What to Do if Your Car Won’t Start

December 6th, 2018 by

Woman calling for assistance standing near broken down car

The team at CarHop is your source for helpful DIY car maintenance and repair tips, including how to winterize your car and how to fix a flat. Today we’ll discuss common reasons a car won’t start, along with the next steps you should take if your car won’t start.

Dead Battery Symptoms

By far, the most common reason that a car won’t start is that the car battery is dead. Here are some symptoms to look for that may be an indication you have a dead car battery:

  • Engine is turning over but car won’t start
  • Clock is reset to a different time
  • Lights are dim
  • Check battery light is illuminated on the gauge cluster
  • Battery is old (over 4-5 years)

What to Do Next

If you’ve determined that the issue is likely your car battery, follow these steps to confirm the diagnosis and get your battery replaced:

  1. Clean the negative terminal on the battery.
  2. Use a multimeter to check the battery power (should be around 12.6 volts).
  3. Jump the car battery with jumper cables and another working vehicle.
  4. Take the car to a service garage to get the battery tested.
  5. Have a technician replace your battery with a new one.

Other Common Reasons a Car Won’t Start

While a dead battery is the most common reason a car won’t start, there are also other potential factors at play:

  • Dead Alternator – Your alternator is responsible for keeping your battery charged up, and if it’s not working, then your battery will drain. Learn how to test a car alternator today!
  • Ignition Switch/Starter Not Engaging – If you hear a clicking sound when you turn the key to start the car, there’s a good chance either your starter or ignition switch needs to be replaced.
  • No Gas – Of course this one seems like a no-brainer, but if you forgot to stop at the gas station, and your car ran out of gas, your engine won’t be able to run.
  • Clogged Fuel Filter – If your fuel filter is clogged, then the gasoline can’t be fed into the engine. Remember to have your fuel filter checked or replaced every 10,000 miles or so.

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