Car Starting Problems

Some of the common car starting problems stem from a discharged battery, a bad fuel pump (or no fuel), a weakened starter motor, or a broken electrical connection. Checking each part will help troubleshoot why the car won’t start.

10,318 Questions
Car Computers and Sensors
Car Starting Problems
Starters and Ignition Systems
Ford F-150

How do you test an ignition coil?

How to test an ignition coil

This testing procedure is valid for just about any automotive coil. Using an ohmmeter, check the resistance between the side terminals of the coil. Do this with all of the wires to the coil disconnected.

You should see 0.75 to 0.81 ohm of resistance. Then check the resistance between either side terminal and the center high tension terminal. The reading should be 10,000 to 11,000 ohms. Any significant deviation from these numbers would indicate that the coil could be defective.


You can also rest an ignition coil by using a volt meter.There should be a little over 12 volts pulse, or a dip and peak in the meter needle, rather than a steady 12 volts, at the output, while cranking the engine.


Be careful about these answers. My voltmeter has a 9 volt battery installed. An ignition coil can produce 20 kV - that is twenty thousand volts! - at 100 mW, now that would bother me a bit.

So now, how can we check this coil safely? Well, start by shorting the output (the high tension terminal) and check the primary winding for continuity. On a normal meter 0.75 ohms might be very hard to read but, if you use a 1.5 flashlight bulb and battery in series with it, if the bulb lights, the primary winding is probably ok. (Unless its insulation has got fried by a fault called a "shorted turn", in which case the flashlight bulb will still light up but the ignition coil still won't work...)

The secondary, high tension, winding of the coil can be checked by shorting it with a high resistance load having a tap to form a 1000:1 split ratio, so you can use your meter to check for an output voltage of around 20 volts when a small 1.25 volt battery is connected and disconnected to the primary.

The actual output voltage should let you work out the turns ratio between primary and secondary of the coil. maybe Note: to see the output voltage for a longer time, add a diode and capacitor onto voltage divider tap.
I need to know how to check a coil on a Honda accord 94

Car Starting Problems
Starters and Ignition Systems
Car Stalling Problems

Which fuse protects the starter motor?

Don't know

Car Starting Problems
Car Fuses and Wiring

How do you find out what the fuse configuration is on the fuse block on a Ford Windstar?


There are 2 fuse boxes / fuse panels in nearly every Ford product: one directly above the driver's left foot (when the driver is actually sitting in the driver's seat). The other is inside the engine compartment, on the right side - contains high current fuses.

There is extensive coverage of fuses and the circuits each one protects Owners Manual.

See "Related Questions" below for sources of free online Owners Manuals for 1996+ Ford & Mercury products.

Checking & Changing A Fuse

Inside the fusebox cover is a small white plastic tool for pulling fuses out.

Inspect the center section of the fuse to determine if it has 'blown' - it will be obvious if the metal strip has melted.

Insert a replacement fuse of the same color / amperage protection by simply pressing it into the fuse-slot.

Checking a fuse

Generally, if a fuse is 'blown' you can tell by looking at the fuse. Look at the wire looking thing in the top on the fuse. It'll look kind of broken or burned or just otherwise messed up. If you're not sure what a good fuse looks like, go to an auto store and look at a new fuse. Then look at your fuses and compare appearances.

Getting the engine compartment Power Distribution box cover off

There are actually two separate covers. One is for the circuit breakers and one for the fuses. There's a tab in the center that you squeeze together and it pops off. In the cover you'll find spare fuses and a puller. If you still need to get the breaker cover off, there's a tab on the corner marked "lift". With the other cover removed, you can then unsnap the tab and wiggle it out.


Go to the dealer service dept and ask them to photocopy the diagram out of their service manual for you. They should do this for you with no problem.


If you want an owners manual try MOTORLIT.COM.


Under the dash just to the left of the steering column.

Underneath the drivers side kick-board / panel underneath the steering column.

One fuse box is located under the hood by the battery. Another is under the left side of the dash. Carl

Not real sure for this model but I think there is a fuse box by the battery under the hood and another one under the left side of the dash. Carl

power fuses are next to battery in a black looking contaner there is a lid that has to be removed. the regular fuses are located underneaath the dashboard on the drivers side above your left foot... if you are sitting in the van

there are two fuse boxes, one is in the engine compartmente near de battery, the other one is under de driver side near the steering column.

It depends on the fuse. Most of the fuses in use today are small plug-in plastic devices. Simply grab them with needle nose pliers or a fusepuller and pull them straight out. They are color coded as to ampacity. There are two fuse blocks in the Windstar. One is in the engine room by the battery. The other is under the left side of the dash. Enjoy.... Carl

you can go to and you can buy a subscription for a year just for 25 bucks plus they have a lot information about your car, works pretty good for me.


