Do you freak out when you turn that key, and nothing happens? Are you late getting places because your car won’t start? Have these embarrassing moments become so frequent that you have thoughts of selling your vehicle?
Wait! Let’s take a second look. Here are some troubleshooting points to consider to narrow down the problem.
Steering Wheel Lock – If you insert your key, but the key will not turn, chances are your steering wheel is in a locked position. To unlock, wiggle the steering wheel back and forth until the ignition locking device releases. This is a frequent problem, but easy to solve.
Empty Fuel Tank – Yes, it happens. An empty fuel tank is one of the most common reasons for a car not starting. Ensure that your fuel tank is always sufficiently filled with gas, to avoid a disrupted start.
Dead Battery – The moment you turn the key, the battery delivers current to the alternator, which triggers the whole ignition system. A dead or weak battery will result in no or insufficient flow of current to start the engine. There will be no sound when the key is turned if the battery is dead. If the battery is weak, the first turn may make a sound, but the engine will not start or the start will be sluggish. Any additional key turns will have no sound.
Snapped Starter – Starter plays a pivotal role in starting a car, as it cranks the engine. A damaged starter will not allow the engine to start. A clicking noise will be heard when you turn the key. This clicking sound reveals a broken starter.
Busted Ignition Switch – If the car’s headlights turn on, but the car fails to start, then the battery is not to blame. A more suspicious culprit is a bad ignition switch.
Fouled Fuel Filter – Your fuel filter is responsible for supplying gasoline to the engine. A clogged filter cuts the fuel supply from the engine and makes the whole system dead.
Most people can solve a loose wire, dead battery, or empty fuel tank. A blocked fuel filter or broken starter will need to be done by a technician. If you troubleshoot these problems and the car still won’t start, it is time to take it to a mechanic for evaluation.