Posts Tagged ‘starter’


Engine Turns Over, But Won’t Start


My husband and I have got an old van.  Most of the time, the engine will turn over without starting.  If I keep the key turned for 10 seconds or so, it will stop turning over and all the lights will go off on the dash.  When I turn off the key and try again, it usually starts.  What could be happening?

-Dana R., WA


It seems like you might be having a couple problems.  One problem is that the engine doesn’t seem to be starting even after several seconds.  This could be caused by poor compression, a misfire, or a problem with the fuel system.  The most important problem however seems to be that your power system is shutting down.  It seems like the vibration caused by starting the engine, or the power draw from using the starter is causing wiring to your battery to fail.  I would check through all your battery connections to make sure the wiring isn’t failing before trying to diagnose the prolonged starting issue.

- 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


Is My Engine Seized?


My car overheated recently and now it won’t start.  A mechanic told me without even looking at it that the engine probably seized up and the car is totaled.  How can I tell if it has seized?

- Ethan S., OR


If the car overheated badly, it is possible that the engine is seized.  One easy way to tell is to use a socket wrench on the crankshaft and try to turn the engine over by hand.  Don’t worry if the wrench is difficult to turn at times, that’s just compression at work.  If you can’t turn the crankshaft over at all, then you probably are looking at a seized engine.

If the engine is still functional, your starter may have blown from the excessive heat, or there might be an electrical problem at work.

- Ken the Car Guy