When your engine cranks but won’t start or run, it could mean your engine is having trouble producing a spark, getting fuel, or creating compression. The most common causes are problems in the ignition (for example, a bad ignition coil) or fuel system (for example, a clogged fuel filter). However, the source may also be a mechanical fault (for example, a leaking valve), or faulty components in other systems.
What “crank-no-start” doesn’t generally mean is a problem with the starter. If the engine cranks normally, you don’t have a starting problem. If it isn’t cranking right (the engine rotates slowly or doesn’t rotate, or you hear weird noises or nothing when you try to start the engine), check this other practical guide to troubleshooting the starting system.
Whatever you do, avoid cranking the engine repeatedly with the hope that the engine will fire up. You may drain your battery of power and damage the starter motor in the process. Instead, try to use the charge left in your battery to locate the fault.
This guide will first give you six quick things you can check, and then three systems to troubleshoot—the spark, the fuel, the compression—using some simple and quick diagnostics. Then, for more help, you’ll see a list of components in related systems that can be associated with a no-start condition.
Six Quick Checks
Check These Possibilities First
When trying to find out why your car doesn’t want to start, keep in mind these possibilities.
- Fuel. For example, make sure there’s actually fuel in the tank.
- The computer in modern vehicles monitors and controls a good number of sensors and actuators. Scan your computer memory for trouble codes before you do anything else. Even if the check engine light hasn’t come on, you may find a pending code that can guide you in your diagnosis. False input or lack of input from sensors like the crankshaft position sensor (CKP) or camshaft position sensor (CPS) can prevent the engine from starting. Also, a bad throttle position sensor (TPS) may cut off the spark to the cylinders.
- Battery. If the engine cranks slowly, you may be dealing with a discharged battery, loose or corroded battery terminals or starting system wires
- Starting System. Problems with the starter motor or circuit can prevent the engine from starting. You may wan to check the circuit voltage drop or have the starter motor checked. Pay special attention to unusual noise when cranking.
- Many modern vehicles come equipped with an engine immobilizer as an anti-theft security system. The car’s security system may have made an error that disabled the fuel or ignition system, or the chip in the key may have failed. To troubleshoot a built-in security system, consult your car owner’s manual or consult with the precision auto machine shop that installed your alarm system.
- Check for a blown fuse that may be preventing a circuit from working properly, like the fuel injection or computer system.
Troubleshooting: Spark, Fuel, Compression
To operate efficiently, an internal combustion gasoline engine needs a good spark, the right amount of fuel, and good compression (a healthy mechanical condition). The lack of any of these three things will prevent your engine from starting.
So, the next three sections will list a series of steps to help you find out whether your engine is lacking adequate spark, is not getting enough fuel, or has too low compression.
I. Do You Have Spark?
First you want to check that a good spark is reaching the cylinders. You can do this test without a spark tester, but it’s better to use one, because a weak spark as well as a missing spark can prevent your engine from starting. If possible, use an adjustable tester so that you can test for 40KV, 30KV and 10KV spark.
- Select an easy-to-reach spark plug and unplug the spark plug wire, or coil wire, or coil on plug (COP).
- Set the spark tester to 40KV, and plug it in at the end of the spark plug wire or coil wire. Hook the spark tester to engine ground. To ground the tester, use an unpainted bracket or bolt on the engine. NOTE: If you are not using a spark tester, grab the wire with a pair of insulated pliers and place the tip of the wire about half an inch form ground (engine block, bracket, cylinder head). You still need a helper to crank the engine for you. The rest of the test is the same. You’ll be able to test for the presence of spark but not its strength.
- While watching the spark tester, have an assistant crank the engine.
- You should see a bright spark jumping the gap in the spark tester.
If you don’t see a spark, repeat the test. This time, adjust the spark tester to 30KV. If still you don’t see a spark, repeat the test and set the tester to 10KV. If this time you see a spark or no spark, you have a problem in the ignition system. Consult your vehicle repair manual for your particular model for further diagnosis. Depending on your particular model, you may have a problem with an ignition coil, distributor, ignition module, igniter, or some other related component.
