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What Prevents a Car From Starting: Everything You Need To Know!

What Prevents a Car From Starting

No one ever wants to deal with their car not starting – especially when you are on a time crunch and need to get somewhere FAST. Coping with a broken-down vehicle or a car that simply won’t start can make your mind race. The best way to solve this issue is by finding out what prevents a car from starting and fixing it as soon as possible!

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When looking at what prevents a car from starting, the problem can be attributed to many different systems and internal components within your car. However, to fix this issue, you need to find the culprit of the starter issues and find a solution before it gets any worse.

10 Causes of What Prevents a Car From Starting


When you realize your car will not turn on, the ignition will not start the car, and the car will not allow you to move, most drivers will blame a few different things that they think are the cause – 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 is not the cause of what prevents a car from starting? If this is the situation, 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 that prevents a car from starting. 


  • Wheel Lock Engaged


When figuring out what prevents a car from starting, this can be due to a lack of power when you turn the ignition key. The car’s inability to start can also be due to the key refusing to turn in the first place and not being able to move. If you accidentally engage the wheel lock, this will be the culprit of what prevents a car from starting. 


When you turn the steering wheel in your vehicle and the key is removed, the steering wheel will lock in place. This wheel lock can also prevent the key from being turned in the ignition as a self-made anti-theft mechanism. To release this wheel lock, you will have to turn the steering wheel to release the tension on the wheel and ignition tension that has been the subject of what prevents a car from starting.


  • Bad Intake


In order to start the engine and turn on your car, you will need a jump or from the starter of your car. This cranking noise you hear when you first turn the key is the air and fuel mixture in the car. If this is the case, you need a spark from the engine to start the vehicle and avoid being prevented from starting. 


If the mass airflow sensor or the oxygen sensor in your car is not functioning, the throttle body is clogged with too much carbon. The other situation is that your engine’s air filter is clogged and full of debris, causing your engine not to get enough air and causing the car to be hard to start. 


  • Dead Battery


A dead battery is possibly the most likely culprit for what prevents a car from starting. The battery is the part of your car that provides the necessary electricity and power to the entire car. It also provides the electricity to your car’s components like the lights, dashboard lights, power windows, and the radio.


However, if your battery is damaged or dies after prolonged use, this can make what prevents a car from starting. The causes of a battery dying can be due to your headlights being left on for too long, like overnight, your battery having a loose wire or connection, the water inside the component evaporating, or the battery’s lifespan expiring and being past its replacement date. 


Some symptoms of a damaged battery that can lead to what prevents a car from starting are that none of the electrical components work, like your lights and radio will turn on, or your battery light is illuminated on the dashboard.


  • Faulty Ignition Switch


Another main reason that prevents a car from starting is a damaged or faulty ignition switch. If you know your battery is working correctly but your car doesn’t turn over, the ignition switch might have become damaged over time. This is because your battery controls the electrical components, and will no longer be able to send that signal to the engine.


  • Damaged Spark Plugs


A spark is necessary to ignite the air and fuel mixture within the engine cylinders, creating explosions to create the power required to move your car. However, if your spark plugs are damaged or if they are worn out over time like they have been fouled with carbon build-up, a spark might not fire consistently and make the car hard to start. 


  • Faulty Starter


A broken starter for your car is another main cause of what prevents a car from starting. A starter is a motor that is connected to the battery to set the engine in motion. Once the engine starts, the starter has completed its job and is functioning correctly. However, if you notice the engine is not cranking as it should, this can indicate the starter is what prevents a car from starting.


Symptoms of a faulty starter include the car not starting when you put the key in the ignition, the car making a loud clicking sound, and loud noises when you try to turn the key in the ignition. 


Another sign you have a bad starter is that you have lights on, 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 the car will be hard to start. 


Additionally, a further sign of a damaged starter is that your engine will crank excessively. If your engine is not revving after a jump start, this is a sign that your engine needs fixing, and the alternator needs replacement. Replacing your engine and alternator can prevent these parts from being what prevents a car from starting.  


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


  • Low Fuel Pressure


The most common cause of what prevents a car from starting is low fuel pressure. If the engine’s fuel injectors are not getting enough fuel, the combustion will not occur in the engine to power the vehicle. Low fuel pressure has various signs that can alert you to this issue. 


Some low fuel pressure signs include an unresponsive throttle, clogged fuel pump, difficulty starting the car, engine stalling, and backfiring engine issues. 


  • Empty Gas Tank


Although this might seem easy to tell, this happens more often than you might think – and might not be what drivers immediately assume is the culprit of what prevents a car from starting! When driving around constantly, sometimes you think of other things and forget to fill up your tank. Luckily for this cause, there is a simple fix: add more fuel to your gas tank.


  • Thick Oil


Fuel in your car can get thicker from your engine having too low of a temperature or your mechanic not doing a recommended oil change during the maintenance period. If the liquid is too thick, it will become very condensed, making it hard to flow through the system.


In that case, the engine has to work harder in order to spin. This also requires the engine to need more energy to start since not enough fuel and oil can get into the fuel line and be directed to the engine. If the oil is too thick to move properly, it can be what prevents a car from starting. 


  • Failing Solenoid


Your solenoid is the connection between the battery and the starter, being the cylindrical coil of wire that transfers the necessary power. If your car struggles to start, this can be due to your solenoid being broken. If there is no sound when you turn the key in the ignition, this is a key clue that your solenoid has gone wrong and is the cause of what prevents a car from starting. 



When trying to figure out what prevents a car from starting, you need to look at the ten main causes of this in your vehicle. By checking the health and the functioning of the solenoid, oil, gas tank, fuel system, ignition switch, spark plugs, intake valve, and wheel lock, you can keep this issue from worsening over time and fix the problem before it leads to irreparable damage. 

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