When it comes to your car, you count on it working when you want it to. So, when your car is taking longer to start, you become frustrated. While this is understandable, there are some reasons that this is happening.
What are Some Reasons That My Car is Hard To Start?
There is never a convenient time for your car to give you a hassle, when it’s time to start it. We have compiled some of the most common reasons that your car may be hard to start. Check out our list below:
Low Levels of Fuel
If you are one of those drivers who drives a car on “gas fumes”, then you need to think about that decision. Car experts recommend keeping your fuel tank at the half way mark- at the very least. This is a great piece of advice, if you live in colder climates. During those colder months, it is easier for the low temperature to condense even the smallest amount of fuel than if you had a full tank of gas in your car. So, instead of driving on “fumes”, consider keeping that gas tank at least half way full- especially if it’s cold outside.
The Oil is Thick
Your vehicle oil can thicken due to low temperature of not getting it changed at the recommended time that your car is due for an oil change. Liquid is not able to flow quickly or smoothly, if it is condensed. If this happens, then the vehicle’s engine has to has to work ever harder than normal, to spin and start due to low amounts of oil not being able to enter the fuel line as well as the engine. This is why it is so important to get an oil change when it is time. You never want to delay getting a fresh oil change- and replenishing your car’s oil. Don’t forget to change the oil filter regularly too. This will help your car to start and avoid hard starting times.
You Have a Slow Battery
While cold start car problems are a frequent issue connected to staring a car, extreme cold can affect your car battery. So, if your battery is slow then, your car may be slow to start. A car battery produces electrons through various chemical reactions. But when the entire process is slow, there are fewer electrons that supply enough energy to the vehicle’s starter. You can have a similar issue with a battery that is dying.
Your Starter is Bad
Your car’s starter has the task of harnessing the power of the battery. Once you place your key inside of the ignition switch and turn that key, then the starter will crank the engine, allowing the piston to create a suction that draws in the air and fuel mixture into the cylinder. Your car may be slow to start, due to a faulty starter. Your starter may not be doing anything, or be slow to work due to a multitude of issues. It may be time for another starter, or a visit to your mechanic to see what is the issue.
A Bad Solenoid
Another reason that it’s taking your car longer to start, could be due to a faulty solenoid. A solenoid looks like a coil of wire, that also has a cylindrical structure. Your solenoid is a component that bridges the connection between your starter and battery to the starter. It’s responsible for the power in that connection. So, if your vehicle is struggling to start, then you just may have a faulty solenoid. To check for a faulty solenoid, all you have to do is test to see if there is power that is flowing between your starter and battery. Just make sure that your battery is in good condition. You also want to know what shape your starter is in. Once you can use “process of elimination”, you can see if you have a faulty solenoid.
Your Ignition Switch is Worn Out
Need another reason that your car may be hard to start? You have a bad ignition switch. Unfortunately, your ignition switch can wear out over time. Of course, this means that you will need to replace it. Does your switch feel hot when you touch it? Then it could mean that there is some sort of wiring problem. But before you decide to replace your switch, have a mechanic check it and see if the switch is indeed the issue. Sometimes we place lots of keys and items on our key chains. So, yes, even a heavy key chain can cause an ignition switch to fail. It may be to your benefit not to have “janitor keys” on your key ring, as you start your car. In other words, try not to have lots of key chains and keys on your ring, as you start your car. You run the risk of wearing down your ignition switch. Holding heavy and keepsake key chains for a long time definitely can wear out an ignition switch. Additionally, it just may be time to replace it. So, check it first, before replacing it.
What Can I Try To Get My Car To Start?
Before heading to a mechanic, you may want to see if you can remedy your car not starting as it should. Check out the following scenarios and solutions below.
My Car Won’t Start, But The Starter Will Make A “Clicking” Sound
You first may want to try cycling the key. Simply turn on your vehicle’s dome light and watch it while you try to start your car. If the light is going out or simply goes out, then you have a weak battery- and it may be on death’s door. So, you can heat up the battery terminals as well as the starter by cycling the key. If your dome light continued to stay bright as you turned the key, then try to tap the battery terminals. You may not be able to clean any corrosion off of your battery terminals if you are away from home and your tools. So, you can try to move or jar the terminals so that they make better contact. Another trick to try is to try gently hitting or smacking the starter with a tool in your car, such as a tire iron from your car jack. Many times, the electrical contacts can get stuck and later freed by just tapping or gently smacking them.
My Car Won’t Start and I Hear No Clicking Sound
For this trick you can try shifting the shifter. Just place your foot on the brake. Then, you can move the shift lever into the neutral position and then try to start your engine. If this fails to work, then try moving it back to the park mode and then try the trick again. When you move the shifter, it may reestablish the electrical contact that is inside the neutral safety switch
or the transmission range selector.
My Engine is Cranking But It Won’t Fire Up
If this is the case, for you, then you may attempt to swap relays. To do this, turn you radio off, then take your key and turn it to the “run” position. Now, you want to listen for a buzzing sound. This is the sound of the fuel pump priming the vehicle’s injection system. Do you hear NO sound? Then, the fuel pump relay may be faulty or the pump is on “death’s door”. Look for where your fuel pump relay is, in your car owner’s manual, or on the diagram of the under-hood fuse box lid. Then find another relay that has the same part number. Then, exchange it with the fuel pump. Now try starting your car. Is the engine not firing? Try a gentle beating action on the fuel tank with your foot, so that you can shake the fuel pump motor. You may also need to unflood your engine. Do you smell gas? Then your engine is flooded and needs to be unflooded. To do this, press your vehicle’s accelerator pedal to the floor and hold it down as you crank your car up. A third thing to try, is to attempt to trick your vehicle’s computer. A faulty temperature sensor or a vacuum leak can cause the fuel/air mixture to become too lean, to start an engine.
Is all of this not working? Then you need to take your car to a trusted mechanic and get the proper diagnosis for why your vehicle is taking too long to start.
When your car is taking longer than usual to start, it can put a damper on your day’s plans or your finances. So, how can you prevent this in the future? We have a few tips that may help.
Keep Gas In Your Car
Keeping a sufficient amount of gas in your car can help with a vehicle that is hard to start. You NEVER want to have a car just “running on fumes”. Even if you can just keep the fuel needle a bit above a quarter tank of gas, then do it.
Watch your Vehicle’s Oil
When we say “please get your oil changed”, we mean it. It is advice that comes from the heart. Oil changes truly benefit a car and help it to stay in working order. Oil thickens as temperatures drop. So, if you live somewhere in the country where it gets very cold, keep that oil changed, and keep an eye on your oil, ensuring that it has the correct consistency to flow freely in your vehicle.
Watch your Battery
Keep a keen eye on your car battery. When was the last time you had it changed? You may be due for another battery.
Watch Other Car Parts Too
When it comes to starting a car, there are other car parts that need to be in tip-top shape. What condition is that car starter in? When was the last time you checked the spark plugs in your car? These components come into play, once it’s time to start a car.
So, making regular maintenance apart of your life will help you to avoid car starting issues in the future. It’s always best to pay a few dollars for an oil change and some regular TLC for your car- than to pay for a huge repair- because you ignored regular car care.
What Other Related “Car Taking Longer To Start” Articles Can I Read To Learn More?
We certainly have related content that can help you with car starter issues. Simply click the title below and read more!