What to do if the car doesn’t start

The car does not start. Starter or battery? What to do if the car won’t start! Or about saving laziness. How to check the battery and related things? How to service a serviceable battery.

The advice on the drive, as always, is astounding. People are willing to recommend anything without even trying, to delve into the problem. And, actually, it’s not surprising, this way they repair cars in our service stations. To get into the depths at once instead of delving and understanding.

In order to avoid similar advices, a community “Proper service, repair and diagnostics of the car” was created – join us!

So this time the man’s diesel Audi A4 quattro wouldn’t start. He tried to start by lighting a cigarette, it did not work, and that was enough for the man to conclude the need to remove the starter from the car for repair. And the only thing that made him write on the drive was the difficulty of this procedure on his car. For more details, see here.

What to do if the car won’t start? Where to start?

First, you need to understand whether the starter turns or not. If when you turn the ignition key nothing happens, the dashboard goes out or you hear a crackling sound, this can indicate: a completely drained battery; a fault in the wiring; a faulty starter; other causes are possible.

Today, let’s talk about a case where the starter won’t start.

In order for the battery to last a long time and not bring surprises with the cold it needs to be serviced, especially if your car is operated mostly in the urban cycle (50/50) and you do not use the car much. For example, if your out-of-town driving is less than 14 kilometers per mileage shoulder.

More about how to service the battery and how to start the car in the cold we will talk next time. Now let’s talk about what to look at first before to get into absolutely deep.

1. THE BATTERY. It is necessary to make sure that it is efficient. The battery voltage must be at least 12.6V.

Check the voltage on the battery terminals. The working battery must be at least 12,6V. Note that there may be an error of the device.

2. But this is not enough, you must check the battery with a load fork. It shows us if the battery has enough power to start the engine. It simulates the load on the battery when starting the car, within 5 seconds the voltage on the load fork should not drop below 9.6V (75% of charge), fully charged battery – 10.2V or higher. Longer than 5 seconds do not need to hold the plug.

Important. Check a fully charged battery also at positive temperature. Never test a cold battery. Risk of battery explosion.

The first two items may tell you there is a problem with the battery, and it needs either a deep recharge or replacement. In some cases, when the battery is serviced, distilled water must be added to the battery cell.

Charge a serviced battery by unscrewing the plugs. Be careful not to burn yourself with the electrolyte. Check the electrolyte level before charging and top up with distilled water if necessary.

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How do I check the battery and related items? Specific tool to unscrew the plug in the battery to be serviced.

Each of the 6 cells of the battery has a different level. It is not enough to check and refill only one cell with distilled water .

How do I check the battery and battery related items? Check the electrolyte level in the battery. Where is the level where you need to refill the distilled water.

In this picture you can see where to put the distilled water in the battery if necessary.

Interesting fact that shows up on my own experience, the original batteries last much longer than the non-original. The same VARTA or BOSCH in the original serve from 8 to 10 years, the battery is not original under the same brands rarely go more than 5 years (the experience WAG, VOLVO and FORD).

Inspect the battery terminals. They should not have oxides on them. Also they must be well screwed. They must not rotate, let alone be removed by hand. In summer this contact may be enough, but in winter may bring a surprise. Although in summer it is not desirable, because the excessive resistance creates unnecessary load on the starter, which can lead to failure of the starter or other components.

If you do not service the car yourself, be sure to ask to have the terminals checked and serviced during the service.

On the left in the picture we see the battery terminal serviced with a protective compound. On the right, the battery terminal is completely disconnected (though less oxidation can cause problems if the temperature drops).

4) Battery grounding point. Look where the negative battery cable connects to the body. There should be no oxide residue where it connects to the body. It should be securely fastened to the body. Otherwise, it may be the source of many car problems, such as poor battery charging and others. It is also better to protect it with protective compounds.

5. Check the integrity of the fuses in the underhood space.

6. Inspect the wires going from the plus terminal to the starter, make sure there is no damage. There must not be any oxides in the place of connection with the starter.

Careful! If you unscrew the wire, be sure to remove the minus terminal from the battery. Danger of shorting and vehicle fire.

7. Another reason for not starting may be an unauthorized alarm or tag. Make sure the car is disarmed. The problem may be a common battery in the alarm remote or in the tag. Just because the indicator light comes on when you press the remote does not mean there is enough battery power. The battery costs pennies, so it is better to replace it than to go deep into the car.

The problem with starting the battery can be a dead battery in the alarm remote or a tag of the alarm system.

If all of the above items are normal, then you need a more serious delve into the car, you will need to check the integrity of the electrical components (wiring, starter relay, ignition contact group, etc.) or remove the starter and its diagnosis.

