Unless you are a mechanic by trade, you probably don’t know how to diagnose a car that won’t start. But did you know that most starter faults are relatively easy to spot? With the right kind of car diagnostic tools and a little information, there is no reason why you can’t save yourself big sums of cash and avoid those dreaded mornings when you turn the key in the ignition and nothing happens.
Modern cars are leagues ahead of their predecessors technologically. Modern engines store fault codes for a wide range of starter issues and DIY car diagnostic tools can read these codes and show you the reason why your car isn't taking you to work today. Many faults can be diagnosed just by knowing what the symptoms are, so diagnosing a car that won’t start doesn't necessarily require oily hands and looking for a needle in a haystack. Here are the most common reasons a car won’t start, and the signs you should look out for:
A flat battery
Diagnosing a flat battery is easy. When you try to start the car, all you will hear is a slight clicking sound. The engine won’t crank and the display will not light up.
A flat battery can be caused by leaving on lights, and for newer batteries a recharge should be all that’s needed to solve the problem, though older batteries may need replacing. Another cause for a flat battery is a faulty alternator, which prevents the battery from recharging. In that case the part, rather than the battery, will need to be replaced.
A failed starter motor
If you hear a rusty clunking noise or a disconcerting click when you turn the key, chances are your problem is a faulty starter motor. This can be caused by faulty wiring or it could be a mechanical failure within the motor itself. If the motor has failed, then a replacement will be necessary before the car can be used again.
Even an almost dead battery can muster up a few dash lights so if you turn the key and nothing happens, then you probably have a faulty ignition switch. Replacement of the switch is the only remedy.
Faulty fuel system
If everything else is working fine but your car won’t start, then a fuel system fault is likely the culprit. It could be a clogged fuel filter, so check that first and replace if needed. If that checks out clear, then you need to delve deeper. An affordable car diagnostic tool like the CReader Pro CRP123
will help you identify the fault and, as a fuel system problem will need a professional repair, it will enable you go into the garage prepared.
This article shows you how to diagnose a car that won’t start using common symptoms, but sometimes cars can be deceiving. The signs can all point to a faulty part, but that part may not be operating correctly because it doesn’t have enough power. Most car starting problems start with the battery. A Jump Start kit
that you can keep in your car will get you back on the road until you can get the problem fixed, and in the meantime, a tool like the Launch Battery Tester
can help you avoid unnecessary component repairs by ruling out simpler electrical issues first.