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Troubleshooting: Why Your Car Won't Start

The day has finally come when your car won’t start and you have no idea why. It doesn’t take a car guru to know that there’s something wrong when the car simply won’t start. The first step to fixing any problem with a car is figuring out where the problem is. If your car isn’t starting, that could be a number of places. Thankfully there are a number of signs that help indicate the source of the problem.

1.Silence – If all you hear is silence when you turn the key, start by checking the battery terminal cable connections. Corrosion can cause problems when attempts to start your vehicle. If you see any signs of corrosion, grab a screwdriver with an insulated handle. Wedge the screwdriver between the connector and battery’s terminal post and twist it. Turn the key again and, if the engine starts, make sure to clean or replace your cables.

2.Clicking – One of the most common sounds when a car won’t start, clicking usually indicates that you have a dead battery. Try to charge it and check the wiring connecting to the starter for good measure.

3.Cranking – Your car might crank but won’t start. Check your engine’s fuel supply and make sure an electrical spark is making it to your spark plugs.

4.Knocking – There are quite a few problems that can cause knocking. Check your timing and the octane rating of your fuel to make sure it’s the right one. Check the cooling system and take the time to do a compression check on your engine’s cylinders as well.

5.Missing – If your engine is missing while idling in the driveway, check the spark plugs. In the case that the spark plugs aren’t the problem, check the fuel system (pump, filter, and carburetor if you have one).

While there’s a lot that can go wrong within an engine, it isn’t all bad. You might just need a new part. On its own, a single part usually isn’t expensive as long as it isn’t a major replacement part. Also, make sure to keep up on your regular maintenance to ensure your engine will work all the time! Routine maintenance will help you catch a problem before it becomes an expensive one.
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