With unnecessary travel discouraged at the moment, there may be longer periods of time between usage of your vehicle. If by chance you go to turn on a vehicle that either gets regular use or has been sitting for a while and your car doesn’t start, this article is meant to give some ideas and options to help diagnose and/or remedy the problem.
It can be frustrating when your car doesn’t want to start. If you can take a deep breath and think about the situation, there’s an excellent chance that you can figure out the problem – and maybe get on your way.
Why Doesn’t My Engine Turn Over?
If your car refuses to start, the most common reason is a dead battery. Anything that draws power while your engine is turned off will drain it so that you don’t have enough energy to get it going again. You can recharge them or get a quick jump in this situation, but older ones (and batteries age very quickly in Arizona) will need a replacement to let you start driving.
When you know that your battery isn’t the problem, then here are some additional reasons why your engine might not turn over.
- You have a malfunctioning alternator.
The alternator is what keeps your car’s battery charged. It uses a belt system that generates power as the engine works, allowing for recharging to happen when you drive. If any part of this system fails, including the belt, then it will be as if you left your headlights on all night when you got home.
- The ignition switch wore out.
A bad ignition switch won’t generate the electrical circuit that your starter motor needs to get things going. You might see dash lights that flicker, an ignition that doesn’t turn, or unusual stalling with your car.
- You’ve got a faulty starter.
When you start your car, it’s the starter that actually gets the engine going. If the electric motor in this component stops operating, then you might hear a clicking sound when you turn the key. You’ll also hear that noise if the starter is good, but the battery doesn’t have enough power to fully engage it.The clicking sound is the motor actuating instead of spinning.
- Your spark plugs could use a replacement.
The spark plugs for your car create a small explosion that powers the movement of the pistons. If one or more of them stop functioning correctly, then the engine will start to run rough. It may even prevent the vehicle from starting entirely. You may notice lackluster acceleration and worsening gas mileage with this issue.
If your spark plugs aren’t the issue with these symptoms, then it could be the wires that they use. Your mechanic can give it a look, or you can schedule a tune-up if you know for sure that this is the issue.