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Media post: Why won’t my car start

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Is your car not starting? There are loads of reasons why this can happen. You may hear a range of noises when you place the key into the ignition – from nothing at all, a hard clunk to a dodgy clicking noise. Here’s how to spot what could be wrong with your motor and how to fix it.

Dead battery

If you stick the key into the ignition and there is no sound or lights on the dashboard, then your battery is dead as a doornail and your car won’t start. You will need to flag down a fellow motorist with a working car, ten minutes to spare and some jump leads!

Batteries go flat or die when you leave your lights or the radio on and return to your motor hours later. It may be that you left your car unused for a while in very cold weather.

Restarting the car is easy. The working car should be parked bumper to bumper to allow you to connect the jump leads from your dead battery to the working car. Connect the jump leads, with the positive end to the positive battery terminal, and likewise with the negative ends, to ‘jump’ the vehicle.

Once connected, start the working car and run until the dead car can start. Whatever you do, don’t stop the engine of the dead car until you have driven around for a while to power it up!

Dirty or corroded battery connection

It may look sinister but a dirty battery connection can be easily cleaned up. Simply turn the car engine off and use a spanner to loosen the battery terminals.

A toothbrush is a great tool to scrub those parts up and can be helped along with a simple homemade solution – one cup of water and one tablespoon of baking soda to get them looking and functioning as good as new.

Once you‘ve done this, you’ll need to check your battery for any leaks or cracks.

Out of fuel

You usually get a petrol can warning light flashing up on your dashboard to let you know you are nearly out of fuel. When this happens, you’ve normally got around 50miles left in your tank.

But, you may underestimate how far you’ve driven and simply run out of gas. Hopefully you have a jerry can in your boot, which you will need to take (on foot!) to the nearest petrol station and fill up before getting back to your motor and filling up.

Faulty spark plugs

If your spark plugs have been well lubricated with WD40, then they should be in good working order. But an engine misfire is something you would instantly recognise. It’s when the engine stumbles, slows down and then appears to regain pace before stopping. Extremely worn spark plugs cause a vehicle’s ignition system to work harder and can stop the engine turning over as normal.

If one spark plug misfires, it can dump raw fuel into the exhaust, which eventually, will overheat the catalytic converter. The good news is, they don’t usually need to be replaced until you hit 100,000 miles, so inevitably, are easy to forget! However, if this is the issue, you’ll need to be towed to a garage.

Low oil levels

Low levels of oil put a great deal of strain on the battery when the car is started. You should always ensure your oil is topped up to the maximum line when you check with a dipstick. Never let the amount of oil drop below the minimum line as this will cause unnecessary wear on your engine and could cause it to blow up.

If you’ve often thought, ‘my car won’t start’, hopefully you have learned some of the reasons why, here. If you’re still not sure why your car is not starting or need to fix any other issues, it’s always a good idea to get a mechanic to check over your vehicle – including the battery and tyres. Even if you have managed to re-start your car with the existing battery, you should always get a professional to check it.

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