Other Checks You Should Do:
- On systems with a distributor: Check that the distributor cap isn’t loose; inspect the distributor cap for moisture, cracks, carbon traces or some other damage; there could be faulty distributor components.
- If you haven’t replaced the spark plug wires in more than three years, your wires may be worn.
- Also, check your car owner’s manual or vehicle repair manual for the interval schedule for the spark plugs. Your may need to service (gap check and adjustment) or replace the plugs.
- If you installed new spark plugs and your car refused to start right after, double check that you installed the correct plugs for your vehicle model, and the plugs have the correct gap. Use a wire feeler gauge to check and adjust the gap.
II. Is Fuel Reaching the Cylinders?
After checking for spark, you need to check that the engine is getting fuel.
To Check a Carburetor or Throttle Body Injection (TBI) System:
- Take the lid off the air filter box and open the throttle plate (carburetor). On TBI systems, watch the fuel injector.
- Ask an assistant to crank the engine and see if fuel is being fed into the unit.
- If you don’t see fuel being injected, your problem is in the fuel system. Make sure of the following:
- you have enough fuel in the tank,
- the fuel pump is working,
- the fuel filter is not clogged (consult your car owner’s manual or repair manual for the service schedule),
- the fuel pressure regulator is working properly
- the fuel injectors are not clogged.
To Check a Multiport Fuel Injection System:
- First make sure the fuel pump is working. Momentarily remove the fuel filler cap.
- Ask an assistant to turn the ignition key to the On position, but don’t start the engine.
- As your assistant turns the key, listen closely through the filler neck of the fuel tank. You should hear the whirring sound of the fuel pump motor being energized for two or three seconds. If you hear the sound, at least you know the pump is getting power; continue with the next step. Otherwise, you may be dealing with a faulty fuel pump or relay, a blown fuse, an electrical open or another problem in the fuel pump circuit.
- Detach the air cleaner assembly from the throttle body.
- Open the throttle plate and spray some starting fluid into the throttle body.
- Crank the engine.
- If the engine still doesn’t seem like it wants to start, probably fuel is getting into the cylinders and your problems lies somewhere else. However, if the engine runs momentarily and dies, then the problem is that fuel is not getting to the cylinders. Check for a clogged fuel filter, or a bad fuel pressure regulator. Consult your vehicle repair manual, if necessary.
- If the incoming fuel line that goes to the fuel injectors has a test port (Schrader valve – a valve similar to the one on your tires), use a small screwdriver to press on the valve. Be ready with a shop rag to catch the fuel.
- Turn the ignition key to the On position for two or three seconds and then turn it off. Repeat the step two more times to prime the line with fuel.
- Then, press the valve with the screwdriver while catching the fuel with the shop rag. Fuel should squirt out through the valve. Instead, if a dribble of fuel comes out or no fuel, then check for a clogged fuel filter, a bad fuel pump or leaking fuel pressure regulator.
- If fuel squirts through the valve, plug a fuel pressure gauge to the test fitting valve and turn the ignition key to the On position and read the gauge. Then have an assistant crank the engine and read the gauge.
- Compare your gauge readings to the pressure specification listed in your vehicle repair manual.
- If pressure is lower than specification, your problem lies in the fuel system, possibly a faulty fuel pump, clogging fuel filter or bad fuel pressure regulator. Detach the vacuum hose from the top of the fuel pressure regulator. If the line is wet and smells to fuel, replace the fuel pressure regulator.
- If pressure is within specifications, you can unplug a fuel injector electrical connector and plug in a nod light to the harness connector (you may loan a set of nod lights from your local auto parts store).
- Ask your assistant to crank the engine, while you watch the nod light.
- If the nod light flashes while the engine is being cranked, you can at least assume that the injectors are receiving the pulse signal from the computer. If not, you need to check for a blown fuse or bad relay in the fuel injection system, a problem with the computer control, or problems with input sensors (for example the crankshaft or camshaft position sensors). Scan your computer for trouble codes. Refer to the list of related components below.