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As in the case of the Drive user, the problem turned out to be banal in the battery, though he did not believe it to the last. Good fortune and common human laziness won! After all, laziness is not always a bad thing! Good luck to all and thanks for your attention.

P.S. The same happens when the alternator gives low voltage. Not always the alternator is immediately to blame, sometimes the problem can also be the battery. But about it some other time.

The car does not start: 10 main reasons and methods of their elimination

The car won't start: 10 main reasons and methods of their elimination

Sat behind the wheel, inserted the key into the ignition, and the car does not start. The reasons for this may be a whole cart and a small cart. If you know at least a little bit about the device of the car, you will be able to put the “diagnosis” and solve the problem. In our materials we will consider the main causes of malfunctioning and tell you what to do with it.

3. gasoline and Diesel

Fuel can simply run out. For example, the day before you had a hard day, and you did not notice the burning light on the torpedo. Or the arrow is frozen/broken/stuck and there was just no notice.

Gasoline or diesel characteristics can also be the reason why the car won’t start in freezing temperatures. Gasoline with a lower octane rating (92 vs. 95) will perform worse. Diesel, on the other hand, has a specified temperature range in which it should be used.

The worst thing is if there is a leak in the system. Look under the car, check the ground near it – there are no fuel spills.

By the way, the oil can also thicken at sub-zero temperatures if you didn’t pour the all-season version. Or if the engine oil was changed long ago, it turns into a semblance of tar and ceases to perform its task.

What to do

If cold weather is to blame, there is only one option – to warm the car in a warm garage. If you run out of fuel, then call a cab and go to the gas station. Remember that neither gasoline nor diesel is dispensed in ordinary cans and bottles. Only in special safe containers, such as metal canisters.

Another option is to ask passing cars to share their gasoline. If you happen to run into an old domestic car like “Zhiguli”, then the familiar method: a hose, sucking the air out of it and pouring it through a funnel into another gas tank. Unfortunately, with modern cars, this trick will not work – they have a different device of the gas tank.

4. Spark plugs

The spark plugs cause a spark that ignites the fuel, the pistons come on and the engine starts. The part is small and can easily fail. As a result, the car won’t start.

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What to do

Carefully unscrew the spark plugs with a torque wrench or other tool that is specified in the manual. Inspect the part. If it is dry, it means there is no fuel in the cylinders. There may be several reasons for that – from faulty nozzles to the absence of petrol pressure in the ramp due to clogged petrol line, pump failure, etc. That leaves you to go for diagnosis. The spark plugs may be dry because they just ran out of gas.

Another situation is when the spark plugs, on the contrary, are flooded. Over time, they get soot build up on them, which prevents a proper spark from being struck. Try wiping and drying the plugs and then putting them back in place. You should replace the part in the near future.

You can unscrew the spark plug and insert it into the high-voltage wire. Put it on the engine and crank the starter. Your job is to see the spark. If it is there – everything is normal. If not, the problem is in the ignition system.

5. Alarm and immobilizer

Modern anti-theft systems are not only responsible for alerting the entire neighborhood that a car is being attempted to be stolen. They also block the engine mechanisms. For example, the gasoline pump. The alarm may malfunction and not unlock the mechanism. Sometimes the service makes the wrong installation. For example, they put the interlock relay where it should not be – car manufacturers usually prescribe allowable options in the manual.

Immobilizer can block the engine. It is not uncommon to install it in new cars. This anti-theft system, which prevents the engine from starting, and the car will not start.

What to do

Try once again to put the car on the alarm and then remove the immobilizer. If the problem is improper installation, only service will help. Examine the key fob from the alarm. Isn’t there a new light on it? You may have turned on the immobilizer completely by accident. Check the manual to see how to disable it. The problem may also be that the immobilizer does not recognize the key. In this case you need to have it reprogrammed at a service center.

6. electrics

The wiring can be damaged after some serious traffic jolt. It can also be eaten by rats. When they sort out the causes of faults, they find clearly nibbled wires. The contacts can get oxidized and won’t tell the internal combustion engine to start. The driver turns the key, but nothing happens. Even the starter doesn’t turn.

The car’s electrics are complex and branched out. The car may not start because of a breakage of the winding of the generator, failure of the voltage relay, breakage of the spark plug circuit. Finally, the electrics are inextricably linked with the onboard computer of modern cars. It may mistakenly block the injectors or “throw” some other trick.

What to do

If you have a multimeter, you probably know how the device works and what it’s for. Look for short circuits, check for voltage and ground quality, and check for circuit continuity. If this is the first time you’ve heard of this device, let’s briefly explain: this device is the main tool for wiring diagnostics. If you are not strong in electronics, then call an auto electrician or send your car to the service.

