Imagine having an urgent business meeting but your car refuses to start. It was working very fine just a day before, but now all efforts to get it going is proving futile. This is one of the common experiences every car user shares.

It doesn’t matter when you had your last routine maintenance work, this can happen to you. Our instinct tells us to check what is wrong when it happens. You begin to ask, is it the battery or your fuel tank is empty. Well, in this article we discuss some reasons your car isn’t starting and what to do when it happens.

1.   Dead Battery

Dead Car Battery

A dead battery is one of the main causes of a car’s refusal to start. As an important electrical component, the battery stores and distributes the needed power to move the car. When it is dead, the car won’t start. However, how do you know it’s a battery problem?

  • The engine won’t turn over during cranking especially on a cold morning
  • The dashboard light won’t turn on
  • The car will keep showing the battery symbol on the display panel

When this happens, you can try jump-starting the car with a jumper cable or call your mechanic if you can’t do it. Another option is to get a good battery from another car, when the car starts; you can replace the new battery with yours.

2.   Check the Battery Connection

Check Car Battery Connection

A bad/loose connection between the battery terminals and the cables won’t let your car start. Also, a corroded terminal will create connection problems. Even the best of batteries can corrode due to the release of hydrogen gas from the battery acid. For poor connections, just tighten the cables to the terminals. But, if your car battery is failing to work due to corroded terminals:

  • Disconnect the battery cables; negative first before the positive
  • Clean the terminals and cables very well
  • Now reattach the cables by going positive first before negative

Take precautions when undertaking this exercise to avoid damage and injuries. You can call your mechanic or a professional to handle this task.

3.   Key Problem

Car Keys Chips

A damaged key chip can also cause trouble in starting your vehicle. If your car is unable to read the information on your key or the security system does not recognize the key, then it won’t start. In addition, a dead key fob battery will prevent the engine from cranking when you turn the key or push the start button. This is because there won’t be any signal from the key fob. With this, all you need is to replace the battery. If it still doesn’t work, then your key is damaged and needs replacement. But, this wouldn’t be a big deal if you have a duplicate of the key. According to Car Keys Pro, a duplicate car key helps you avoid any struggle when you lose your keys or are stuck with a pair that doesn’t work anymore.

4.   Empty Fuel Tank

Sometimes we do forget to top up our fuel or the fuel gauge may not be working properly, so you wouldn’t know when shorting fuel. That aside, when a vehicle is left unused for a long period the fuel in it can degrade or evaporate. Check your fuel level when your vehicle fails to start, and if there is a shortage top it up.

It could also be a clogged fuel filter preventing a smooth movement of fuel to the engine. If you still have your owner’s manual, check how frequently you need to change the filter. If you have the habit of running your car empty before refueling, it’s time to stop.

5.   The Alternator

Car Alternator

The alternator distributes electrical power to various electronic components of a vehicle. It is also responsible for charging the battery when driving. So if you have a working battery but a bad alternator, your car may not start. Your alternator is bad when:

  • Your stereo system is not working properly
  • Dome or interior lights become dim after a few minutes of switching them on
  • You have the battery or check engine symbol on

You cannot fix an alternator problem by yourself; it requires expert help. Call your mechanic to have your vehicle checked.

6.   Problem with the Ignition System

Sometimes, the engine sounds like it’s cranking but then goes off again. If you continue to have this problem, then your ignition system may be the cause. Check your spark plugs; some may be damaged or loose. It may also be a worn-out wire, coil, or dysfunctional ignition module. Call your mechanic in to run some tests on the vehicle.

7.   The Starter

Though it is unusual, a broker or starter problem can cause your vehicle not to start. If you hear clicks after turning the key or pushing the ignition button, yet the engine won’t crank, it may be that the starter is lacking enough electrical supply. Call your mechanic to have the car checked.