Some Cars Automatically Shut Off the Fuel Pump After a Crash
Some models, like many Ford vehicles, have a fuel pump switch (inertia switch), that automatically cuts power to the fuel pump when involved in an accident. If your engine refused to start after an accident or after a vehicle struck yours in a parking lot, check for an inertia switch. The switch helps prevent your car catching on fire if an accident occurs. Check your car owner’s manual or vehicle repair manual to locate the switch. You can pop the button back in manually.
III. Do You Have Proper Compression?
Compression in the cylinder heats up the air-fuel mixture and helps the spark ignite the mixture so the combustion takes place. During the combustion process, though, there should be no air leaks. Otherwise, the cylinder will have poor combustion, or it will not happen.
The most common source of air (combustion) leak is a jumped timing belt or chain that allows air to escape through a valve; it can also happen because of a burned valve, worn-out compression rings, or a blown head gasket.
A timing belt or chain synchronizes camshaft to crankshaft rotation. After miles of service, it wears down, becomes damaged, or breaks. So car manufacturers suggest replacing a timing belt every five years. A timing chain may have a wider service schedule interval. Replacing the belt or chain at the suggested interval can prevent serious engine mechanical problems. Consult your vehicle repair manual.
On some vehicle models, it is easy to remove the timing cover to check if the belt or chain is still in place. If it is, you may be able to visually inspect the belt or chain condition, and then check that it hasn’t jumped. Follow the instructions in your vehicle repair manual.
Likewise, you can check compression pressure using a compression gauge. If you have a gasoline engine, you screw the gauge into a spark plug hole; on diesel engines, screw the gauge in place of a glow plug or injector nozzle. Follow the instructions in your vehicle repair manual.
Gasoline engine compression ranges from 130 to 180 pounds per square inch (psi); diesel engine compression may range from 250 to 400 psi.
Other Components That May Cause a No-Start Condition
Faults in other systems, not just ignition, fuel, or compression problems, can prevent your engine from starting. A system component itself may be faulty, or there may be a problem with its wire connector or harness. You may need to expand your diagnostic procedure to the components below.
Computers in modern vehicles monitor many of these components (usually in emission-related systems) and can set trouble codes when problems arise. So don’t forget to scan your computer.
The exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve introduces a measured amount of exhaust gases into the intake manifold to get re-burned. This helps lower engine temperature and harmful emissions. But the valve can fail and stick either open or closed. When the valve sticks open it may prevent your engine from starting. Other symptoms of a stuck-open EGR valve include rough idle and stalling.
2. Cold Injector
Some vehicle models use a cold-start injector. It operates as a regular injector, but only works when the engine is cold. The injector may have its own thermo switch or may be commanded by the system control module. If either the switch or the computer circuit fails, you may have a hard time starting the engine during cold months. Consult your vehicle repair manual, if necessary.
The manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor compares the barometric (atmospheric) pressure to the intake manifold vacuum. When the sensor fails, it can prevent your engine from starting. Not all vehicles use this sensor. Consult your vehicle repair manual.
The mass air flow (MAF) sensor tells the computer the amount (the density) of the air entering the engine. A common MAF problem is dirt or foreign matter blocking the sensing element, preventing the sensor from working. Or the sensor itself may fail after miles of service. You can clean and test the sensor at home.
The computer uses the engine coolant temperature (ECT) sensor to know how much fuel the engine needs and when to enter closed loop operation (that is, when the engine has reached operating temperature). Depending on your particular model, a bad ECT sensor can upset ignition timing, or the operation of the transmission or cooling fan. Consult your vehicle repair manual, if necessary.
6. Canister Vent Valve
The canister vent valve is part of the evaporative emissions control (EVAP) system. The EVAP system temporarily stores harmful fuel vapors into a canister to prevent their release into the atmosphere. When conditions are appropriate, the computer routes the fuel vapors out of the canister through a canister vent valve and into the intake manifold for burning. A faulty valve, though, can prevent the engine from starting. Consult your vehicle repair manual for the procedure to test the valve.
The throttle position sensor (TPS) monitors the position of the throttle valve. It sends a voltage signal to the computer. The computer uses this information to regulate the air-fuel mixture according to engine needs. On some vehicle models, a worn out, failing or bad TPS will prevent your engine from starting at all.