Carrying the immobilizer when putting the button

7. Crankshaft sensor

It is abbreviated as crankshaft sensor. It rarely fails, but if it breaks, the car will definitely not start. This sensor is used to synchronize the electronics and gas distribution in the engine to control the fuel injection and ignition system. More often than not, the crankshaft sensor fails because the wiring is worn out. By the way, if the car stalls while driving, one of the possible causes is just the crankshaft sensor.

What to do

The sensor can not be repaired if it is broken, you only have to replace it. Sometimes the mechanism is not broken, but just seriously dirty and it needs a good wiping and blowing. If it’s the wiring, it can be re-soldered and re-shielded if you have the right skills.

8. Gasoline pump .

In modern cars, this unit is hidden under the back seats. It pumps gasoline through the system and starts at the same time as the car. If the gasoline pump has failed, the car may stall on the move or immediately after starting. A couple of other signs of a faulty unit: the revs are floating, the engine vibrates, it takes a long time to rotate the starter to start the car. If the car is parked in a quiet place, you should hear the characteristic whirring of the pump during the start. If it is not there, then things are bad.

What to do

The cause could be a clogged gasoline pump screen or filter. The part fuse or relay may have failed. As we wrote above, the alarm glitch can also block the start of the unit. On old carbureted VAZs, craftsmen invented temporary “crutches” and even reassembled the faulty gasoline pump on the basis of a tire pump. With modern cars, the only thing you can do with improvised means is to clean gasoline pump screen. Disassemble it carefully so as not to damage anything.

9. Exhaust pipe.

If it is heavily clogged, then the car will not start. Condensation can freeze in the muffler. In winter, car owners can accidentally park in a snowdrift. We can not exclude the fact that detractors could deliberately clog the muffler with rags.

What to do

Snow and condensation will melt in a warm box. You can try to take out the rags with improvised tools.

10. Ignition lock.

This problem is less actual for modern cars. But owners of old budget cars can catch the ailment by surprise. If the ignition lock is broken, you will know it at once. The key will scroll back and forth, but give no effect.

What to do

If you understand auto electrics, you can remove the casing that covers the ignition mechanism and start the car directly. And at the same time and see the possible reason why the car does not start. For example, melted contacts.

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Popular Questions and Answers

Maxim Ryazanov, Technical Director of Fresh Auto salon chain, shared his answers to common questions, concerning car starting problems.

In cars with gasoline engines, the most obvious problem may be the lack of pressure in the fuel system. An idle speed regulator or a choke can get dirty. If electronics are acting strangely at startup, it’s the battery. If you can hear the relay clicking, then the problem might be in the starter. Do not leave the situation on its own and do not put off solving the problem. Now the car will not start at the first time, and then it will not go at all.

– The most frequent question from novice drivers. In the case if the battery died, and there are no other cars nearby, who would give “light a cigarette”, the owners of manual transmission are more lucky. If the battery is dead, you can try to start the car with a push. This method will not help for automatic transmission. You will either have to hook up another charged battery, or use cigarette lighter wire. Or have always with you a battery booster, which is a starting charger. Then the problem of starting the car in case of dead battery won’t be relevant anymore, – told Maxim Ryazanov, Technical Director of Fresh Auto salons.

– In winter, it is difficult to start some models of cars because of subzero temperatures. This problem is typical for diesel cars, which becomes too thick in cold weather and simply does not flow through the system. Or water has frozen in the gasoline line. As a result the car won’t start. Look for a warm box for heating. The cause may also be the same battery, or more precisely, its capacity. If the car has a battery with insufficient capacity, in warm weather it will not be noticeable. But in frosty weather it will be insufficient. Consequently, the car simply will not start. You should not forget that if the car stands outside at sub-zero temperatures for a long time, the battery discharges faster, which in the future will not allow you to start the engine,” says Maxim Ryazanov.

If the car does not start in frost, try this algorithm: turn on the headlights or radio for a few minutes. Then turn on the ignition and the starter, but not longer than 7-10 seconds. Otherwise the battery may be completely discharged. It didn’t work the first time, then wait a minute and repeat.

– Owners of a manual transmission encounter such trouble more often. For example, it is worth only to turn on “neutral”, as the car stalled. In most cases, it is related to the throttle, which has a defect on some models, resulting in the car stalling. Owners of cars with an automatic are usually not familiar with this problem. Since the car system itself maintains the engine rpm higher than the idle, which contributes to the stable operation of the engine,” says the expert.

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