Tips from a Langley Mechanic When Your Car Won’t Start

December 3rd, 2021
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Few things could ruin your day faster than when your car won’t start. As mechanics in Langley, BC, we’ve been providing repair and maintenance on vehicles since 1985. If a car stops working suddenly it can be very frustrating. 

There are a few common reasons for why your car won’t start. See if you can identify the problem with our tips below to get you on the road or contact our Langley mechanics to have a look at the problem with your vehicle. 

1. Empty Gas Tank

One of the easiest problems to fix. If you don’t have enough fuel, your vehicle won’t be able to start. If you forgot to fill up the tank, hopefully, you have a jerry can and can add some gas. Most gas stations will have jerry cans for sale if you don’t have one. Your vehicle should start after that. 

2. Dead Battery

One of the most common reasons a car won’t start is a dead battery. The battery provides electrical power to the entire car and to the electrical system. If there is no charge in the battery, it won’t be able to provide power. Your battery might be dead if:

  • Your headlights or dome light was left on for too long or overnight.
  • You have a loose wire.
  • The battery needs replacement.

If you aren’t able to turn on the radio or lights, this could indicate it’s the battery. Also, if the battery warning light is on, it is likely a dead battery. 

At this stage, for many vehicles, if you suspect the battery, you can try to jump-start your vehicle. Check the owner manual first as newer vehicles have more sensitive electronics that might damage with a jump start. The owner’s manual will tell you if you should try jump-starting the vehicle or not. 

If you do try to jump-start your vehicle and it responds by starting, it is a good indication you need to replace the battery or the alternator. Be prepared by having a portable car charger approved for your vehicle. 

3. Bad Alternator

If the car starts then stalls or the interior lights turn on and start to dim, signs are pointing to a problem with the alternator. The alternator works with belts so you may also notice a burning smell. If you suspect the alternator, the vehicle will need to get to our Langley auto repair shop for automotive repair. This can also affect the battery. 

4. Malfunctioning Ignition Switch

A faulty ignition switch could be another reason the vehicle won’t start. The ignition carries power from the battery to other components in the vehicle. If the vehicle won’t turn over, try turning on the headlights or the radio. They won’t work if it is the battery, which may indicate the ignition switch is causing the problem. 

5. Faulty Starter

When you turn the key in the ignition, the starter is an electrical motor attached to the battery that will set everything in motion. The engine won’t crank properly if there is a faulty starter. If the engine doesn’t crank properly when turning the ignition or you hear a clicking noise, this may indicate the starter is the reason your vehicle won’t start. 

6. Clogged Fuel Filter

When your fuel filter is clogged, gasoline won’t be able to reach the engine. This can pose a challenge for the engine as it doesn’t get the fuel it needs to run properly. Change the fuel filter regularly according to your owner’s manual. 

A Few Other Quick Tips to Try From a Langley Mechanic

1.  If you’re still having problems, try putting your foot on the brake, putting the car in neutral, and starting it. If it still doesn’t start, move it back to the park position and try again. This might help to reestablish electrical contact.
2. For a push-button start system, follow the steps in this guide to identify what the problem might be. 
3. Regular maintenance and servicing is the best prevention to a vehicle breaking down. 

Book an Appointment with a Langley Mechanic When Your Car Won’t Start

If none of these tips worked and you’re still having problems, bring in your vehicle for a Langley mechanic to look at it. Our expert mechanics will be able to identify the problem, provide you with a plan to repair the vehicle, and get you back on the road safely. Contact us at 604-541-1818 to book an appointment or book online

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