8. Vacuum Leaks
Vacuum leaks are not uncommon, and they are the source of many engine performance problems, including fail to start. Depending on where the fault is located, vacuum leaks can be hard to find. But mayor vacuum leaks that can make the engine hard to start may happen in the power booster vacuum hose, EGR valve, another main vacuum hose or a blown head or intake manifold gasket.
If you have an old vehicle model with a carburetor, double check that the fuel level is properly adjusted. If the carburetor is flooded, you’ll probably perceive a strong fuel odor under the hood. A little trick you can use is to fully depress the accelerator and try to start the engine. If the engine doesn’t start, wait for a few minutes and try again.
When your engine cranks but fails to start, it can be difficult to fix if you don’t know where to begin troubleshooting. This guide not only tells you where to start but helps you build your diagnostic strategy. And reminds you of some simple but easy to forget places to look into. So most of the time, using just this guide you’ll be able to zero in on the problem.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: My 2013 Hyundai Elantra cranks, but sounds like it’s flooded. What can this be?
Answer: Check the fuel pressure. If the regulator failed, it can flood the engine or starve it from fuel. If you haven’t changed the fuel filter, it might be clogged.
Question: I have a 2007 Dodge Dakota. It has trouble starting when the engine is warm. Checked fuel pressure and it’s good. It will start with starting fluid. Tried fuel injector cleaner, still having the problem. What to try next?
Answer: It seems to be a symptom of a faulty crankshaft position sensor. If possible, test the sensor when cold and when warmed. You may need to put it in hot water and test it. Usually, the sensor may start failing intermittently, then it’ll happen more often. But you won’t “catch” it when cold. This other post may help:
Question: I’m dealing with a 94 Nissan pickup 4 cylinder KA24E engine. The fuel pump went out and replaced the pump. The truck would still run. Afterward, I did a tune up by replacing plugs and distributor cap and rotor. Now the truck will fire but dies after a few seconds. I did not fully remove the distributor to change the cap. What could cause sudden change?
Answer: Make sure you install the correct spark plugs, and that they have the correct gap. Also, check there’s spark when trying to start the engine. and test the spark plug wires. The symptoms point to a bad ignition coil. This other post may help you test it, if necessary:
Question: My 2002 Honda Accord cranks but it doesn’t start. I’m getting fuel, spark, and compression. I drove it two days ago and this morning I went to start it up but it didn’t, t just cranks. Can you help?
Answer: Sometimes a faulty sensor like the crankshaft, camshaft or even a throttle position sensor can prevent an engine from starting. Download troublecodes even if you don’t see the check engine light on. You may find a code that can guide you here.
Question: I Have an Audi a3 2010, the cams and crank are turning over but the vehicle is not starting. Could this be the engine timing or does it need a compression test?
Answer: Make sure you have good spark and fuel pressure, then check for compression and timing.
Question: I just replaced my 1970 mustang’s 302 valve covers, intake manifold and upgraded from 2 barrel to 4 barrel carburetor. In doing so, I had to lift the distributor up a bit in order to install the manifold. Would that throw the timing off? The engine cranks and puffs and seems to want to start but simply won’t. Any thoughts?
Answer: If the distributor shaft and cam gear are not meshing properly, it may cause timing problems. Try wobbling the distributor shaft. If it does, that might be the problem. Also, that would also affect the oil pump, since it’s driven off the distributor shaft. Too much stress. Even if the engine were able to run, I think the distributor may wear out too soon.
Question: So I got a 2002 Ford Focus that cranks, but won’t start. I’ve already replaced the fuel pump and filter and a blown relay fuse and cleaned out the air filter. The car started but after two right turns, it won’t start again. What could be the problem with my Ford Focus’ engine?
Answer: Check for any possible trouble codes. Also, you might want to investigate what caused the fuse to blow. Maybe you got a problem in that circuit.
