What Does it Mean When Your Car Won’t Start?
November 20, 2019
By Mark Dingman
Nearly everyone has sat behind the wheel of their vehicle, turned the key and came to the sad realization that the car won’t start. Luckily, if it does happen to you, there are usually only a few problems that can cause your vehicle to refuse to start. It’s important to know the difference between these causes because they each have different solutions, and the incorrect solution could be the difference between getting back on the road in just a few minutes, or having to wait until the nearest mechanic can come and get your vehicle started.
Make Sure Your Anti-Theft System Isn’t Activated
If your vehicle won’t start, the first thing you should do is make sure that the security light is not on and the vehicle’s Anti-Theft System has not been activated. In the event of suspicious activity around your vehicle, which could include theft or vandalism, the Anti-Theft System disconnects the electrical circuit of the vehicle which will stop the vehicle from starting.
If your vehicle won’t start because the Anti-Theft System has been activated, refer to your owner’s manual for how to disengage the system. Each vehicle’s Anti-Theft System is unique and could have different methods to deactivate the system. If you don’t have access to your vehicle’s owner’s manual, contact your dealer.
Check Your Vehicle’s Battery
If your engine won’t turn over, then one of the first places you should check is your vehicle’s battery. Check if the battery cables are tightly attached, or if the connections have become too corroded. White or blue buildup around the connections can be a sign of a dying battery. Both are simple and easy to check, even for an amateur mechanic.
If your battery cables are tightly attached and there’s no corrosive buildup, then the next step you should take is to load test your engine’s battery. A load test is the most reliable test for batteries and many repair shops will do this test for free if you don’t have the ability to perform it yourself at home. A load test will find your battery’s current voltage and will tell you if the battery has enough of a charge to start your vehicle.
Could it be the Alternator?
Your vehicle’s alternator charges your battery as you drive, so a faulty alternator can lead to battery issues that may stop your vehicle from starting. A great way to tell if your alternator is not performing at the highest level is by turning your AM radio to a low number on the dial without music. Rev the engine and if you hear a whine or sound of fuzz when you hit the gas, then it’s very likely that your alternator has a problem.
Other Reasons Your Vehicle Won’t Start
There are other reasons why your vehicle’s engine may not start. The vehicle’s starter may be faulty. There are also several possibilities that could be more difficult to repair on your own. These can include problems with the fuel pressure, camshaft sensor, crankshaft sensor, and ignition problems just to name a few possibilities.
If your car won’t start, it’s unlikely that there is any serious damage, but you should still bring your vehicle to the knowledgeable professionals at a Sanel NAPA location near you to have the issue diagnosed.
About Sanel NAPA
Since 1920, Sanel NAPA has been a leading auto parts, heavy-duty truck parts, and body shop supplies distributor with over 48 store locations throughout New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts. We deliver quality car parts, heavy-duty truck parts, automotive paint and body supplies, and tools and equipment that are durable, dependable, and long-lasting to provide our clientele with the best products and services possible. For more information, call (603) 225-4000 or click to find a store near you.