Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Why won't my van crank?

asked by on

The engine will not turn over or make any sounds at all. There is power to the vehicle (door, Windows, light, radio & a/c) but it will not crank up. We even tried jumping off the battery and it makes no sounds at all, no clicking or trying to turn over. What should we check. We are stranded on vacation right now

My car has 170000 miles.

A: Look at your dash when you turn on the key ...

Look at your dash when you turn on the key to see if the theft light is on. If it is, then you have a problem where the theft system is not deactivating. Try to get out and lock all the doors and wait 10 minutes and then reopen the doors and see if it will start. If it still has theft light on, then you will need to take the vehicle to a dealer to get the system to work again. You could try disconnecting the battery for 10 minutes and then reconnect it to see if this works. Your radio code will need to be entered to get it back on again. If you’re still unable to get the car to crank you will need to have the dealer fix the theft system.

If you do not have a theft light that’s on then try turning on the ignition and move the shifter through all of the gears and then back to neutral. Afterwards, try to crank it, go to park, and try again. If still no crank then check the start relay under the dash relay box. It should be clicking when you turn key to start. If it doesn’t then tap on the relay and starter to see if it cranks. If you’re unable to get the vehicle going at this point you could try to contact a mobile technician from YourMechanic to come diagnose your starting issue. You may be in a serviceable area. Otherwise you’ll have to get the car to a dealer.

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

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 coolant temperature guage at the red mark and no heat inside

Hi there: Overheating problems can be caused by multiple component failures ranging from a heater core that is clogged (as the mechanic suggested), a bad thermostat or coolant leaks and water pump failure. However, one item often overlooked is the...

Q: Brake rubbing rim 2006 BMW 325i

Hello - the basic issue is "something changed". You don't indicate what was serviced with this repair (brake pads, new brake calipers, tire rotation, wheel swap, wheel space left out, etc.), but whatever the case, something is different. A wheel...

Q: Car won't start and clicks when the key is turned

Hello - you may have already diagnosed the problem yourself - well done! By that I refer to your comment that if you jiggle or bang on the shifter, it sometimes makes the difference in starting or not. The neutral...

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 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...
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...