Question: I have a 1988 Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.0 liter carburetor engine. I was at a stop light and the engine suddenly died. I was able to restart. I drove home and about 10 or so feet from my driveway it suddenly died again. I coasted into the driveway. I got started a third time, let it run for 5 minutes. Revved the engine and it died again. That was 3 months ago, and it has not started since. What could be the problem?
Answer: There could be several causes for this: the choke is not closing; the choke linkage is binding; choke is not closing properly; check the float; fuel is not reaching the carburetor; faulty accelerator pump.
Also make sure you got spark. Check for vacuum leak. Hope this helps.
Question: My 98 Ford Ranger turns over but won’t start. What could be the problem?
Answer: Make sure you got good spark and fuel pressure. Usually, these are the two systems that will give you trouble. Also, check for possible trouble codes, even if the check engine light is not on. You may have a pending code. A sensor may be given you trouble. Hope this helps.
Question: My 2001 Dodge Ram will turn over but won’t start. Has no spark. What could be the problem?
Answer: Have the ignition coil and/or ignition control module checked. Also, scan the computer for possible pending codes.
Question: My Toyota Mark ll engine cranks but won’t turn over. What would be the main cause of this?
Answer: If the engine cranks, it turns over. If you mean the engine cranks but won’t start, then follow the diagnostic procedure in the post. The fuel and ignition system are the most common issues.
Question: I just changed fuel injectors on my 1991 300ZX twin turbo. Before the shop changed them, the car was able to start, but it ran rough due to three injectors not working. Now the car just turns but doesn’t start. What could be the most likely culprit?
Answer: Check the fuel (pressure), ignition (spark), and check that there are no restrictions against the turbo (intake and exhaust system). These are the most common trouble areas. MBRP exhaust system is one of the finest choices in case you need to repair or replace your exhaust system.
Question: My 2002 Honda Civic LX cranks but won’t start. I tried using engine starter fluid and still got nothing. What may be the issue ?
Answer: First, make sure you got the correct fuel pressure and good spark. These are the most common issues.
Question: My Toyota Yaris Vitz 2006 cranks but won’t start after checking the fuel pump, but before checking the fuel pump the engine was starting. What could be the cause?
Answer: Check fuel pressure. There could be a problem in the system. This other post may help:
Question: My CA18 engine is getting a spark, sufficient current, compression, and all fuses are good, but it still won’t start. What is the problem?
Answer: If it cranks good, check for fuel pressure. There could be a problem in pressure or fuel volume.
Question: I have a 2012 Chevy Malibu that won’t start, but it does turn over. All the lights and everything works, but it just won’t start. Do u have any clue what can be the problem?
Answer: Check the battery has enough power and fuel pressure is correct.
Question: I would like to know what to do if my car cranks but does not start?
Answer: Make sure you are getting enough fuel pressure. And check the injectors for the command pulse from the computer.
Question: My truck cranks but won’t start. It has fuel pressure and spark, and I even recently changed the cap and rotor. What else could it be?
Answer: Check for compression. That’s the next step, if you know you have enough fuel pressure and a healthy spark.
Question: My Ford Focus 2009 cranks for a while, eventually starts, then idles normally and runs fine. What’s causing the long cranking?
Answer: Usually, an engine takes longer to start because of an aging or failing battery, starter, or spark plugs. Batteries may last between three to five years. A starter’s lifetime service requirements are hard to predict. Check the spark plug gap, and the condition of the electrodes then follow the manufacturer service recommendation on them.
Question: I drove my car to pick up food. Ran fine. Turned it off and went inside. When I came back out it would crank but refused to start. Have replaced spark plugs, ignition coils and the fuel pump. Ordered a scanner last night that should be there when i get off work today. So no codes at this moment. Any ideas just on what I’ve explained?https://d33cd12064d779868a9ea5f0a554416d.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Answer: The most common faults are in the ignition and fuel systems. First, you need to make sure you have good spark, correct fuel pressure. Also, the problem could be with a sensor: crankshaft position sensor, camshaft position sensor, throttle position sensor. Hopefully you’ll get a diagnostic trouble code that can tell you which system has failed. Still, troubleshoot the system before replacing any parts. Hope this helps.
