bearings if you can find spare parts for your specific vehicle.

This is somewhat complicated but not impossible. If you can access the component and the rotor is knocked loose, you can try to start it.

Glow plugs and glow plugs can cause the car to not start. These produce the high temperature necessary for detonation. The spark plugs symptoms, if they break down, are that the car does not start or starts with difficulty and the spring-shaped warning light comes on.

3. Problems with the fuel system

Another typical problem that can cause the car not to start is the lack of fuel supply to the engine cylinders. If there is a malfunction in any component of the fuel supply system, this situation can occur.

First, the tank is checked physically, to see that it has fuel since the gauge could have been damaged and the level indicator could give an erroneous reading.

The fuel filter cannot be clogged, make sure of this, as well as that the circuit is not leaking.

If there is no problem with these components, then the fuel pump should be checked. When the fuel pump starts, it makes a buzzing sound. If it works, then check the injector seals, the high-pressure pump.

In the common rail engines of a diesel car, the fuel must reach the correct pressure in order to start. If you notice a strong fuel smell in the engine compartment, the problem may be in these components.


There are a number of reasons why a car will not start, and we have reviewed the most common ones, such as checking your car’s battery, but there are others. For example, low compression due to worn valve seats, a clogged air filter, a faulty intake butterfly, and so on.

With this information and some knowledge of automotive mechanics, you can deal with some of these situations on your own. However, in a complicated situation and without the necessary tools and knowledge, the best thing to do is to call the tow truck and entrust the repair to an auto repair shop.

Top 5 Reasons Your Car Won't Start - Video

Max Welder (rvneeded)

Max Welder (rvneeded)

Max Welder is a mechanic enthusiast. Currently, working at a small company. Experienced in electronics, car tools, and security systems. In his spare time, he writes articles for various blogs.

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