I think I seen it on this sight

you have to look around. there are a lot of pages.

Click on the link below Click on Owner Guides The owners manual ( which includes the fuse box diagram ) can be viewed on-line The interior fuse panel is located under the dash panel on the left side wall near the driver side of the vehicle. it is enclosed with a black plastic cover. The power distribution unit fuse panel is a black plastic box located in the engine area near the battery, the battery should be disconnected before replacing fuses in the power distribution unit according to the owner's manual. The fuse box is located on the drivers side about half way up from the floor, it is mounted on the side and is made of black plastic roughly 4 inches wide and 6 inches high. The cover just snaps on and off.

Click on the "Ford Website" link below

Click on Owner Guides

The owners manual ( which includes the fuse panel diagram ) can be viewed on-line

It can be found under the left side of the dash.

The simplest answer is: there are fusebox diagrams in your Owners Manual.

You can even download a free copy of any 1996 or newer Ford product Owners Manual.

See "Related Questions" below for the links

If you don't want to use the Owners Manual, offers a free Repair Guide - and that also has illustrated fuse panel information.
Car Starting Problems
Check Engine Light

How many miles to reset check engine light?

It is driving cycles not miles. It varies from manufacture to manufacture.

Car Starting Problems

Why would a car stop running while driving?

Here is some advice from contributors:

  • Sometimes your car will just plain stop running if you have a faulty coil wire. I had this problem before where it didn't matter what time of day or the weather, it turned out to be a coil wire.
  • I have an automatic '94 Nissan Sentra that would stop at the strangest of times (while it was being driven) at least once or twice a week. It would drive me crazy. I would take a turn at a light, and right in the middle of the turn, the *car's power would go out and stop. The only thing that would work was the brakes (thank God!). And then I had to quickly start it up again and pray that it would get me home. This was especially embarrassing when I had a date in the car. Does this sound familiar? Well, I found out it was an electrical problem, as well as a fuel pump that needed to be replaced. Cost me a good $300 to fix. That was about 2 years ago so I'm sure prices haven't changed much.
  • My car used to just stop in the middle of the road, and then could restart no problems. It turned out to be that the alarm was old & faulty & the alarm was connected to an immobilizer which was a bit over-zealous - hence immobilizing in the middle of the road. The solution was simply to remove the alarm (the whole thing had to be removed though, it wasn't good enough just to turn it off).
  • Because the gasket plate (insulator) is worn out, this happened to my 1984 Honda Accord. .
  • I have a 96 dodge caravan and it would do some of the same things. Sometimes it would not start in the morning wait a few min. and then it would start, sometimes it would just cut out while driving. The solution after all the relays were changed was a new computer. It was covered under a Chrysler 8 year warranty. lucky me as it saved me $1000.
  • I had my 92 Oldsmobile fixed it turned out to be torque converter needed to be replaced now the car works.
  • if your alternator goes, no more power the engine will stop...
  • This is a problem with a lot of vehicles that is overlooked for this reason: when a mechanic will hook up their computer and download the codes from the car's computer, the codes will generally tell you the problem the car or truck is having, if the car or truck kicked a code to the computer. Then the car or truck will run through a diagnostic system check and when the system check comes back fine and there are no problems then what?
  • Sometimes the problem can not be found by the computer and the reason is that when the car or truck runs it's system check, everything checks out fine! How can this be when the vehicle just stops running and then starts running after you pull to the side of the road and shut it down for a couple of minutes?The answer is simple.The ignition relay acts like a breaker in a house; when you have a relay that is weak, you will get this problem. But the computer will test it as good because it still is good.It's just weak, making it trip.The reason it will start again is because the relay will automatically reset itself after the relay cools and you are off and running again.To explain the type of reaction your car or truck would experience if this were to happen is as follows:The car or truck will just plain die! no warning!IT WILL NOT spit and sputter like it is running out of gas. Now, a module for the distributor will act the same way, but the difference is that the car or truck will not continue to start after a period of time.My suggestion is a cheap way to fiqure this out: purchase a continuity tester at any local hardware store (they are only a couple of dollars) and check the leads coming from the distributer mod. If it is good, it will light up the continuity tester. If it is bad, it won't. This only works if the car will not run at all because the mod will check good if it is weak as well as the ignition relay.Another way to fiqure this out is to go to a local junk yard and pick up a distributer mod and a ignition relay and it will cost you maybe the better part of $10.00 and you may be worry free as long as you own the car with the used part.But if you feel uncomfortable putting used parts into the ingnition system, then replace one or the other but not both and see which one works and then buy new.
  • Check your computer for trouble codes.Any problem will be stored in the computer,even if it is intermittent.
  • Usually it is some type of fuel pick up problem, or fuel filter. It is possible the engine was slightly flooded, causing it to loose power. This all happened to me when i had an 1987 Corvette. One day i was driving, then it just stalled when i was on a local road. Thank god not on a freeway, cause when it stalled, the steering became locked up. But i did what the manual told me to do, if the engine has became flooded, push the accelerator to the floor and crank the engine. And that go me going again, and strait to the mechanics. It was all in fuel pick up and i need a new fuel filter.
  • Just replace the distributor cap and roter. I had same problem in my Honda accord 98.
  • My car stopped all of the sudden while driving. When I tried to start it, it started but within seconds the engine would turn off. So my car had to be towed. The problem happened to be the ignition switch which eventually had to be replaced with a new one. It cost me about $600.
  • I had a 1990 Honda civic that would not start when the ambient temperature got high. I diagnose it and found that the base of the fuel pump relay situated just behind the dash had a poor solder connection.I re-soldered the connection and it was the end of my problem. Just thought you could possibly have the same problem.
  • Most common problem I have found is the idle control value (aka. idle stepper motor). It sets the idle for the engine control computer. It bypasses the throttle plate. They get gummed up, I believe from PCV fumes.This has caused intermittent low idle/dying and start-up problems. The gum prevents it from responding fast enough. My Porsche had low cold idle. My Tahoe required tap on accelerator to start (usually flick of key). My Range Rover intermittent dying & inconsistent low idle. All idle control valve. FIX: Remove it and clean the spring/plunger with Carb cleaner. Also take cotton swab and clean seating area with cleaner. Sometimes replacement is necessary, mine have ranged from about $45 to $125 depending on vehicle and source.
  • I had a Vauxhall Carlton 2.0i which would stop for no apparent reason. It was driving me mad. Just couldn't find the cause. In desperation, took it to the main dealer. He put in new plug leads, new distributor cap, new plugs, and 'tuned' it. It did exactly the same the next day. Back to the garage.In the end I found it myself. Locate your Fuel Injector Relay in your fuse and relay box. When your car stops, pull this relay out, and tap it sharply. Re-insert it, and if the car starts again, that's your problem. Apparently the inside circuit board breaks down, and a new relay is the only answer. Intermittent faults like this are a total pain. In fairness the dealer gave me a full refund for the work that they had done. someone else.