Question: My 1994 Toyota Starlet engine cranks but won’t turn over. My brother removed some wiring that he had hooked up to speakers in the trunk. What could be the problem?
Answer: If the engine cranks, it turns over. In this case, the most common problems is not good spark or not enough fuel pressure. Make sure you got good spark and fuel pressure:
If you don’t hear the starter motor running — just hear a click or a series of clicks- or the starter motor seems to run but the engine doesn’t crank (doesn’t turn over), then the problem is more likely in the starter system. First make sure the battery is properly charged. You may also want have the starter motor checked. Sometimes, this is also a sign of bad starter system circuit. These other posts may help:
Question: I have a 2001 Ford Focus and the battery and alternator are 6 months old. It started just fine. I got maybe 2 miles and an engine light popped on, shut off the car when I tried restarting. It would turn over slowly but wouldn’t start. I checked the plug wires and they were covered in oil. Could oily plug wires be preventing my Ford Focus from starting?
Answer: The oil may have fouled the spark plugs and wires. Check for the source of the oil leak and fix it. Check the oil level and add, if necessary. Then clean the spark plugs and wires.
Question: I have a 94 Izuzu rodeo that won’t start but turns over. I’ve noticed that the fuel and oil gauge doesn’t move and the air conditioning doesn’t come on when the key is turned to start it. But the other gauges work and the radio works. Do you have any clue what this could be?
Answer: Make sure you’re getting spark and fuel. Check to see if there are any trouble codes you can download from the computer. Also, check for fuel pressure and compression.
Question: 1995 Dodge Dakota V6 2 wheel drive, cranks but won’t start. No power to pump or ignition. What could be wrong?
Answer: Check the ignition relay. If this fails, it can affect power to the ignition coil and fuel pump.
Question: I recently changed the spark plugs in my 1998 Ford Explorer Sport and the ignition coil and it still won’t start. Why won’t my Ford Explorer start?
Answer: Make sure you got good spark. Then check for fuel pressure. Other possibility is a faulty sensor – camshaft position sensor, or crankshaft position sensor are the usual suspects.
Question: My 2011 Ford Fusion died while driving, Now it cranks but won’t start. Fuel pump has been replaced. What is the most likely problem at this point?
Answer: The most common source of trouble when the engine cranks but won’t start is the ignition or fuel system. Make sure you got enough fuel pressure and good spark. Also, a faulty sensor (crankshaft position sensor or camshaft sensor on some models or throttle position sensor) may cause this problem as well. Check for trouble codes, even if the engine light is not on. There could be a pending code that can help you diagnose the problem.
Question: My Toyota Funcargo just stops while driving and won’t start turning over but just not starting. Could it be a bad coil pack?
Answer: It’s possible. But you also need to make sure you got fuel pressure. This other post may help:
Question: My 1996 Opel Astra cranks as normal but just will not start, I have checked the fuel going to the injectors; even checked the plugs. All good. What can be the problem?
Answer: Make sure you got the correct pressure in the fuel system. Problems with the fuel pressure regulator may cause this type of issue, as well. Also, make sure you got a good spark. Bad sensors, like crankshaft or camshaft position sensors, can also prevent the engine from starting. Check for trouble codes, even if the check engine light is not on.
Question: My 2002 Honda Accord cranks but won’t start, and I’ve already replaced the fuel pump, spark plugs and wires, distributor cap and rotor. And the starter has also been replaced. Any ideas?
Answer: Make sure you are getting a good spark. Try spraying a bit of starting fluid through the throttle plate and crank the engine. If it seems like the engine wants to catch, the problem is in the fuel system. Replace the fuel filter, if necessary. Check for fuel pressure. The problem could be the fuel pressure regulator or a worn pump.https://d33cd12064d779868a9ea5f0a554416d.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Question: Why does my Chevy Utility Bakkie backfire when trying to start?
Answer: Check the ignition system and ignition timing.
Question: I used starting fluid and my car turned on for a few seconds then shuts off. What can be the problem?
Answer: Check for fuel pressure. It seems (enough or no) fuel is not getting to the cylinders.
