Q: Car hesitates to start, and check engine light on

asked by on November 21, 2017

So yesterday when I went to turn my car on, I had to hold the key turning for a couple seconds because it was hesitating to start. I drove to work fine this morning, car running smooth, no issues, but when I left work the car did the similar thing. I had to hold the key for the car to start, and the check engine light went on. It hesitates to start while turning the key, the similar feeling to a bad battery. But I have no idea what it could be.

My car has 77000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Car is hard to start Inspection $79.99 - $99.99 Get a Quote

If the check engine light is on, that will possibly lead to an important clue as to what is going on. Typically, there will be stored OBD-II trouble code(s) when the check engine light comes on and those codes can be downloaded by the mechanic. Diagnostics can proceed on the basis of those codes. The codes are NOT the diagnostic itself but rather the codes will provide clues as to which vehicle components must be actually tested. To obtain a check engine light diagnostic, and a specific evaluation of the starting difficulty that you are writing in about, please request service via YourMechanic’s hard starting diagnostic service page. The responding certified mechanic will get this resolved for you. To give you some initial ideas, although there are many causes of hard starting illustrative causes include a faulty engine coolant temperature switch (sensor), malfunctioning idle air control (IAC) valve, vacuum and EGR leaks, inadequate fuel delivery or pressure (clogged fuel filter, injectors), and contaminated or old gasoline. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing


Experienced Mechanic?

Earn up to $70/hr

What others are asking

How much does this cost

I have a 96 Mercedes recently it started rattling in park but as soon as i put it in gear it stops eat cud be wrng

Under hood rattling can be caused by loose exhaust components, faulty pulleys and accessories, motor mount faults, loose heat shields, or any loose component. The reason you are noticing the noise only under certain conditions ("park" versus "drive") is because...

2006 saturn vue will start and shut off within 5 seconds of being on

Hi There, This can happen for a few different reasons such as a faulty or dirty mass air flow sensor, a faulty fuel pump relay or in some cases a bad ignition coil. I would suggest having a professional from...

I put a fuel injector cleaner in my car and had been stalling at a stop and lags when I'm driving. New fuel filter, still stalling out.

For the condition of the engine rpm's changing either the Idle Air Control valve is not working properly and needs cleaned out or the EGR valve is sticking causing the engine to bog down and stall out. I recommend taking...

Can I have my jump starter plugged in to an outlet as if i was charging, then connect it to a batter and turn it on? Will that cha

If the vehicle battery happens to be more than 5 years (60 months) old, don't bother fooling with it. Buy a new battery and be sure the new battery is fully charged by the store before you install it, otherwise...

It's a long noise when I'm driving ,like a clacking - hard noise under the right passenger side .Could it be the CV shaft?

Hi there. If the vehicle was driven for more than 1 mile with the engine oil at only about 2 quarts, then the bearings have burned and now are knocking. The right side of your engine now has an engine...

Car isn't cranking

It sounds like you may have a problem with the battery cables. Check the ends by the battery thoroughly, especially if they have been replaced by universal ones. The main ground cable runs with the starter positive cable and is...

Wheel studs breaking off when changing tire

Hey there: Thanks for writing in to YourMechanic.com. Breaking a wheel stud is commonly not caused by the way you're removing them, or the tool you are using. Lug nuts are supposed to go onto a stud smoothly, and come...

Car will not accelerate properly

That was smart to check fluid levels under the hood before your trip. I'm not sure you could've done anything else to prevent this breakdown. It sounds like you are describing a transmission failure on the Quest. A mechanic with...

Related articles

The Best Used Cars to Buy For Fuel Economy
Saving money on gas is an important factor to consider when buying a car. The Honda Civic, Toyota Prius, and Ford Fusion all have great fuel economy.
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Honda Civic
America’s America’s best-selling compact car, the Honda Civic has been around for nine generations now, and the 2012 models boast some very exciting features and upgrades. Including coupe and sedan styles, the Civic continues to be one of the most...
Which Cars Last the Longest?
The best cars are ones that last the longest without needing much maintenance. The Honda Civic has low repair bills and can rack over 200,000 miles.