Q: My car won't start. Went to lunch came back out and When I crank it nothing happens.

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My car won't crank. Thought it was the battery but my lights and everything come on. Car has been driving fine no problem starting my car. Today it won't crank. When I turn the key it doesn't do nothing the lights on the dash come on but it doesn't turnover. How do I know if it's the alternator or if it's the starter?

My car has 172540 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

It sounds like what you are describing may be related to a faulty starter relay. The starter relay directs power from the battery to the starter solenoid which then engages the starter when you turn the key. When this is not working properly, you may notice intermittent starting problems including no response when turning the key to start. Generally, when this does fail, it does so very randomly and usually without warning other than intermittent starting. The power from the battery will still power other accessories such as radio, horn, etc., but you may not have any power to the starter.

A faulty starter solenoid will generally produce a clicking sound when turning the key. The starter solenoid is located on the starter and has internal electrical contacts that transmit electricity to the starter. As electricity is supplied to the starter a small gear comes out and engages the flywheel to spin the engine over as you turn the key. When this fails, it may cause a clicking sound and will not allow the starter to engage the flywheel when you turn the key. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your vehicle.

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