No doubt you have all experienced the joy of jumping in your car, all ready to go only to find your car won’t start. Usually this occurs at the most inconvenient times, like when you are on your way to work or trying to get to an appointment you can’t miss.
There are many reasons why a car might not start. Here are a few of the most common problems and some suggestions for how to get started as quickly as possible.
This is perhaps one of the most frustrating of all car problems because you usually have no one to blame but yourself. You may have left the lights on, left a door open or let the battery fluid run dry. Usually if your battery is flat the car will make a noise like it is trying to start but can’t quite get there.
You may hear a click when you turn the key.
The good news is that if it has gone flat due to leaving the lights on etc you just need a jump start to get you back on the road. You should carry a set of jumper leaders in your car, if you have these, all you need now is another car to give you a boost. Connect the cables to both car batteries using the positive/negative signs and red/black to guide you. Connect positive (red) to positive and negative (black) to negative.
Ensure both cars are in park and start the car that is giving you a jump. Then try to start your car. If at first you have no luck let the other car run for a few minutes and try again. As long as your battery is healthy then your car should come to life. Drive around for at least 30 minutes before turning the car off to ensure the battery charges up again.
If your car doesn’t start then your battery may need replacing. Make sure you check your battery fluid too. If this is low it may cause the battery to die.
If you try to start your car and hear nothing there may be a problem with the connection between battery and the terminal. Check for loose or corroded cables. If there is a lot of damage or wear and tear on the battery cables it may mean the battery charge cannot get through to ignite the engine. If there is a loose cable you will most likely be able to see where it connects back up to get you started again.
Sometimes water can get into the distributor cap causing dampness and this in turn leads to problems starting your car. If you find moisture you can easily use a solvent or spray to resolve the problem. Keep some solvent or spray handy in your car. Remove the cap and pour or spray the solvent into it giving it a clean before drying if off. Do not use petrol as your solvent in this case, it is highly flammable and can cause an explosion.
A drop in temperature slows everything down when it comes to getting your car started. The cold thickens oil and increases friction making it hard for the starter motor to turn. There are a number of things you can do to warm up your car and get it going on a cold morning.
Firstly turn the ignition and pump the accelerator a few times. If this does not start the car do not keep trying as this will flood the engine. Adding some quick start liquid to the engine may help with giving the car a boost.
The best way to get the car going is to slowly warm it up. If this doesn’t work you may need a jump or push start.