It’s one of those things that every driver fears. Driving along and suddenly the engine cuts out, leaving you stranded in your car and late for whatever never-mind-the-fact that it’s raining. Such a scenario is certainly alarming, but don’t worry: it can be fixed with a little knowledge and quick thinking.
The first thing to do if your car won’t start is to pull over as quickly as possible and check all the obvious things which are giving you trouble – the fuel supply, the ignition system, etc. Do this even before you think about trying to fix the problem yourself without any equipment or prior training because it may save some valuable time later on.
Check Your Battery First
If your car won’t start, it may be because of a weak battery or simply because the starter motor doesn’t work. Sometimes the starter motor is just plain broken and needs to be replaced. If it is not engaging with the engine at all, you will have to take it out and replace it. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen too often so the following instructions will show you to reset your car’s starter motor.
The first thing you need is to open up the bonnet of your car; obviously. Then locate where your starter motor is (underneath the engine lid somewhere near the front of the car); it’s a big metal box with an electric cable connected to it leading back to your car battery.
*Now take out your wrench or socket set and remove the nut holding the cable in place. Once you’ve done that, use a screwdriver to push down on one of the prongs going into the starter motor. This should force the starter motor into a safe position that won’t allow it to engage with your engine.
*Once you have done this, don’t touch anything inside of the car for at least ten seconds. After ten seconds you can release the screwdriver and let everything go back to where it was, including starting up the engine again.
If your car starts after performing this procedure then there is nothing wrong with the starter motor itself; however, if it does not start then get an auto electrician on board because your starter motor may need replacing. On some cars, you will find relays attached to relays or fuses that are responsible for stopping or allowing power to reach certain parts of your vehicle’s electrical system. Check these if your car does not start after performing the above procedure.
Push start your car
If you have a manual transmission, turn the key in the ignition to start your car one time only. Get out of your vehicle and get on the other side while someone pushes your car. Once your car is pushed (with someone pushing), hold the clutch down while putting it into first gear, then quickly let the clutch out and put your foot on the gas. This will allow you to turn over your car without a functioning starter.
Once it sounds like the car is trying to start, let off of the gas and turn your key in the ignition so that it turns off again. Continue to repeat this process until either your starter works or you run out of gas (whichever comes first). However, if you have an automatic transmission, DO NOT DO THIS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE. Not only can it be dangerous to people pushing you, but also for those around as well as yourself should anything go wrong during bump starting which could occur at any moment. If this does happen, and something goes wrong with the vehicle you are bump starting; please contact a local tow truck company.
What to do when your car still won’t start?
Whether you’re having problems with your car’s battery or starter, it is important to understand the difference between the two. A car’s battery provides power to start and run a car’s electrical components (lights, stereo system, etc.) and recharges over time as the engine runs. A starter turns the crankshaft which forces pistons to move and thus turns the drive train. If you have a dead battery but your car starts fine once jump-started then it means either you have a bad starter or a bad solenoid. How do you know if it’s just your Battery?
If your headlights are bright enough for about 15 minutes after shutting off the engine then chances are that you have a good battery even though it doesn’t start your vehicle. If your headlights dim shortly after shutting off the car or they won’t come on at all then chances are that you have a bad battery.
I just wrote a blog on how to start a car with a bad starter, and the best way to go about doing it. I hope you enjoyed it! Remember, though, that before you start this procedure, make sure your battery is in good shape. If it isn’t, then push-starting can cause extra damage which will require more repairs. If you need help, consult a mechanic before trying this method. And lastly, if your car still won’t start after trying both of these methods, then it might be time to replace the battery and/or starter. Thank you for reading my article!