What Do I Do If I My Car Won't Start?
August 10th, 2015
Updated March 17th, 2017
Falls Church, Virginia - Many of us are familiar with that sinking feeling you get when you try to crank up your car but get no response. If you're one of the lucky few who have never experienced this situation, it may not be wise to assume that you never will. For this reason, it's important to know what to do in the event that your car won't start, so that you can identify potential causes and know how to take the appropriate action.
Below are helpful tips to keep in mind if you ever have to deal with a car that just won't start.
Diagnosing the Problem There are two basic types of situations you might run into when your car won't start: Either it doesn't make any noise of any kind (e.g., the car won't "turn over"), or you might get a slight noise such as a clicking or a sputtering sound, but it just doesn't fully start. We'll deal with the "no noise" situation first.
If Your Car Won't Turn Over...
This is probably the most typical type of "symptom" you will experience with a non-starting car; it simply won't do anything when you turn the key (or push the button). No sounds, no response, just complete silence. The first thing you will need to do is check your battery. The best way to do this is to take it to an auto parts or repair shop and have it load tested; most places will perform this service for free. This test will let you know exactly how strong your battery is (or is not), and whether you need to have it replaced. If you are unable to do this, you can try turning on your headlights or radio and seeing if you get any response. If your headlights seem unusually dim, it may be a sign that your battery's days are numbered. If you get no response at all, your battery is definitely dead, in which case you will need a jump start from someone. (As a side note, it's always a good idea to keep a set of jumper cables in the car).
Another common cause is a loose battery cable connection or excessive corrosion on the connections. Make sure that your cables are firmly connected to your battery posts, and that the posts are clean from any white or blue powder-looking buildup, which is a key indication that your cables are corroded.
If Your Car Does Turn Over But Still Won't Start...
This can definitely complicate things. If you hear a clicking noise, it may be that your starter has gone out. Other noises can imply a litany of different things, from a fuel injection system gone bad to ignition problems to a malfunctioning crankshaft sensor, etc. At this point, the best step you can take is to have a Winchester battery replacement professional perform a thorough inspection in order to pinpoint the root cause of the issue. This will ensure that you won't waste your money replacing parts or "fixing" things that aren't actually broken.
*Always check your owner’s manual for your vehicle model’s specific instructions before attempting any type of repair. Copright Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto March 2017
Comments:Kyle Ross says:
November 6, 2015 at 7:21 pm
This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that a clicking noise when trying to start your car can indicate problems with the starter. When I tried to leave to work yesterday, this happened to me, so I had to call a friend for a ride. I'll definitely see if I can get my car inspected, and I'll see if the starter is the problem. Thanks for the great post!