Q: Cranks but won't start.

asked by on November 12, 2016

Cranks but won't start, especially in cool or damp weather. Just replaced the alternator, tensioner and belt and did not fix problem. Mechanic said MAF sensor was dirty, so he cleaned it and problem persists. Occasionally it will start right up, but usually only when weather is warm or vehicle has been used recently. A day or two of inactivity will almost guarantee that it won't start. My next thought was to replace the MAF sensor. What do you think, thanks for your time.

My car has 205000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Mass Airflow Sensor Replacement $173.36 - $767.03 Get a Quote

This may be a sign of a dirty or failing mass air flow sensor. The mass air flow sensor is a unit in the intake system that monitors air intake as it is mixed with fuel prior to being injected into the motor. When this fails, this can cause an imbalanced air/fuel load to be supplied to the motor which results in an over fueling or under fueling situation depending on the conditions. This may cause a hesitation, loss of power or jerking reaction when this sensor is malfunctioning. When this is not working properly, you may also notice a strong smell of fuel. Depending on the make and model of the vehicle and the type of ignition system it uses, this type of symptom can also occur when there is moisture inside the distributor cap causing a misfire as you try to accelerate. I would suggest having a professional from YourMechanic come to your home to diagnose your mass air flow sensor.

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

I recently bought a 2016 Chrysler 200 and I just got a tune up. Everytime I stop my car,it jerks BAD!

If the jerking is occurring as you are slowing, but not yet fully stopped, it might be due to abrupt shifting in the transmission. However, if the jerking occurs after you are totally stopped, the fault is usually caused by...

both back doors wont open

Hello, thank you for writing in. Due to the fact both doors are having this issue suddenly, it is likely an electrical issue. The doors are likely locked, either due to the child-safety lock or the standard lock you have...

Van wont strat after sitting overnight. What could be the problem?

Obviously, there is a fault in either the ignition system, the fuel system, or in the air induction system. If you are truly detecting the odor of gasoline, you might try holding the accelerator pedal firmly to the floor while...

Cranking noises when I am turning on my car.

The problem may be the replacement starter itself or the transmission flex plate the starter drives to start the engine. If there was damage to the gear on the old starter, some of that damage may have transferred to the...

Squaling noise

In most cases, the squealing noise from under the hood is caused by worn out or damaged belts, including the serpentine belt, AC belt or power steering drive belt. If your 2005 Altima has more than 50,000 miles, it may...

Transmission making clunking and banging noises - 2005 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 V8 Automatic

Check for problem codes - you mention that the Check Engine Light is on. This could be the torque convertor clutch not releasing as you slow down, or not locking up smoothly when you reach 40-50 mph accelerating. And yes,...

Whining when off clutch and tapping from engine when cold

Hello. The whining noise you are hearing is typically from the pilot bearing located at the rear of the crankshaft. It can be an internal transmission issue but that is not as common. I typically check and even change the...

Car starts, but makes clicking noise

Sounds like your car is in need of some attention. If the clicking sound is mainly when you turn the wheel it might be your cv joint. CV joints are what connect your tire to the transmission. The joint itself...

Surges of power on downhill

The issue you are having sound like either the throttle is not returning to a closed position or your transmission went into overdrive lock up when you let off of the accelerator pedal. Contact YourMechanic to go through a thorough...

Related articles

How Long Does an Oil Temperature Sensor Last?
Oil Oil is vital for engine operation – you can’t drive without it. Trying to run your car’s engine without oil would result in catastrophic damage. However, it’s just as important that the engine oil is monitored at all times....
The Best Used Cars to Buy If You're Towing a Boat
If If you’re towing a boat, the vehicle that you buy is largely going to depend on the size and weight of your boat plus trailer. Most cars, realistically, aren’t cut out for the job. We recommend a pickup truck...
The Best Used Cars to Buy If You’re an Athletic Coach
If If you are an athletic coach, you need a used vehicle with tons of room to transport gear. Once in awhile, you may have to take a player or two along with you as well. What this means is...