The car won’t start: 10 main reasons and methods of their elimination

Every car owner may find himself in this situation, but do not rush to give up and rush to the service – try to figure out for yourself why the car does not start and what to do about it.

We got behind the wheel, put the key in the ignition, but the car won’t start. The reasons may be a carriage and a small cart. If you are at least a little versed in the device of the car, then you yourself will be able to diagnose and solve the problem. In our materials, we will consider the main causes of the malfunction and tell you what to do about it.

Why Car won’t start

The most common reasons due to which the car stalls or refuses to start at all:

  1. Generator or battery
  2. Starter
  3. Gasoline and diesel
  4. Spark plug
  5. Alarm and immobilizer
  6. Electrician
  7. Crankshaft sensor
  8. Gasoline pump
  9. Exhaust pipe
  10. Egnition lock

We will tell you more about each of them and consider possible solutions to the problem.

Generator or battery

The engine of the machine may not start due to a malfunction of these components.

The generator converts the energy of the crankshaft into electricity and supplies it to the car network. And if it is faulty (for example, a belt breaks), then the battery stops charging. If the unit is out of order, the torpedo of new cars will signal this.

It is not possible to repair the generator on site. Machines with a mechanical box can be started from the “pusher”. Otherwise, you need a qualified auto electrician.

The problem may be in the battery itself. How long have you changed it? As you know, it is advisable to update it every 3 – 5 years, depending on the model. So a possible reason for the ignition fiasco lies in a dead battery.

For example, the day before you were in traffic jams a lot. When the engine is idling, the battery is not recharged. And it takes about an hour of continuous driving to charge it. If the part is old, it could simply sit down overnight.
But it is possible that everything is in order with the battery itself. The reason that the car stalls needs to be found on the periphery of the battery.

What to do

Inspect the terminals. They don’t have to be dirty. If they are oxidized, you need to clean them with a rag, sandpaper or brush with the addition of a soda solution.

If the terminals are clean, perhaps they are just loose and need to be tightened. Make it a rule to carry out this procedure as a preventive measure once every couple of months.

It would also be nice to know whether the battery is serviced by the car or not. If it is serviced, then you need to unscrew the plugs and assess the electrolyte supply. Perhaps adding distilled water will help.

When you start the starter and see that all the electrical equipment of the car goes out, then the battery is dead. There is only one way out – to change. And to start the car, you need to ask another car owner to “light”. Moreover, it is better for the driver of a serviceable car to turn off at this moment up to 3000 rpm in order to give out enough voltage to start.

2. Starter

The starter is the main device of the starting system. The car will not start without it. You turn the ignition key and current from the battery is supplied to the starter, which already starts the engine.

What to do

Let’s look at two situations. First, if the starter turns, a characteristic sound is heard, but the engine will not start. You don’t need to torment the system for a long time – just drop the battery.

First you need to check the most obvious problem – is there any gasoline in the tank. If there is fuel, the starter turns, but still the plant does not work, check if the spark has disappeared. This electrical problem is common with gasoline engines and requires specialist repair. Also, with a rotating starter, the car may not start if there is a breakdown in the ignition system or problems with compression. As a rule, these issues cannot be resolved on their own and it is necessary to go to the service.

In the second case, the starter does not rotate at all. Only characteristic clicks of the traction relay can be heard. The starter motor could be rusty or broken. Corrosion can be removed at a car service. In other cases, only a replacement.

Also, the reason may be a malfunction of the bendix. It is located on the starter shaft. Here you can offer a small life hack: try to gently knock on it and try to start the engine again. From external influence, the bendix will engage and the engine can start.

3. Gasoline and diesel

The fuel might just run out. For example, the day before you had a hard day, and you did not notice the burning light on the torpedo. Or the arrow is frozen/broken / stuck and there was simply no notification.

The characteristics of gasoline or diesel can also be the reason that the car will not start in cold weather. Gasoline with a lower octane rating (92 versus 95) will perform worse. For a diesel engine, the temperature range is indicated at which it should be used.

