Q: My car was working fine yesterday, and now it won't start.

asked by on October 01, 2016

Yesterday my wife vacuumed our 2010 Mazda 6 using a handheld vacuum that plugged into the cigarette lighter/power source that is built into the car. She at one point had started the engine in order to back the car out of the garage and she said it started up fine -- no issues. Last night I went to drive the Mazda and it will not start. It tries, but it will the engine will not start. I did notice a slight smell of gas as I tried a few times to fire it up and this caused me to think the engine was flooded, and I tried pressing the gas pedal to the floor as I turned it on to nip avail. Next I suspected a dead battery but I hesitated at this thought because the interior lights and headlights seemed to be functioning at their normal capacity. I then tried jumping the car battery using our 2001 Toyota Camry solara, again with no changes in sound or noticeable effort on part of the engine. Any ideas as to the likely culprit would be appreciated. Thanks so much.

My car has 55000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

Check Engine Light is on Inspection $79.99 - $99.99 Get a Quote

Hi there, thanks for writing in. There is a possibility that the vacuum may have drawn too much power from the accessory plug causing a short, although this is unlikely. You should have a check engine light on which would have registered some kind of fault codes in the car’s computer. The smell of fuel would be normal if it were cranked several times without starting. This also indicates that there should not be a fuel supply issue, which leaves the issue of spark or ignition, which could be many possibilities. I would recommend having an expert from Your Mechanic come to your home to diagnose and repair the issue by using a scan tool to download the trouble codes from the car’s computer.

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

Heater not working properly, has oil leak.

It sounds like the problem could be with the blower motor resistor. If you only have one speed that the motor works on or the blower motor stops working all together you may need to have this replaced. A technician...

Vehicle stability control warning lights on

VSC stands for vehicle stability control system, it uses the wheel speed sensors along with the brake system to safety control, slow, or stop vehicle. This is done by it's ability to read the speed of each wheel and modulating...

Door lock not working

If none of the locks work manually, you're using the wrong key, or somehow the key has been damaged. A key from one Honda vehicle will easily slip into the lock cylinder of another, but then won't unlock the door....

oil pan threads are damaged

I would use a fluid extractor to drain the fluid out through the dip stick hole and then replace the oil filter and refill the oil. By doing it this way you can change the oil without removing the oil...

Low idle, lots of smoke from the exhaust, feels like no power. Mechanic looked at it and said to change my oil grade?

Hi there. From the description you have provided, there is a combination of things happening with your vehicle. If the exhaust smoke is oil smoke, increasing the oil viscosity could help reduce the oil consumption. It could be, the piston...

My car has an electrical failure due to rain leaking inside, what do I need to repair?

This could end up being a costly repair unless the pigtail replacements for the wiring harness are available. First, the water intrusion has to be repaired. The water has to have been leaking inside the vehicle for some time or...

car is overheating and leaking water and anti freeze

Coolant leaks can occur because of cracked hoses, leaking gaskets, faulty water pumps, or damaged radiators. When the coolant level goes low, the engine will start to overheat due to the low coolant level. I would first recommend giving the...

VW Polo overheats on the highway

Intermittent overheating problems can be very frustrating. But it sound like you've already covered half the bases. Usually overheating problems can be attributed to low coolant, thermostats, or radiators. At other times there may be problems with head gasket leakage...

White smoke ticking not overheating

If you have white smoke out of the exhaust and are not getting low on coolant then you may have a cylinder that is low on compression or not firing. Have the misfiring cylinder compression checked on that side of...

Related articles

Can a Bad Sensor Prevent a Car From Starting?
If your car isn't starting or has a hard time starting, a faulty sensor may be to blame. Car sensors monitor data to keep your car running smoothly.
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2009 Mazda Tribute Hybrid
2009 2009 marked the end of the very short life of the Mazda Tribute Hybrid. All told, the automaker produced fewer than 700 models, and it was ultimately retired well before the Tribute itself ceased production in 2011. For the...
The Most and Least Expensive Cars to Maintain
Luxury cars, such as BMWs, are the most expensive and Toyotas are the most cost efficient. Driving style also affects car maintenance costs.