You don’t realize how important something is until it is gone. This is especially true for your vehicle. Whether you use it as a daily driver on your commute to work, to tote the kids to school or soccer practice, to get groceries, or as a weekend get-away car to explore the roads less traveled, your vehicle needs to be able to handle whatever you throw at it.
When your car won’t start with jump, there could be a lot of culprits behind the issue. It’s important to understand the root cause of the problem before you try and fix the issue yourself. That’s why it’s always important to take your car to a certified and trusted mechanic who can properly diagnose and treat the issue.
In this article, we’ll explore the top reasons why your car won’t turn over, some ways to troubleshoot the problem, and some advice on ways to ensure your car stays in tip-top condition.
Top 6 Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Start
Here are the six most common reasons why your car won’t start.
- Dead Battery
A dead or broken battery is the most common reason behind your car not being able to start. This component is literally the “heart” of your car, and delivers the power to every facet of the car to make it operate smoothly.
While your car is running, the alternator charges the battery. When your vehicle’s battery is not sufficiently charged, you won’t be able to get the car to turn over or use any of its electrical parts, such as the lights or radio.
There are many reasons that your battery may be dying. Every battery killer can be shoehorned into three basic categories, including battery issues, electrical system problems, and simple user mistakes.
Some simple reasons your battery might have died can include:
- You left your headlights or dome lights on.
- Your car’s battery is in weak or poor condition can cannot hold a charge.
- There are some loose or corroded battery connections that prevent the charging system from topping off your battery when your car is in use.
- Other parasitic drains are draining the electrical system, including trunk or glove box lights.
- Your area is suffering from extremely cold or hot temperatures.
- There is an issue with the alternator.
- The battery’s lifespan has expired.
- You have a loose wire.
- Bad Alternator
If your car is having battery problems, it may be having alternator woes as well. Even if you have a good battery, it will still lose its charge because a faulty alternator won’t keep it properly powered.
Some signs that your alternator is failing can include:
- Your car will produce a growling sound right before the alternator goes out.
- You notice the smell of hot wires or burning rubber, which can happen when your alternator is overheating.
- You notice that your dashboard lights or headlights flicker or go dim.
- You notice that the vehicle’s gauges are acting odd.
- Bad Ignition Switch
If your battery is in good shape, but your car won’t turn on after a couple of tries, it may be suffering from a faulty ignition switch. Some symptoms that your car’s ignition is having problems include:
- If your dashboard lights start to flicker when the car is in motion.
- There isn’t any noise coming from the starter motor. If you turn the key and nothing happens, there is a chance that the ignition switch is not able to make the necessary electrical pathway to transfer power from the battery to the starter motor. While this may simply be the result of a dead battery, you can test this by seeing if other components of the car work, including the power windows or the radio, when the key is in the “on” position.
- Faulty Starter
A bad or broken starter is another common reason why your car may not be starting, even with a jump. Your vehicle’s starter is an electrical motor that is connected to the battery. Its job is to set the engine, including the pistons and crankshaft, in motion when you turn your ignition switch to the “on” position.
Once the engine starts and is in motion, the starter’s job is complete. When your car’s starter breaks, your engine won’t properly crank or may even not crank at all, when you turn the car on. If you hear a clicking sound when you try and turn on your car, a weak or broken starter could be to blame.
Some common signs of a faulty starter include:
- Your vehicle isn’t starting when you turn the ignition key.
- You are hearing a loud clicking noise when you turn the key, but your car will not start.
- It’s extremely noisy when you are trying to turn on the car.
- Clogged Fuel Filter
If your car has a clogged fuel filter, the gas won’t be able to get to the engine. This makes it nearly impossible for your vehicle to burn the gas needed to get going. You should be changing out your fuel filter every 50,000 miles or five years.
Some additional signs of a clogged fuel filter, besides your engine not starting, include:
- Accelerating troubles. If you step down on the gas pedal but your speed doesn’t change, you probably need to replace your fuel filter.
- Frequent sputtering or idling. In a lot of instances, your car’s engine will start up without an issue but will shut down when you try to stop. This means that enough fuel is making it through the filter as you drive but weakens when the car is in idle.
- If you notice any strong odors from your vehicle’s exhaust.
- If you notice low performance or engine misfires.
