7 Tips When the Car Won't Start
If you turn the key in the ignition and your car doesn't start, don't despair. Before you call a tow truck, try these seven simple tips for getting your car started again. The only tool you will need? A shoe.
Your car won't start, but don't give up hope!
Most people don't think about keeping a box full of mechanic's tools in the trunk of their car. Because of this, when they get stuck with an engine that refuses to start, they feel rather helpless. But if this happens to you, don't give up just yet.
We've compiled a list of tips before we give up, and none of them require a tool. We have categorized them according to symptoms, and it doesn't cost a thing to try them. Of course, they will not solve the problem, and it must still go through an inspection of maintenance, but one of them could restart the battery of your car so you can roll up nearest garage.
Symptom: The starter clicks
Tip: Turn the key
Turn the key to the starting position repeatedly, about 10 turns at a time. Stop and wait five minutes. Then try to start the engine.
Hit the bounds with a shoe
Kick each battery terminal with the heel of a shoe to rotate them slightly. Then try to start the engine. Clicking the starter level may be caused by a low battery, fouled battery terminals, an engine starter worn or seized solenoid.
Here are a few tips to try:
Tip: Turn the key to start the car
Turn on the dome light and watch it as you try to start the engine. If it goes off, it is a sign that the battery is really low - almost dead. To warm up the battery, the terminals and the starter, try the “turns of the key” technique. But if the dome light remained on when you turned the key in the ignition, go to the next trick.
Hit the battery terminals
Broken down and without tools, it is impossible to clean corrosion-contaminated battery terminals. But you can try to move the terminals, or at least to shake them enough to improve their contact.
Kicking the Starter
If you have access to the starter motor, try banging it with the iron rod of your automobile jack. Sometimes the electrical contacts get stuck and can be released by tapping on them.
Symptom: No click when turning the key
Tip: Playing with the gear lever
Keeping your foot on the brake pedal, place the gear lever in neutral and try to start the engine. If that doesn't work, return the lever to the “Park” position and try again. Moving the shift lever can sometimes restore electrical contact inside the automatic transmission selector (also known as the neutral safety switch).
Symptom: Engine runs but does not start
Tip: Swap the relays
Pull the fuel pump relay sharply upward. Then line up the pins of the replacement relay and push it straight into the socket.
Kicking the fuel tank
Hit the bottom of the fuel tank several times with the heel of your shoe. Then try to start the vehicle.
Making sure that the radio is turned off, turn the key in the ignition to the on position, and listen to hear a buzzing sound for two seconds. It is the sound of the fuel pump that prime the injection system.
If you don't hear any sound, the fuel pump relay may be defective, or the pump itself may be dead.
- First, locate the fuel pump relay in your owner's manual or on the legend shown on the fuse box panel under the hood.
- Then locate another relay with the same part number and swap it with the one for the fuel pump.
- Try to start the engine afterwards. If it still does not come on, hit the fuel tank with your shoe to shake the fuel pump motor.
Saving a flooded engine
If you smell gasoline, the engine is flooded. Depress the accelerator pedal with your foot on the floor and hold it in this position while running the engine.
Trapping the Computer
A vacuum leak or a faulty temperature sensor can cause the air / fuel mixture to be too diluted to start a cold engine. If you've tried all of the tips shown here and your car still won't start, half-step the throttle and try to start the engine. The on-board computer will therefore think that it needs to add more fuel.