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Q: Car won't start up, but starter and battery are working fine.

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I spent the day yesterday trying to diagnose my issue and didn't get very far. Simply, the car will crank at full-tilt, but never catch ignition. The I have a reason to believe that the fuel system is the culprit, either at the pump or I am just in need of a new fuel filter.

For further information, I had considered it to be an electrical issue, i.e. no spark in the engine, until this morning. This morning, when I tried to start the car again, it sputtered for a half-second before going back to just cranking, so I think that the engine just isn't getting fuel.

Is there anything else that you would recommend that I try before I dive in to a replacement of both parts? Also, when YourMechanic comes out to perform service, do they replace the fuel filter before replacing the fuel pump, so we could try the cheaper solution first, before going to the $500 repair?

My car has 117000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

This may be related to many different possibilities, some of which may be related to a lack of spark and some of which may be related to a fuel delivery problem or a combination of both. For example, if the ignition coils, crankshaft position sensor, spark plugs, spark plug wires or ignition module are faulty, this may cause the motor to not produce the spark needed to ignite the fuel in the motor. You have verified that the motor did in fact fire at one point, so this is not likely to be the case, however it is possible for some ignition parts to work intermittently when they are faulty so it may not be ruled out completely.

If there is a fuel delivery problem, this may be related to low fuel pressure, faulty or dirty fuel injectors, a faulty or dirty idle air control valve (this relays information about air intake to the computer which makes fuel adjustments), or potentially a faulty fuel pressure regulator or fuel pump. Fuel delivery problems will typically not allow the proper amount of fuel to be delivered to the cylinders which results in a lean fuel condition which can cause backfiring or simply cause the motor not to start as a result of fuel starvation. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose your no start problem.

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