The worst thing is if the system is leaking. Look under the car, check the ground nearby for fuel spills.

By the way, the oil can also thicken at low temperatures if you have filled in a non-all-season version. Or if the engine oil has changed for a long time, it turns into a kind of tar and stops performing its tasks.

What to do

If the cold is to blame, then there is only one option – to warm the car in a warm garage. If you run out of fuel, then call a taxi and go to the gas station. Remember that neither gasoline nor diesel is allowed into regular cans and bottles. Only in special safe containers such as metal cans.

Another option is to ask passing cars to share gasoline. If you come across an old domestic passenger car like “Zhiguli”, then the familiar method: a hose, sucking air out of it and pouring it through a funnel into another gas tank. Unfortunately, with modern cars, this trick will not work – they have a different gas tank device.

4. Spark plugs

The spark plugs cause a spark that ignites the fuel, the pistons come into action and the engine starts. The part is small and can easily fail. As a result, the car will not start.

What to do

Gently unscrew the spark plugs using a torque wrench or other tool specified in the instructions. Examine the detail. If it is dry, then there is no fuel in the cylinders, which may be due to several reasons – from faulty injectors to the lack of the necessary gasoline pressure in the rail due to blockages in the gas line, pump failure, etc. It remains to go to the diagnosis. The candles can be dry due to the fact that the gasoline has simply run out.

Another situation is when the candles, on the contrary, are flooded. Over time, carbon deposits form on them, which does not allow a spark to be struck normally. Try wiping and drying the candles, then replacing them. The part should be replaced in the near future.

You can unscrew the spark plug and insert it into the high-voltage wire. Put on the engine and turn the starter. Your job is to see the spark. If it is, everything is fine. If not, the problem is in the ignition system.

5. Alarm and immobilizer

Modern anti-theft systems are not only responsible for sound notification to the entire district that they are trying to take possession of the car. They also block the engine mechanisms. For example, a gasoline pump. The alarm may turn off and not unlock the mechanism. Sometimes an incorrect installation is made in the service. For example, they put a blocking relay where it should not be – car manufacturers usually prescribe acceptable options in the instructions.

An immobilizer can block the engine. Often, it is installed in new cars as standard. This is an anti-theft system that prevents the engine from starting and the car will not start.

What to do

Try again to put the car on the alarm and then unlock it. If the problem is incorrect installation, then only the service will help. Examine the alarm keychain. Is there a new light on there? Perhaps, by accident, you turned on the immobilizer. See instructions on how to disable it. The problem may lie in the fact that the immobilizer does not recognize the key. In this case, it must be reprogrammed in the service.

6. Electrician

The wiring can be damaged after some serious traffic shake. And rats can also profit from it. When they understand the causes of the malfunction, they find clearly gnawed wires. The contacts may oxidize and not tell the combustion engine to start. The driver turns the key, but nothing happens. Even the starter does not rotate.

The electrical system of a car is complex and ramified. The machine may not start due to a break in the generator winding, failure of the voltage relay, an open circuit of the spark plug. Finally, the electrician is inextricably linked with the on-board computer of modern cars. He can block the nozzles by mistake or “throw out” some other trick.

What to do

If you have a multimeter, you probably know how the meter works and what it is for. Look for short circuits, check voltage and grounding, and continuity. If you hear about such a device for the first time, then let’s briefly explain: this device is the main tool for wiring diagnostics. If you are not strong in electronics, then call an auto electrician or send a car to a service.

7. Crankshaft sensor

It is called DPKV for short. It rarely fails, but if it breaks down, the car will definitely not start. This sensor synchronizes the electronics and timing in the engine to control the fuel injection and ignition system. Most often, the crankshaft sensor fails due to worn wiring. By the way, if the car stalls while driving, one of the possible reasons is just the same DPKV.

What to do

The sensor cannot be repaired if it is broken, all that remains is to replace it. Sometimes the mechanism is not broken, but is simply seriously dirty and needs to be thoroughly wiped and blown out. If it’s the wiring, it can be re-soldered and re-shielded if you have the skill to do so.

