What do i check if my vehicle does NOT want to start?

1.) If you own a vehicle that has an automatic transmission, make sure that the vehicle is in Park (P.) or Neutral(N). Vehicles that have been accidentally turned off while in Drive(D) or Reverse(R.), your vehicle will NOT start. Now, if your vehicle has a manual transmission, well make sure that you have the clutch pressed all the way down to the floor while in neutral. Yes, your are correct, manual transmissions do not have to be in neutral, but this is a much safer method to starting your vehicle.

2.) Be sure that the vehicle in question has gas/fuel. You will be surprised, vehicles do have problems, and some of these minor problems can even be something as simple as a vehicle gas gauge malfunction. It may say full but you may actually be on empty or vice versa. Hint: Check your fuses, you may have a blown fuse for your fuel gauge. Most fuse boxes are located under or near your dash inside your vehicle. Some vehicle’s will have a fuse box under the hood. And if the fuses are good, and your fuel gauge is still not working, you can reset your mileage to zero every time that you fill your car up. So as to use your mileage as a fuel reference. You would be surprised how much something as minor as a broken fuel gauge will cost you in a automotive shop now a days.

3.) Now if your vehicle is in Park and you have enough gas/fuel, and your vehicle is not cranking over, your problem may be a bad/weak battery. Batteries do go bad, a bad battery is one that will not hold a charge, or possibly have battery terminal damage. But more than likely you may just have a drained battery. All modern day vehicle’s come equipped with an alternator. Your vehicle’s alternator is connected to you battery and its purpose is for charging the battery. The most common method used to start a car with a drained battery is with a set of battery jumper cables. Or plugging it to a shop battery charger, which can take up to 30 minutes to fully charge a drained battery. Hint: Most local automotive parts stores offer free testing on alternators and batteries, for free. If you are replacing your old battery with a new battery, be sure to take your old battery in for a core, or you will be charged extra. Most important of all, be sure to dispose of your old battery(s) properly. There are recycling centers that will pay you per battery for proper disposal. Besides i don’t mind a few dollars in my pocket for recycling and of course for a safer environment.

4.) If you checked your battery, fuel level and made sure that you are in park, and your vehicle does not want to crank, your problem may be a bad connection at your battery. The most common connection on your battery is a top mount design. Some batteries are equipped with a side mount design. Some vehicles come with two batteries, so be sure to check all the battery connections. If you the are lucky, you may just simply need to tighten the battery terminal nuts, if it’s a top mount. Or tighten up the battery terminal bolts on a side mount design.Hint: If you find a loose connection, be sure to use the proper size wrench, the most common size bolt/nut will be a 10mm metric or a ½” standard. If your battery terminals are bad or worn out or possibly even stripped(side mount), you can purchase new battery terminals at any local parts store.

5.) If your vehicle is still giving you starting troubles you may need to have your car diagnosed at the automotive shop. Sometimes unfortunately, vehicles will encounter major problems and you will come out with a big shop bill. Sometimes these newer model vehicle’s will have lots of sensors and if one of these sensors is out it can cause a whole host of starting problems. Hint: In order to minimize your vehicle’s trips to the shop, tune your car regularly with new sensors, wires, plugs, hoses and most important all of your vehicle’s fluid’s. Fluid’s such as your motor oil, automatic transmission fluid, radiator coolant, brake fluid, and other fluids can be checked like your power steering fluid and windshield washer fluid. A few other things that you may want to keep in mind for maintenance purpose’s are to check your tires, brakes and belt(s).

Updated: May 14, 2011 — 6:26 pm

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