Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: What do I do if the engine won’t start?

asked by on

What do I do if the engine won’t start?

When you turn the key in the ignition (or press the start button with a smart key system), the engine should crank and allow you to drive. However, there may be conditions that prevent the engine from cranking in the first place. Here are a few important troubleshooting steps to follow if you find that your engine won’t start:

  • Check the fuel level. If the tank is empty, fill it (you’ll need to use a portable gas can).

  • You may have flooded the engine. Wait 15 minutes or so and try to crank the engine again.

  • The immobilizer system may be malfunctioning. Check the Immobilizer light in the dash. If it is flashing quickly, then there’s a problem with the system (the key is not programmed, for example).

  • You may not have the smart key in the car (if you have the smart key system).

  • The smart key may be too far from the receiver. Make sure the smart key is in your pocket in the front seat.

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!

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: Engine swap details needed. I need to know if the swap will fit.

Hi there. When it comes to swapping engines for your vehicle, what you can do is check all of the engine mounts and transmission mounts and make sure that they will work. If the mounts are a little off but...

Q: Brake light just came on in dashboard 2012 Audi Q5

Hello - as you have already noted, this warning tells you that your brake pads need replacement. It is intended to warn you to replace the pads before the rotors are damaged. Best guidance is to go ahead and have...

Q: Low engine pressure.

Your Volkswagen Passat is one of my favorite cars because it is turbo charged! Because it has this power booster, your turbo charged engine is a bit more finicky when it comes to running properly. It will need positive pressure...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...