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Troubleshooting A No-Start Problem Part 1

    Key won't turn? It's raining and your car won't start? This will give you some possible reasons why.
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» Part 1: Ignition Key
» Part 2: Engine Won't Start
» Part 3: Nothing Happens
 

There is nothing more aggravating then getting into your car and finding it will not start. According to Murphys Law, of which I'm a firm believer, this will happen at the worst possible times. Like when you're late for work, have a car full of screaming kids or when it's 200 degrees below zero out.

As with any car problem, the causes can range from a mere inconvenience to major repair. Here are some things to look for when you have a car that refuses to start.

You should note that these are the most likely causes of a particular problem, but not necessarily the cause of the problem you are experiencing. Some of the possible causes listed may not even apply to your vehicle.

  • Ignition key won't turn:
    You put the key in the ignition and go to start the car but the key doesn't turn. You jiggle the key back and forth and sometimes it will turn and the car will start.

    Possible causes:
    1. The steering wheel lock is applying pressure and not allowing the key to turn: Turn the steering wheel back and forth.

    2. Steering wheel lock broken or needs adjustment: Repair or adjust.

    3. Key is worn out. Get the key number and have a new key made. Don't get a copy of the old key, it won't work.

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  • Car won't start in damp or rainy weather:
    It's been raining for a while or it's early morning and the dew is on the grass. Maybe you drove through a big puddle and the engine died.

    Possible causes:
    1. Bad distributor cap : Replace distributor cap.

    2. Bad spark plug wires : Replace spark plug wires.

    3. The inside of the distributor cap is wet: Remove distributor cap and dry with paper towels.

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  • Engine won't start cold:
    This usually happens when it's cold, below about 20 degrees, but can happen under other conditions.

    Possible causes:
    1. There is a fuel injection problem: EFI system meeds to be scanned to find problem. Possibly a cold start injector or Coolant Temp Sensor.

    2. The choke on the carburetor (if so equipped) might not be closing: Inspect and adjust choke linkage.

    3. Vacuums leak: Check and repair or replace Vacuums lines as required.

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  • Engine won't start hot:
    You've driven your car for a while and you stop somewhere for a short time. When you try to start the car again, it won't start.

    Possible causes:
    1. Ignition module or main EFI relay may be overheating: Replace affected parts.

    2. Vapor lock: Open hood and allow the engine to cool for about 30 minutes. Insure heat shields and/or supplemental cooling fan is working properly.

    3. There is a fuel injection problem: EFI system meeds to be scanned to find problem. Possibly a bad ECM or Coolant Temp Sensor.

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  • Engine turns over slowly when warm:
    When you try to start the car when it's warm it cranks very slowly. Sometimes it will start, but most often it won't.

    Possible causes:
    1. Engine oil may be to thin or contaminated with gasoline: Change the oil and filter. Use the proper grade of oil.

    2. Dirty or loose battery cables: Clean and tighten cables as required.

    3. Battery is weak or dead: Test battery and charging system. Replace battery.

    4. Battery cables are bad: Replace the battery cables as required.

    5. Starter is overheating: Replace the motor.

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»
Part 1       » Part 2       » Part 3
Additional Information provided courtesy of
ALLDATAdiy.com and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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