For more information please refer to the related link.

Car Starting Problems
Oldsmobile Intrigue

How much damage putting wrong antifreeze in engine?

It depends.

If your car uses the special long-life coolant dex-cool (orange) no immediate damage with normal 50 water 50 antifreeze. However, according to GM for my Oldsmobile Intrigue doing this would reduce the suggested coolant maintenance point from 150,000 miles down to 30,000 miles.

If your car uses normal (green) anti-freeze and you were to use dex-cool it could permanently damage the vehicle since the particles not designed for the vehicle will always remain.

So what did the manufacturer suggest as optimal and what did you put? And what do you consider as damage? Introducing a hassle or complete breakage?

Cars & Vehicles
Car Starting Problems
Car Batteries

Can you use a stun gun to jump start your car?

Give the battery a shock, it should give your car a bit of a boost. MAKE SURE YOU DISCONNECT IT FIRST OR YOUR CAR MAY EXPLODE. (the shock may ignite the petrol).


Where on earth did you get a stun gun???

Absolutely no. A stun gun gives off a high voltage , very low current charge. Not enough to start a car. And the high discharge could destroy the electronic of the car just like a bolt of lightning.

Car Starting Problems
Car Batteries

My car won't start but the battery works?

So, you are saying the engine turns over but will not start? it takes 3 things for an engine to run. Fuel, Air, & Spark. You must determine which one of these you are missing. More than likely not air. So that leaves fuel & spark. Is the fuel pump running as soon as you turn on the ignition without starting the engine? It should run for a few seconds then shut down. If not, suspect the fuel pump fuse, relay, or the pump itself. Have you replaced the fuel filter in the last 36,000 miles? If not it may be clogged. Do you have fire at the spark plugs. It is a matter of elimination.

The battery is working, it is ok, you should check the starter and ignition.

Car Starting Problems

Is the left side of the car the driver's side?


Car Starting Problems
Car Stalling Problems
Car Heaters

Is it necessary to warm up your car in the morning?

It is necessary on cold, especial extremely cold days. REASON BEING: Is that it takes the oil to reach it's proper viscosity longer time than on warm days. When you do start car, don't race it or you'll be doing more damage. Let it stay at idle for about 3 - 5 minuets until you see the temperature gauge start to get to move to a hotter position, or better yet, until you have heat. Reason is that thick oil cannot easily flow though tiny holes in crankshaft, push rods not getting oil into small spacers in cylinder block, valve guides, rocker arms and oil control rings leaving a dry cylinder wall, which causing wear to cylinder bore. Sometimes in really cold places, they suggest using a lighter gauge oil.

