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Q: Car not turning over.

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My car won't start and I am not sure why. It cranks, but will not start. It has more than a half tank of gas, but won't completely turn on.

From the description of the symptoms your vehicle is experiencing, I can tell right away that the starter and battery are likely not the culprits. While most people assume a non-starting vehicle is due to a bad battery or a bad starter, over the years I have learned that sometimes the gas gauge on the dashboard displays one reading when it should actually say another. If you are not 100% sure there was gas just recently put in the tank, I recommend trying to add a gallon of gas to the tank first, then attempt to start your car again. If it starts up, great! Your car was out of gas and it is time to get your car’s gas gauge inspected.

However, if after adding gas, it still does not start, enlist the help of a friend and remove the gas cap, putting your ear to the opening while your friend turns the key to the on position. In most cases you will hear the car’s fuel pump turn on for a few seconds to pressurize the fuel lines. If you hear that sound but the car is not starting, the problem lies elsewhere. However it must be noted that when fuel pumps do fail, some will completely quit and stop working, but some may actually still turn on and still fail to provide adequate fuel pressure to start the vehicle.

Not hearing the fuel pump turn on while doing this test is a clear sign that the fuel pump is the issue. Even if your battery and starter are good, with the symptoms your car is experiencing, there are really several possibilities that could keep your vehicle from starting. After low gas and bad fuel pump, the list includes a bad cam or crankshaft sensor, worn out spark plugs, bad ignition coils and more. Due to the amount of variables, I highly recommend having a professional inspect your vehicle to verify the problem and get you and your car safely back on the road.

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