Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car will not start.

asked by on

When I turn the key in the ignition, none of the dashboard lights come on, there is no clicking sound, and the engine does not come on. Basically, nothing happens when I turn the key all the way. Also, none the headlights will not come on.

My car has an automatic transmission.

It is likely that your car battery is dead. If you request a no start diagnostic, the mechanic will look at the possibility of a dead battery first simply because that is the most common scenario for the symptoms you are describing. Of course, if the battery is dead, the important question is "why is it dead?". If the battery is relatively new, and will pass a "load test" (once an attempt is made to fully charge the battery) and all that happened was you left a light on overnight causing the battery to discharge, then the required "repair" is simply to recharge the battery and you should be good to go. However, if the battery has failed because it is old or defective, and thus it won’t pass a load test, then you need to install a new battery. It is also possible that the battery died due to a defective charging system and/or a parasitic electrical load that is not supposed to be there when the car is off but which results in a slow drain of the battery overnight. In all events, regardless of the required repair, the responding mechanic will test the output of the charging system, once a re-charged or new battery is installed, in order to assure make sure the repair is complete. There are other possible causes of the problem you are reporting, such as a completely severed connection between the battery and the vehicle’s electrical system (open in wire, fuse, relay, etc.) but these would only be considered if it is determined that there is nothing wrong with the battery.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

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

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Can moisture on perforated leather damage the heated seat element?

I don't think it would damage the elements since they are encased in plastic material. I would however recommend not spraying anything directly on the seats. In the future you should apply it on a clean rag and wipe it...

Q: Cranks but does not start.

Hi there. Check the spark plugs and see if they are burned. If the spark plugs are old and have not been replaced for a long time, then they could be fouled out. I recommend replacing the spark plugs with...

Q: Brakes heating up and locking

The brakes dragging could be from several causes. A full service of any components, such as the booster or master cylinder could have not been adjusted properly when installed. It is also possible that the brake calipers are binding. I...

Related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...