Question: I have a 2000 Honda Civic that cranks but sometimes doesn’t start. It starts after 30 minutes or won’t start after several hours. It also shut-off while I was driving, I changed the spark plugs and the battery is not dead. Also checked and there is fuel going into the cylinders and didn’t seem to find and any blown fuses. Any thoughts?
Answer: The problem could be in the fuel system but it can be hard to diagnose if it is intermittent. You may have a leaking fuel injector.
Also, there could be a bad ground or loose wire that is causing too much resistance in the circuit, preventing the engine to start until it cools. These other posts may help.
Question: I am in Melbourne Australia. I have a 1986 Holden Gemini. Its a small car with a 1.5 liter 4 cylinder engine. When I turn the key to Start, the engine cranks but will not fire. But when I turn key from ‘on’ back to ‘off’ I hear a click in the distributor cap and what sounds like a power stroke occurring in one cylinder. The coil seems OK. But spark plugs don’t spark when the engine turned over. Could my problem be an ignition switch issue?
Answer: Make sure the ignition coil is firing properly, and check the distributor cap for carbon traces and cracks, and the ignition module. Some auto parts stores test the ignition module for you. There could be a problem.
Question: My 2000 Chevy suburban 1500 was working fine today, but later in the day I tried turning on the car and it only cranked without starting. The lights, radio, wipers etc. work fine but the car won’t start. I’ve even tried jumping the battery car but still won’t start, just crank. Any advice on that?
Answer: The most common on a crank-nostart condition are the ignition and fuel systems. Make sure you got good spark and check for fuel pressure. You may try spraying starting fluid in the throttle while cranking. If it sounds like the engine wants to catch, probably the fuel system is at fault.
Question: 1998 GMC Safari cranks but does not start. What should I check for?
Answer: Check fuel pressure and for good spark. Make sure the battery is fully charged.
Question: I’m using a Toyota Brevis 1JZ engine. It’s been diagnosed several times, and it was reporting throttle motor malfunction. I changed the throttle body. It starts one time and then fails then it keeps on cranking. You change the throttle body, it repeats the same process. The spark and compression is there. What could be the problem?
Answer: Check the electrical connectors for the throttle control system. Another possibility is a problem with the throttle control system actuator, or the harness (open or short).
Question: My 1990 Nissan D21 has a hard time starting, but once you get it started it will drive wherever you need to go. Must of the time it just cranks over. I checked spark, everything works; fuel pump is pumping fuel. What could my issue be?
Answer: Check the starting circuit. Bad connections can increase voltage drop and make it harder to start. Check for possible faulty sensor. Download trouble codes, if necessary. This post may help:
Question: I have a 2014 Ford F150. The car cranks but won’t start. I can disconnect the battery cable and reconnect and it will start, but might not next time. Any ideas what the problem might be?
Answer: There could be a problem with the engine or starting system grounds. Maybe these other posts will help:
Question: My 1995 GMC Yukon won’t start after I rebuilt the TBI. Could it be flooded?
Answer: Check the fuel injectors are working. Double check that the TBI was properly torqued when installed and a new gasket, if necessary. This could be a faulty fuel system or a vacuum leak. Other possibilities are problems with the throttle position sensor (TPS) and IAC (idle air controller.). You can test the TPS using a digital multimeter:
Test the IAC using direct battery voltage, and take a look at the ports for buildup.
Question: I have a 2003 Chrysler Town and Country that will crank but it won’t turn over. I have already changed out the battery and fuel pump. How can I diagnose the problem with my Chrysler?
Answer: Make sure you have good spark and good fuel pressure when cranking. If both check out OK, test the compression.
Question: My 2006 Honda Accord has a hard time starting. I have to really press on the gas hard to get it to start. What could be the problem?
Answer: There could be a problem in the fuel system; check for fuel pressure when trying to start. You may have good spark if you’re able to run the car once it starts, but the pump may be weak or worn as well.
Question: I have a 2004 Ford Ranger Edge that cranks fine every morning, but after I drive it to work and it sits for a few hours, I have to crank it at least twice before it will start up. What could be the problem?
