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Car hard to start – Here’s What You Need To Know

Car hard to start

Although car hard to start problems might not be the most severe, they can definitely be annoying and cause you to need to bring your car to a mechanic. By keeping a reular maintenance routine and preventing any further damage, you can lessen the likelihood of your car being hard to start. 

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Reasons your car is hard to start


When you start to drive your car and you realize that your car will not turn on, the ignition will not start the car, and the car will not allow you to move forward, most drivers will instinctively blame a few different things that they think are true – a dead battery, a faulty transmission, or a damaged engine. But what if your car has only been sitting for a few hours and leaving your lights on or a radio is not the cause? If you just came back from a long trip and you realize that your car has started correctly, then there is no real reason why the battery should be dead and be the cause of your car's hard to start. This means that there is something else that is the real reason to start your car. 

Wheel lock engaged


Most of the time when your car is hard to start, this can be due to a lack of anything happening when you turn the key in the ignition. This can also be due to the key refusing to turn in the first place and not being able to move in the ignition of your car. This can be due to the fact that you engaged the wheel lock accidentally. Wheel locks are designed to prevent thieves from stealing rims off of your car, consisting of four special lug nuts and one key. 


When you turn the steering wheel in your vehicle and the key is removed and the engine is off, the steering wheel will lock in place where you turn it. This wheel lock can also prevent the key from being turned in the ignition as a self made anti theft tool in your vehicle. To release this wheel lock, you will have to turn the steering wheel in order to release the tension on the wheel and release the ignition tension that has made your car hard to start. 

Malfunctioning anti theft immobilizer


Another anti theft mechanism that your car can have to protect you and your valuables is that it might feature an anti theft immobilizer. This anti theft system is in charge of detecting a chip in your key and allowing the engine to start and the key to turn on the ignition. If a key is inserted in the ignition of your car without this chip, the key will not be able to turn. If this system is not working correctly and has become damaged over time, the ignition might not detect the key and will prevent you from starting the car by turning it in the ignition. To fix this anti theft immobilizer, you might need a new key ro to determine the fix to prevent your car from being hard to start. 


An anti theft immobilizer is the electronic security device that is outfitted to your specific motor vehicle that prevents the engine from running unless the correct key, even including a smart key, is present and used in the starting of the vehicle. This prevents the vehicle from being hot wired by a thief after henry has been achieved with a smart key, reducing the chance of theft however, this technology can also make the car hard to start. 

Bad intake


In order to start the engine and get your car to turn on and begin running, you will need a jump or an impulse from the starter of your car. This cranking noise that you hear when you first turn the key in the ignitor is the sound of the air and fuel mixture in the car and a necessary spark from the engine to begin the vehicle and present the car from being hard to start. 


if the mass airflow sensor or the oxygen sensors in your car are not working properly and functioning well, the throttle body is then clogged with too much carbon or if the engine air filter is clogged and full of debris, you might not get enough air into the engine in order t o prevent eh car from being hard to start. 


This can make it difficult to turn the key or get the engine running, but once you start driving and the car is moving, the forward momentum of the car can allow your car to move normally. To get your car started quickly and easily, stop by a local mechanic or auto body to see if the new air filter can help prevent your car from being hard to start. 

Fouled Spark Plugs


Inside the engine cylinders in your car, a spark is necessarily fired to ignite the air and fuel mixture, creating the resulting explosions that create the power necessary to move your car. However, if your spark plugs are damaged or if they are old and worn out after prolonged damage, meaning they have been fouled with carbon build up or engine oil, a spark might not fire consistently and make the car hard to start. 


This can make the key hard to turn the ignition and can make your engine run roughly, like rough idling, and cause inefficiency in the car’s engine and performance. If your car is hard to start, or has been emitting black smoke from the exhaust, new spark plugs may be needed. 

Bad Starter


The starter in your car is a small motor that spins a certain gear called the pinion gear. The pinion gear is a round gear that is used in the drivetrain and rack and pinion systems. To determine if the bad starter is the issue of your car being hard to start, there are a few key signs of a bad starter in your car. 


