In this series of Q&A posts, we are using google’s autocomplete function to find the most commonly asked questions about cars and giving them each a definitive answer. This series is ongoing and you can find more of our Q&A articles right here.

 

Why won’t my car start?

When we are faced with this issue we always ask the same question first: When your car doesn’t start, is it cranking and not starting, or not cranking at all? If it is not cranking at all, that is the easiest thing to diagnose. It is a problem with your battery or your electrical system. If the engine is cranking, meaning the starter is activating but the engine will not turn over, we move our attention over to the three ingredients your engine needs to start and find out which one is missing.

 

Air, Fuel, & Spark

Your engine needs 3 things to run: Air, fuel, and a spark. If anything from this cocktail is missing no amount of cranking the starter will get it to run. it is simple to eliminate the possibilities, but there is a process. Sometimes finding no spark means something in the car is not turning on the component that turns on another component and so on. We just go down the line and find the root of the problem and fix only what is needed. When we diagnose each ingredient it looks like this:

  • Spark: needs a variety of things to happen, most complicated as it could be the symptom of a problem instead of the problem itself.
  • Air: very is simple, is it getting air, yes or no?
  • Fuel: very simple as well, but we also check if it has the correct volume and pressure and if the the injectors opening or closing.

 

Bottom Line

If you turn your key and nothing happens at all, ask someone for a boost and see if you can get it started that way. If it is the battery that should give you the power to get down to the shop and have the electrical/battery repaired or replaced. If it cranks but won’t start, your only option is to get it down to the shop for a full inspection so we can find the culprit and get you back on the road.

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