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What to Do When Your Car Won’t Start

What do you do when you jump into your car, turn the key, and nothing happens? There are few experiences more deflating, especially when you need to be somewhere else and your car not starting.

At Five Star Autocentre, we have made it our mission to keep you on the road and in a car that can be trusted to start every time. This is why we have written this article to help you be prepared should this happen to you.

A Few Things You Can Check

Even though your car is a complex feat of engineering there are many things that you can check prior to calling Five Star Autocentre. Here are some checks you can do to determine the cause yourself. The common causes to be aware of include:

  • Your battery lacking charge. You will know this is the case when either nothing happens or you find the engine only turns over slowly and not enough to spark the engine into action.
  • Attempting to start an automatic when the car is not in either the Park or Neutral mode.
  • Trying to use a spare key that hasn’t yet been programmed for your vehicle.
  • Filling the car with the wrong fuel.
  • A fault with the electronics often flagged by the illumination of a Malfunction Indicator Lamp.

Checking the Battery

There are a couple of non technical ways to check your battery. First of all, does your car turn over? When your engine fires up properly you can rest assured it’s not the battery that is at fault. However, when it doesn’t crank (turn over) at all the battery is highly likely to be the cause.

If the latter is the case, wet the windscreen with the washers and operate the wipers. If these move very slowly across the window it’s a good indication the battery is lacking charge.

How To “Jump Start” Your Car

To recharge your battery try a “Jump Start”. With a set of jump leads and another battery, either on another vehicle or a separate slave battery, connect the two batteries.

After around 10 minutes the batteries should both have had a chance to equalise, and you can try starting your car again.

However, it’s essential that you follow any instructions from the manufacturer to confirm where the jump leads should be attached. The instructions will also explain any specific procedures you need to follow. There are cases where the connection is not directly with the battery. If you make a mistake and don’t follow the right procedure you run the risk of causing a fault.

If you believe the battery is the root of the problem and prefer to call in professional help please contact us so we can solve the issue for you.

An Immobilised Vehicle

In a car’s anti-theft system ignition keys are fitted with coded chips known as transponders. The data in these transponders is analysed by your car to ensure the key is the right one for your vehicle every time you use it.

If it is the correct key, the car’s engine will turn over. If it isn’t you may see a warning light similar to the one here.

If you think the car is not starting because it has been immobilised the first thing is to check you are using the right key. If you aren’t, then find the key you normally use and get the faulty key checked out.

If you find it is the right key and you still have a problem, try placing it closer to the key reader. The best way of doing this will be identified in the owner’s manual.

If following these tips are unsuccessful please don’t hesitate to call us and one of our skilled technicians will be able to help solve the problem.

Dash Lights

If you find your car is showing no dash lights, or the wrong lights, there is likely to be a problem with the car’s fuses.

Fuses protect the cars electrical systems and are designed to “blow” should a fault occur. It’s not uncommon when your car doesn’t start for a fuse to have blown and caused this.

The owner’s manual will help you to understand your car’s fuses and whether there is more than one fuse box. This manual will also outline how to relate each fuse to the particular system it protects.

By checking each fuse individually you can establish and replace the fuse that is the culprit. If the fuse you replace keeps blowing it’s an indication that the fault needs a professional diagnosis.

If the fuses are fine, check to see if any Malfunction Indicator Light is highlighting another electrical system problem. These fault lights are designed to highlight electrical system malfunctions and many of these can cause a non start scenario.

Specialist equipment and knowledgeable technicians are required to accurately get to the bottom of these issues. Luckily at Five Star Autocentre we have both, so just give us a call and we’ll get you back on the road in a car you can trust as soon as possible.