Why your car isn’t starting – Part 2

June 22, 2015


Even if you don’t consider yourself a car savvy person in general, it helps to do some of your own research into car problems as well. This can arm you with the right questions when the time comes to speak to your mechanic.

In part one we looked at why your car might not be starting if it also isn’t cranking. Now in part two we will tackle what might be going on if your car won’t start, but the engine still cranks.

First of all, what is cranking you might ask?

What happens when you turn your key in the ignition like normal? Is there total silence or does it still sound like your car could be starting, but just never actually does? If the latter, your engine is still cranking and that eliminates what some of the problems could be.

What could be wrong?

If the car engine cranks like normal but won’t start, you know at least that the battery and the starting system is working. Bear in mind that if you have tried repeatedly to start your car, you could wear out your battery so that it no longer cranks. In this case, you would have to recharge your battery, but that won’t solve the initial problem.

If it feels like the engine turns over (cranks) unusually fast, as if the engine had no resistance, then the compression in the engine could be unusually low. Many things could cause this, like a leaking head gasket, incorrect timing, broken timing belt or broken pistons.

An engine needs adequate air-fuel mixture as well as a strong spark on the spark plugs at the right moment to ignite the mixture. In other words, both the fuel delivery system and the ignition system need to be working. Problems with a fuel delivery system can include a bad fuel pump, bad fuel pump relay or wiring. Ignition system problems could be a bad ignition coil pack or a faulty distributor.

Related to the above point, another issue could be the engine computer, which controls the fuel-delivery and the ignition system in modern vehicles.

Ask yourself whether anything out of place occurred earlier. For instance, if your car started to lose power while driving then you could have a faulty fuel pump, or you simply might have run out of fuel if the fuel level sensor stopped working.

If your car was recently repaired, take it back to see if something went amiss. It could just be the case that some wires weren’t connected properly.

If your car overheats that can also lead to starting problems. You will have to get your car checked out.

If you regularly have problems with your engine, then of course at some point it will become more economical to buy one of the new pre-owned cars in South Africa. However, if it isn’t a recurring issue, hopefully these pointers will give you a good place to start with addressing the issue.

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