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Generally, when you turn the key to “run” position, the engine cranks (turns over), and starts running. You’re then free to put the transmission in gear and drive. If your car won’t turn over, it means you’re stranded wherever you were when it broke down. There are several potential causes for this problem as well.
Any situation in which your car won’t turn over involves your ignition system. There’s a problem somewhere in there, but quite a few components play a significant role, so there will have to be some narrowing down of the options to determine what’s causing the problem.
When you turn the key in your ignition, several things happen. First, the battery sends voltage to the starter, the spark plugs and the main relay. The starter is what’s responsible for turning the engine over initially. The spark plugs create the spark needed to ignite gasoline vapor. The main relay turns on the fuel pump, which sends gasoline from the tank to the engine.
If there’s a problem with any one of these components, then your car may not turn over. Depending on the problem, you may hear nothing but a clicking noise when you turn the key, or you may hear the engine trying to turn over, but not quite managing it.
Dead Battery: The single most common reason for a no start condition is a dead battery. If the battery is dead, then no voltage can be sent to the other components, including the starter. The battery may have a bad cell, or there could be a parasitic drain that’s causing the issue.
Failed Starter: While rarer than a dead battery, starters can and do fail. They’re considered a high-wear component, and you’ll eventually need to replace yours. The most common issue with starters is the solenoid, but it can also be a problem with the Bendix or even the wiring.
Bad Alternator: If the alternator isn’t charging the battery, then supplying the electricity needed to run your engine and accessories will drain the battery’s charge. The engine might stall out while you’re driving, or it might not crank the next time you get in.
Failed Main Relay: It’s entirely possible that your battery, starter and alternator are fine, and the problem is actually a failed main relay. If this happens, the fuel pump will not kick on when you turn the ignition to “run”.
One of our highly trained mechanics will come to your home or office to inspect your ignition system, including the battery, starter, alternator, main relay and other components. The mechanic will then provide a detailed inspection report that includes the scope and cost of the necessary repairs.
The mechanic will first inspect the battery, and then move on to testing other components in the system, including the alternator, the starter and the main relay. It may be necessary to charge or replace the battery before further diagnostics can be completed.
If your car won’t turn over, you’re dead in the water. It’s a tough place to be, particularly if you weren’t at home when the problem happened. The most important defense against this condition is to have your charging system regularly inspected. This will test the battery, starter and alternator, and alert you to potential problems before they become serious issues. One of our professional mechanics can inspect your car and repair your no start problem.