Posts Tagged ‘start’


Glow Plug Warning Light


With my diesel, the glow plug warning light has been going on for a few months now, but the engine would still start.  Now the engine is having a really hard time starting.  Is it possible all of my glowplugs failed?

-Mel D., FL


While it’s unlikely that all of your glowplugs failed, it sounds like one or more of them have.  I would guess that the glow plug warning light started coming on after one glow plug failed, and that others have gone out since then, making it harder to start your engine.

To test, you’ll have to remove each glow plug and test it to see if it lights.  To do this, you can remove the plug, and jump it with battery cables.  Touch the ground cable to the base of the plug, and the red cable to the tip of the glow plug.  You’ll be able to tell if it’s working.

Changing the offending glow plugs should solve your problem.

- Ken the Car Guy


Why Won’t My Car Do Anything?


My car literally won’t do anything.  No lights come on, and the car won’t even try to start.  Is it just totally dead?  What can I do?

-Shannon G., DE


This problem might not be as bad as you think.  From what you’ve described, it seems like your battery is either dead or disconnected.  If this was a sudden problem, your battery was most likely disconnected somehow.

I would open up the hood and check all of the battery terminal connections.  If they look alright, use a multimeter to test the voltage across the terminals.  You should get somewhere around 12 Volts.  If the voltage looks good, then I would suspect poor wiring somewhere in the system.  Try to follow the wires back and look for anything suspicious.  If the voltage is bad, you’ve probably just drained your battery.  A new one should solve the problem.

- Ken the Car Guy


Why Won’t My Car Start?


Occasionally my car just won’t start.  Nothing will happen when I turn the key.  Sometimes it starts up like a charm though.  If I hook up jumper cables to my wife’s car, it starts up every time, so I tried a new battery, but it still won’t work properly.  What should I try next?

-Jeff M., TN


There are a couple of things I would try.  My first guess is that you’ve got a bad connection going on between the battery and the starter.  Try hooking up a multimeter and checking the voltage, and be sure to wiggle the cables around to see if something is off.

If everything checks out fine there, I would suspect a bad solenoid on your starter.  When they start going bad, solenoids will slowly degrade, working only occasionally.

- Ken the Car Guy


What Should I Do Before Starting An Unused Car?


I just bought a car that has been garaged for several years and want to make sure I don’t damage anything when I try to start it for the first time.  What should I do to improve the chances of a clean start?

- Derek C., FL


Your first step should be to replace all the fluids in the car.  Over time, condensation in the gas tank can lead to water buildup which can damage the engine.  After draining and replacing the gas, you should give it a good oil change and top off the radiator.

Another good thing to do is to spray some oil to the cylinders.  Simply remove the spark plugs and shoot a burst of penetrating oil inside.

Before actually trying to start the car, use a socket wrench to turn over the crank shaft by hand a few times.  This should distribute the oil in the cylinders and also tell you if the engine has seized.

With all these steps complete, you can try to start the engine normally.  If it does fire up, keep your eyes on the gauges for a few minutes to make sure everything is running smoothly.

And don’t forget to cross your fingers!

- Ken the Car Guy


Screeching Noise At Startup


Every time I start my car after it has sat for a while, it makes an annoying screeching sound for a minute or more before dying down.  I’ve heard this may be caused by a belt, but I’ve looked under the hood and everything seems to be fine.  What else could be causing this?

- Barney O., CA

Barney, your first guess was right, it’s almost certainly a belt issue.  This annoyance is very common in older cars, and is usually caused by ageing rubber.  As the belt gets older it hardens, which leads to slipping until the rubber warms up and starts gripping the pulley.

Luckily, this is a cheap and easy fix.  Belts only cost a few dollars and are relatively easy to replace yourself.  If you’re not mechanically inclined, an auto shop can put a new belt on for a minimal fee.

Hope this quiets things down for you!

- Ken the Car Guy