Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Why does my engine turn over 5 - 6 times before starting?

asked by on

Hot or cold engine, it will RANDOMLY turn over 5 to 6 times before starting; mileage 260k, over the past 2 months gas mileage has dropped from 33 MPG to 29 MPG's. The hard to start symptoms began 2 days ago. Car has a new battery; Batt terminal ends are not corroded; I run ONLY quality fuel; air filter in decent shape; I added a bottle of Chevron Techron prior to adding gas fill up Saturday evening and Tuesday morning, the car spins over few times before starting; there is no change in loss of acceleration or rough idling

A number of things can cause this but it sounds like the fuel pump check valve may be at fault. When you shut the car down, the check valve keeps pressure up in the fuel system. If it’s faulty or stuck, then when you shut the car down, fuel may be bleeding back to the tank via the return line.

The next time you start the car, turn the key to the ON position and wait a moment. You should hear the fuel pump priming the system but it should only run for a moment or two. Try turning the key off and on a couple of times prior to starting the car. If it starts right up after doing that, the check valve is at fault. Most will require replacing the fuel pump as it is internal. If you need help having this checked, a professional from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to diagnose the hard start and let verify what should be done.

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: Will a custom 2.5in. exhaust piping trigger the CEL?

It would be difficult to give you a definitive yes or no answer. Some vehicles can be sensitive to changes. If something like exhaust flow is outside the engine control unit programming parameters, it can set a fault code. It's...

Q: Starting issue

Hello, thank you for writing in. With the new starter in place, make sure all of the connections are secure. The vehicle may also be having a battery problem. This may be due to a failing battery, or a poor...

Q: Battery light on

It sounds like you may have a weak battery, a failing voltage regulator or failing alternator. As you may know, the alternator charges the battery while the engine runs by generating amperage and recharging the battery while the engine turns...

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...