Here are top reasons why your car may not start when you turn the key.
- Dead BatteryThe battery is responsible for powering the car once you turn on the ignition key. If it is dead, it means that there is no power being sent to the starter motor. No matter how hard you try, your engine will not start. In such a case you need to jump-start it using another battery, then recharge it, if possible, or replace it.
- Bad fuel or lack of fuelIf your car does not have fuel at all, or the fuel line is clogged up, you may experience the same problem of the car failing to start. What is more, if you have wrong mix fuel (such as water in your fuel pump), the engine will not ignite properly too. Ensure that your car has enough fuel and that is free of impurities.
- Lack of sparkSometimes you may find that your engine fails to ignite completely. This can be attributed to weak spark. There are cases where the spark may not be available at all, which can be caused by bad spark plug cables or the spark plug itself. Replacing the spark plugs at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals can prevent this failure.
- Lack of compressionYour car needs a specific amount of compression so that the fuel mixture can ignite. If the compression is not enough to do this, then your engine will not ignite. The lack of compression can be because of a hole in cylinders, exhaust/intake valves that are not sealing properly, or worn out pistons. In this case you need to look for a competent mechanic to evaluate the extent of damage and do necessary repairs.
- Failure of timing belt or tensionerYour car has a timing belt that helps in opening and closing of valves that are responsible for letting in fuel and the exhaust out. In cases where they open and close at the same time, it is likely that your engine will choke, causing ignition failure. If a belt brakes, valve damage may occur, and the vehicle will not start.
- PCM/ECM failureSimply put, the Powertrain Control Module (PMC) and Engine Control Module (EMC) are computers found in your car. The PMC is responsible for adjusting the idle speed of the engine, which basically means that it determines how much fuel is taken by your engine without placing your foot on the pedal. On the other hand, the ECM is responsible for reading information from sensors then proceeding to adjust the intake of fuel to enhance efficiency. If any of these two fail, your car will not ignite no matter how hard you try
- Failing alternatorWhen an alternator starts to fail, most of the time it fails outright. It may be difficult to determine if it is the alternator that fails or it is the battery that is not working. Find a technician to evaluate the problem and determine what the cause of the failure may be
- StarterA failed starter or a loose connections in the wiring that goes to and from the starter is a major problem. The connection needs to be complete for the vehicle to start without any issues.
- Broken ignition switchIf the ignition switch or its wiring is broken, it means that the battery will not get any signal. This in turn leads to failure when starting the car.
That’s it! If your car fails to start, even after trying several times, these are some of the common factors that may be causing the problem. Know who you can trust to properly diagnose your vehicle’s no start condition, our technicians have decades of experience diagnosing and repairing VW and Audi models. If you are stuck with a car that won’t start give us a call-we will take care of you!
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PDF Infographic: Common Reasons Your Car Won’t Start
Owner, Hillside Imports
Rene Rodriguez has over 25 years of experience working exclusively on VW and late model Audis. As Hillside Imports owner, and service writer, he’s dedicated the past 20 years to educating consumers about safety, reliability and performance.