8. Gasoline pump

In modern cars, this setting is hidden under the rear seats. It pumps gasoline through the system and starts up at the same time as the car. If the fuel pump is out of order, then the car may stall on the move or immediately after starting. A couple more signs of a faulty unit: the speed is floating, the engine vibrates, you need to rotate the starter for a long time to start the car. If the car is parked in a quiet place, then during the start you should hear the characteristic hum of the pump. If not, then things are bad.

What to do

The reason may be a clogged mesh of the fuel pump or filter. The fuse of the part or relay may have failed. As we wrote above, the alarm glitch can also block the start of the unit. On old carburetor VAZs, craftsmen invented temporary “crutches” and even reassembled a faulty fuel pump based on a tire pump. With modern cars, the only thing that can be done with improvised means is to clean the grid of the fuel pump. Disassemble it carefully so as not to damage anything.

9. Exhaust pipe

If it is heavily clogged, the car will not start. Condensation can build up in the muffler. In winter, car owners can accidentally park in a snowdrift. It cannot be ruled out that the ill-wishers could deliberately hammer the muffler with rags.

What to do

Snow and condensation will melt by itself in a warm box. You can try to pull out the rags with the tools at hand.

10. Ignition lock

For modern cars, this problem is less relevant. But the owners of old budget cars can be taken by surprise by the disease. If the ignition switch is broken, you will immediately understand it. The key will scroll back and forth but have no effect.

What to do

If you understand an auto electrician, you can remove the cover that covers the ignition mechanism and start the car directly. And at the same time, and see the possible reason why the car will not start. For example, contacts have melted.

Popular questions and answers

Maxim Ryazanovtechnical director of the Fresh Auto network of car dealerships, shared answers to frequently asked questions regarding the problem of starting a car.

Why won’t the car start the first time?

In gasoline powered cars, the most obvious problem may be lack of pressure in the fuel system. The idle speed control or throttle may be dirty. If the electronics behave strangely at startup, then the matter is in the battery. If you hear the relay clicks, then the problem may be in the starter. Do not leave the situation to chance and do not postpone solving the problem. Now the car will not start the first time, and then it will not go at all.

How to start the car if the battery is dead and no one is around?

– The most common question for novice drivers. If the battery is dead and there are no other cars nearby who would give a “light”, the owners of the manual transmission are more fortunate. If the battery is dead, you can try to start the car with a jolt. This method will not help the automaton. You will either have to throw in another charged battery, or use the cigarette lighter wires. Or always have a booster with you – a starting charger. Then the problem of starting a car with a dead battery will cease to be relevant, – said Maxim Ryazanov, technical director of the Fresh Auto network of car dealerships.

Why won’t the car start in cold weather?

– In winter, some car models are difficult to start due to freezing temperatures. This problem is typical for cars running on diesel fuel, which thickens in cold weather and simply does not pass through the system. Or the water in the gas line is frozen. As a result, the car will not start. Look for a warm box to keep warm. The reason may be the same battery, or rather, its capacity. If there is insufficient battery capacity in the car, it will not be noticeable in warm weather. But in the cold she will be missed. Therefore, the car simply won’t start. Do not forget that if the car stands on the street for a long time at subzero temperatures, the battery discharges faster, which in the future will not allow the engine to start, – says Maxim Ryazanov.

If the car does not start in cold weather, try this algorithm: turn on the headlights or radio for a few minutes. Then turn on the ignition and starter, but not longer than 7-10 seconds. Otherwise, the battery may be permanently discharged. It didn’t work the first time, then wait a minute and repeat.

Why does the car stall on the move?

– Owners of a manual transmission most often face such a disaster. For example, one has only to turn on “neutral”, as the car stalled. In most cases, this is due to the throttle valve, which on some models has a defect that leads to the car stalling. As a rule, owners of cars with a machine are not familiar with this problem. Since the car system itself maintains the engine speed during movement higher than the idle speed, which contributes to the stable operation of the engine, the expert says.



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