Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: The engine will not turn over, and the issue seems to be electrical.

asked by on

Recently, the electrical components on the dash lit up like normal, but once I turned the key to start the engine, everything electrical had died. Upon taking the key out and attempting to start it again, no electrical components lit up (as if there was no battery connected). I have replaced the solenoid to the starter, the ignition switch, removed and recharged the battery (an AutoCraft Gold which I bought back in February when I originally had this issue). After replacing these parts, and having the same issue of electrical components starting, but being killed when trying to turn over the engine, I walked away for about half an hour, and came back to a burning smell. I entered my car, (and with NO key in the ignition) a repeating clicking sound came from behind the dashboard or steering wheel (it was hard to precisely pinpoint). It seemed it was trying to start on its own, possibly due to short circuiting. I have checked fuses and found no issues, where do I look next?

My car has 150000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

Hello. From what you describe it sounds like one of your vehicle’s relays may have failed. If the vehicle is no longer starting it may be possible that one of the relays associated with the starting system has gone out and needs to be replaced. Relays are electrical components that act as switches for the electrical system. They are often times located in the vehicle’s fuse panels, and beneath the dash. It is not uncommon for relays to burn out or shirt circuit and require replacement. If the smell and noises appear to be coming from underneath the dash I would check for possibly faulty relays their first. Similar symptoms can also be caused by faulty wiring or connectors. I would recommend having a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, come to your location to diagnose the no start condition and electrical issues.

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!
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. The engine will not turn over, and the issue seems to be electrical.

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: I was driving in traffic and my car cut off in the middle of road my inside lights will come on and window whipster comes on.

Hi there. For your engine not starting and cutting off, check the battery and see if it has lost a charge. Then check the warning lights to see what is coming on that could cause the engine to stall. The...

Q: driving the car lost ALL electric and eng just shut off. RPM right to zero.

Hi there. It sounds like you definitely have a short somewhere in the electrical circuit. Is there a burnt smell from the engine compartment? This could be a sign of a short circuit that has melted a wire/harness or component....

Q: Van starts but stalls very quickly

Hi there. Check the fuel pump relay and see if it's clicking when the key is turned to the 'ON' position. If the relay is not clicking, then remove the relay and check for power to the relay base on...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
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...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...