First, something might sound off in your vehicle. One of the main signs of a bad starter is a distinctive clicking noise when you turn the key or push the start button in your car. A starter can also die, unfortunately, without any sound at all, or it may announce its death with some whirring and grinding, which can make the car hard to start. 


Another sign that there is a bad starter is that you have lights on in your car but there is no action. If you try to start the engine and only find that the dashboard lights turn on, the engine might not be able to power up and you will have a problem with the start and make the car hard to start. 


Additionally,  a sign of a bad starter is that your engine will crank. If your engine is not revving even after a jump start, then it is a sign that your engine needs fixing and the alternator needs replacement in order to prevent your car from being hard to start. 


Furthermore, a sign of a bad alternator is that smoke can come out from your car. This state is a key part of your electrical system and is especially subject to blown fuses and short circuits, and can make the car easy to overheat and cause further electrical issues, causing the car to be hard to start and smoke to emit for the exhaust pipe. 


The last sign of a bad starter that can make the car hard to start is that oil has soaked the starter. Your starter can usually be found on the driver's side of the motor, just below the cylinders, and might find that your starter is drenched in oil and that an oil leak can be the culprit of a bad starter and the car is hard to start.  

Low Fuel Pressure


The most common reason that your car might be hard to start is that there is low fuel pressure. If the engine’s fuel injectors are not getting enough fuel, then the combustion is not occurring in the engine and it will not be able to run on its own. Low fuel pressure has various signs that can alert you to this issue. 


One sign of the low fuel pressure is that there is an unresponsive throttle. All cars require proper fuel delivery to their cylinders in order for them to run correctly, although if you feel any lags in your car’s pickup, then a clogged fuel pump can be the cause and cause the car to be hard to start. 


Another sign of low fuel pressure is that you have difficulty starting the car, meaning it can take longer to start your car or it can be hard to start, potentially feeling backfire from your engine. Furthermore a stalling engine can be a clear sign that you are having issues with your fuel pump due to the incorrect amount of fuel to maintain combustion or it can make the car hard to start. 

Thick Oil


Fuel in your car can get thicker for a few different reasons, either your engine having a too low of a temperature or your mechanic or you not doing a recommended oil change during the recommended maintenance period. If the liquid is too thick, it will become very condensed and thick. As you know, a liquid can’t flow quickly if it is condensed. In that case, the engine has to push around a lot and work harder to in order to spin. This also requires the engine to need more energy in order to start since not enough fuel and oil can get into the fuel line and be directed to the engine to power the car. 


To keep your car running correctly and prevent thick oil, you will need to change the oil filter regularly to prevent your car from having a hard time starting and preventing your engine from starting. The oil filter is in charge of catching dirt, debris, and particles over time and these can get into the oil and the engine, which causes over time contamination. 

Failing Solenoid


Your solenoid is basically the main part of your car that is the connection between the battery and the starter, being the cylindrical coil of wire that transfers the power and the flow. If your car struggles to start, this can be due to your solenoid being broken or wearing out. If there is not any sound when you turn the key in the ignition to start the car, this is a key clue that your solenoid has gone bad. 


To figure out if your solenoid is failing, you need to determine if there is power flowing from the battery to the starter. A diagnosis of the starter can help you determine where the glitch is coming from. 

Locate the Faulty System


To determine why your car is hard to start, you might need to find out where the fault is coming from by using a series of tests that can help you diagnose the issue. You can start by doing a quick battery test in your vehicle, allowing you to diagnose why your car engine is hard to start, if the engine is corroded, or if there are loose or damaged battery terminals.


One of the first things to check when having trouble with the engine or the car is hard to start is that you have a charged battery. A slow drain from your battery, even a slow electrical issue, can leave you without enough power to fire up the engine when it is cold outside. For this test, you will need a digital multimeter that can give you a sense of your battery charge condition. 


You can set your meter to 20 Volts or a similar range, and then get a voltage reading across the battery posts. If you get a reading that is below 12.4V, then you will need to charge the battery to prevent the car being hard to start.

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