- You Have No Gas
It may sound silly, but this is a common cause of cars not starting, even with a jump. If you’re constantly on the go, it can be easy to forget to fill up!
Now that you know some reasons why your car won’t turn over with a jump, let’s discuss some ways to troubleshoot the jump start.
How to Troubleshoot Your Jump Start
Allow the dead battery in the vehicle that is being jump started charge for a couple of minutes while the jumper cables are connected. If the battery is very weak, trying to start the car right after connecting the cables may not provide it with enough juice to turn the engine over. By enabling the dead battery to charge for awhile, you’ll increase your chances of the vehicle starting.
Check the jumper cables to see if the protective rubber coating is warm. If it is, this is a sign that there is increased resistance inside of the cables and not enough current is correctly flowing to the dead battery. Try jump starting your car with a different set of cables.
For Non-Battery Related Problems
- Check to see if there is a proper amount of fuel in the car. Even if the gauge indicates that there is fuel, it may have an electrical malfunction and your tank may actually be empty. Add about a gallon of gas and try starting the car again.
- Check to see if the fuel filter is clogged and if the flow of fuel is restricted. Remove the filter and see if any air passes through. If it does, the filter isn’t clogged. Check your owner’s manual to see how you can do this.
- Check to see if your spark plugs are won out, which will lower your car’s drivability and in some instances, not allow it to turn over at all. Remove these components and look at the tips. If you see fuel or black carbon build-up, they are worn out and need to be replaced.
Maintaining and Testing Your Car Battery
As we stated before, one of the main culprits behind your car not starting is a faulty or dead battery. Typically, a car battery will last between two and five years. Here are some tips to help extend the life of your battery.
Limit Short Rides
Short rides around the block and back will prevent your car’s battery from fully charging. Maintain your ride’s battery by driving it for extended periods and regularly. If you don’t drive your car too often, opt for a portable car battery charger. These devices can jump start your battery without the assistance of another vehicle, so you’re never left stranded.
Keep It Tightly Fastened
If your battery isn’t securely fastened, it can vibrate, which will result in short circuits and internal damage. Be sure that you’re having your battery terminate routinely inspected by professionals, especially if you frequently drive on bumpy roads, to ensure it’s tightly fastened and correctly positioned in the mounting bracket.
Turn Off All Lights When You Exit the Vehicle
This includes headlights, interior lights, and turn signals. If you often forget to check if all of the lights are off, post a reminder on your dashboard.
Over time, your battery terminal will corrode. To extend your car’s battery life, keep the terminal clean. You can do this by thoroughly scrubbing it with a toothbrush that has been dipped into a baking soda and water solution. Afterward, use a spray bottle filled with cold water, rinse the mixture off, and follow up with a dry, clean cloth.
Test It Often
Thoroughly understanding the current condition of your car batter can help maximize its life. Buy a car battery tester to keep tabs on how well you’re maintaining it and if you’re due for a brand new battery.
Don’t Use Your Electronics While in Idle
When your car is in an idle mode, turn off functions such as the air conditioner, heat, and radio to put less stress on your battery. Extended periods of idling can also shorten your vehicle’s battery life.
Care for Your Car
Your vehicle is compromised of numerous parts all working together. Ensure that you are regularly taking your vehicle in for tune ups to guarantee it’s operating its best.
If Your Car Won’t Start with a Jump, Can You Fix the Problem Yourself?
This all depends upon what needs to be fixed. If it’s a simple matter of cleaning your battery terminal, tightening the cables, or even replacing your battery, you can do all of these things if you have basic mechanical knowledge and skills.
However, it’s critical to know the exact cause of why your vehicle still won’t start after a jump start, so that it doesn’t happen again and that you’re not left stranded. Determining the root cause of the problem will save you a lot of money and time down the road. It’s always best to have a certified mechanical diagnose and repair the problem.
As you can see, there is a myriad of things that could cause your car to not start, even if you try and jump start it. From a bad battery and faulty alternator to a non-working ignition switch or a clogged fuel filter, it could be tough to find the exact cause of the problem.
That’s why it’s always best to take your car to a service center and have a certified mechanic look it over.
Selling Your Non-Running Car
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If your car won’t start and you are sick of it, contact Cash Cars Buyer today to sell your junk vehicle ASAP. We look forward to doing business with you!