If you find that your car won’t start, there are a number of troubleshooting steps you can follow in order to find out the most probably cause.
Check The Battery
If your car won’t start, then check to see if the battery is dead first. Can you turn on the lights? When was the last time your battery was replaced? A battery can run out of juice for a number of reasons, from faulty electrical components to just forgetting to turn off interior lights.
You may experience unusual activity prior to the battery dying out, like the windshield wipers going more slowly than usual, or the car starter taking seemingly longer to turn the car on. If you have a battery that is somewhat new, then you can most likely just recharge it. Have someone help you jump start the vehicle. If the battery cannot be jump started, then the battery is most likely just dead and needs to be replaced.
Ignition Won’t Turn
This is a common problem for many European models of cars. If your key is becoming difficult to turn, then it may only be a matter of time before it stops turning completely. If there is a problem with the ignition lock or the key, then you will need to bring your vehicle in for repairs. Check with a spare key first to see if this works. Sometimes, you may simply have the wheel locked in place. Try to release the steering lock and see if the key will turn then.
No Lights Turn On The Instrument Panel
If you find that you turn the the ignition but do not see your speedometer and other instruments light up, then you most likely have no power from the battery. Many times, it is either a dead battery or a faulty ignition switch. Again, test to see if the headlights come on to check the battery. If the lights do come on, then there is a good possibility that there is a problem with the ignition switch, some wiring or other issues. It is best to bring the vehicle in for a diagnosis at that point.
Starter Won’t Crank
If you hear continuous cranking noises when attempting to start the car, then this again is likely caused by a weak battery. There are a variety of issues that could cause this, from faulty wiring to a dead battery. Over time, issues can develop with electrical components that send current to these parts or the starter itself could be faulty. If you run through the simple troubleshooting steps for the battery and find no resolution, then you will need to have a certified mechanic check the vehicle out.
Engine Cranks Slow, Then Finally Only Clicks
This is usually caused by the starter motor not having enough power to turn over the engine. Like many of the problems on this list, the battery is most likely the issue. Corrosion of poor connections with cabling are culprits that we have seen aside from the battery simply needing to be recharged.
It is important to have your battery checked every few years. Batteries that are older than 4 to 5 years will start to experience more and more problems as time goes on. This can result in a number of issues. Although the basic troubleshooting steps will get many people the right answers, if you experience something you are unsure of, then have a mechanic look at it. Leaving these issues alone will only result in further headaches down the road.