Answer: The engine coolant temperature sensor may be failing, not sending the correct signal when the engine is warmer. But, this can also be a problem with fuel pressure or a leaking injector. Step on the gas when cranking the engine. if it starts you may have a leaking injector or pressure regulator. Otherwise, try some starting fluid. If it helps, the problem could be with the pressure regulator.
Question: My 1994 Ford Ranger will sometimes stall early after starting, and it won’t start again right away. But after an hour or so, usually, it starts back up. Any thoughts on why this is occurring?
Answer: Sometimes this is a simple maintenance issue (a clogging fuel filter), problems with the fuel system, or a sensor issue. This other post may help you:
Question: I have a 1991 Nissan 300zx. It shut off while I was driving, and it won’t start. It was leaking water beforehand. I made frequent stops to refill it, but it cut off and now that it’s back it will not turn over. It doesn’t leak anything until I crank it, and it’s the fuel I believe, but it’s black in color. I have no idea what it could be. What should I do?
Answer: From your description, there might be an oil leak. Check the oil level. You need to locate the source of the leak. Take a look under the car and see if you can see traces of the leak around the oil pan or engine.
Question: My Toyota 1KD engine cranks but it can’t start. What could be the problem?
Answer: Follow the steps in the first section in the post to get an idea what system is causing the problem first (ignition, fuel, compression). Then take it from there.
Question: My Audi V6 just cranks but won’t start, I tried almost everything but still the same, what could be the problem?
Answer: Sometimes, this is due to a faulty MAF sensor. You can try cleaning the sensor first and then checking sensor operation. Also, make sure you got no vacuum leaks and you got the correct fuel pressure. Compare the specs in your vehicle repair manual. I’m assuming you checked for good spark and trouble codes. Hope this helps.
Question: I have a 1998 Chevy 1998 K2500 4×4 truck. I’ve replaced plugs, plug wires, distributor and new battery, fuel filters, fresh fuel. Fuel pressure checks out. Engine cranks but won’t start until the whine of fuel pump slightly changes tone. Then it will start on next attempt. Do you think its the fuel pump, even though pressure checks out OK?
Answer: Spray some starting fluid in the throttle body and try starting the engine. If it catches for a second or two, then there could be a problem with the fuel pump.
Question: I have a 98 Chevy Blazer. I have a new battery, new plugs, new wires, new fuel filter and it still won’t start when it’s cold. Once it runs, then it’s good. But after about 8 hours, it is really hard to start again. Why would my Chevy Blazer have trouble starting?
Answer: You may want to check the starter circuit voltage drop. Also, the starter may already have some wear, making it harder to crank the engine. This post might help you:
Also, keep in mind that when cold, the fuel doesn’t evaporate as easily, and the oil tends to be thicker. This makes it harder to start the engine. And, an old engine won’t have as good compression as a newer model, which compounds the problem.
Question: I have a 1995 BMW 740 that wont start. If I put starting fluid in the intake, it tries to start. If I bypass fuel relay, it comes on, but not with key. It cranks but will not start. What could be the problem?
Answer: Make sure you don’t have a clogged fuel filter first. This will prevent fuel from reaching the injectors. Then, check if the fuel pump kicks in when you turn the key On. Remove the key completely and then insert the key and turn it On. You should here the pump coming ‘alive’. If not, try using another relay, or remove the relay and test it. If the pump isn’t working, check if you have any fuel pressure. There could be a leaking fuel pressure regulator or a worn, weak pump. You can check fuel pressure through the test (Schrader) valve. These other posts may help:
Question: I have a 2002 Camaro SS that had a sudden no start. I replaced the PCV valve tubing and valve because I noticed the tube was broken. I also replaced the spark plugs and cleaned the injectors. The car is getting fuel and spark to the coils. At this point, I’m running out of things to test. Do you have any suggestions?
Answer: Make sure fuel pressure is correct. Use a fuel pressure gauge to test pressure. Check for trouble codes that can guide you. Unplug the MAF sensor and see if this makes a difference. Problems with the crankshaft position sensor can also prevent the engine from starting.