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What to Check if Your Car Won't Start

It’s always annoying when a vehicle won’t start – especially if you’re in a hurry.

Here are a few things you can do to find out why it won’t start.

The most common issue for vehicles that won’t start is the battery. The usual symptoms after you insert or turn the key:

  • No sound or lights
  • There’s a single click, but the engine doesn’t crank
  • There’s a sequence of quick clicking noises, but the engine doesn’t start
  • The engine turns over very slowly

Sometimes charging or jumping the battery is enough to do the trick. Other times, it’s just a bad battery, and you need to replace it.

Causes of dead batteries:

  • Cold temperatures
  • Leaving lights on
  • Age and usage
  • Bad alternator diode
  • A terminal with a short

Pro tip: Check and clean your battery connectors. Corrosion buildup can cause separation between terminals and hookups which affects a battery’s performance.

On average, batteries last about four years, and most come with a warranty. If your battery begins having issues, check how long you’ve been using it and see if your warranty is still in effect.

If your headlights are still bright when you turn them on, it’s probably not the battery. And if it’s not the battery, it could be a range of other problems.

Other issues that might stop a vehicle from starting:

  •  Bad fuel pump
  • Lost spark to the engine
  • Blown fuse
  • Malfunctioning alternator
  • Bad starter
  • Lack of fuel

If it’s one of these issues, you’ll likely need to take your vehicle to a mechanic.

If your vehicle is having problems starting, stop by Auto Tire and Parts NAPA and one of our parts professionals will help diagnose the issue.


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