I will give my answer which is in opposition the the above answer somewhat. In years past when cars had carburetors it was a necessity to warm the engine up before driving off because the engine simply would not run correctly until the carb got warm. Today it is a bad idea to let the car idle for more than a couple of minutes max before driving off. Reason being is that on todays modern engines with computer controlled fuel management systems it is not necessary and is in fact a waste of fuel and pollutes the atmosphere plus harms the converter. Modern fuel injection systems do not need to warm up to work properly as an old carburetor did. They work instantly and the ECU adjusts the fuel/air mixture to compensate. Modern oils of today are also a far cry from what they were decades ago. Modern Oil sticks to all parts better today than in the past. This is not the same formulation that we had decades ago. There is a thin layer of oil on all parts when you start the engine due to modern refinery processes, so you are not causing wear to that engine if you drive slowly until it reaches full operating temperatures. Modern vehicles will warm up very quickly if driven but not so fast if sitting at idle. You are also doing your catalytic converter no good by letting this very rich mixture of fuel/air enter a cold converter that does not work well when cold. Just drive away slowly, avoiding full throttle until the engine is warmed up. This is 2010 not 1955. Things have changed.I can see the above point of view. But there is still a disagreement on oil. yes there will be a very, very thin layer of oil on the cylinder walls, but even sythetic oil will settle downwards ,and on a 20 degree day will be sticky and wipe off in one piston stroke. it still ,in my opinion, takes a little bit of time for oil to thin out as it gets warm. Has enyone ever went to change oil on a 10 to 20 degree day. It barley comes out of the drain hole, unless you let it run for even a minute, can you picture this oil flowing through tiny openings. however, point is well made that idleing and driven slow for the same amount of time will do the same exact thing. Main point is ; don't reve the engine right away, or drive fast for a few miniutes. Note: in places like Alaska, they use a heating source overnight because the car may not even turn over or do it slowly, because the oil is so thick.

Ans 3 -The second answer is the correct one. Letting a modern engine idle for long periods is not good with modern oils being as 'clingy' as they are.

Cars & Vehicles
Car Starting Problems
Crankshaft Sensors

What do you do when your car will crank but not start?

Cranks but won't start:
In a situation like that I always tell people to go back to the basics: Spark, fuel and Compression. If you have all three, it should start. The spark has to be at the correct timing, but if the vehicle was running and suddenly stopped, there isn't much reason to believe that the timing changed. The fuel has to be delivered in an approximately correct quantity for the engine to run right but it should at least pop and attempt to start. So... Start with fuel. Using starting fluid, spray in the throat of the throttle body while a friend attempts to start the engine. If the engine runs while you're spraying, you probably have a fuel problem. Check the fuel line for pressure. If you don't have any it's probably the fuel pump. It's in the tank and you'll have to drop the tank in a suburban to get to the fuel pump. It isn't as bad as it sounds. Disconnect the battery first. Siphon out as much as you can get easily, disconnect the fuel fill pipe from the tank, using a floor jack, support the tank while you remove the straps. There are usually only two. Once the straps are disconnected, lower the tank and remove the fuel line and the wires to operate the fuel pump and fuel gague. You'll have to clean the top of the tank so that you don't get debris inside, then remove the screws and work the pump assembly out of the tank. On the other hand... if you have fuel pressure and the engine doesn't start when you use the starter fluid, you probably have a problem with ignition. Pull one spark plug wire, then using a spare plug from some other source, attach the wire to the spare plug and lay the plug on a metal part of the engine, then crank the engine and watch the plug. If you have spark it might be something else. If there is no spark, find out why. It could be the pickup coil, electronic ignition module, high voltage coil or even a bad rotor in the distributor. It's all a process of elimination. Remember the words of Sherlock Holms, "When all other possibilities have been eliminated..."

Could be flooded (especially if carbureted), you could have a wire disconnected if you've been messing around under the hood, or there could be humidity in the distributor.

A common fault is the Crank Position Sensor (CPS).
This is an induction coil mounted just above the crank pulley.
If the tachometer does not register at all during cranking, the CPS has probably failed.

Auto Parts and Repairs
Car Starting Problems
Fuel Pumps

My car wont start unless you push down gas pedal and when it starts RPM goes high and then the car suddenly dies I have a 2002 Nissan Sentra GXE Automatic Battery is good Any Help?

Try idle air control valve

Cars & Vehicles
Car Starting Problems

What happens when a car alternator goes bad?

You mean Alternator, right? You lose power to go! But brfore that you will start losing systems such as heater, lighting, then power to your coil. 20,000 Dcv to coil provides spark for combustion.

Car Starting Problems

How do you get started after running out of gas?


the best bet is not to run out of gas, turning the key to the on position turns the fuel pump on for about 3 seconds, then turn the key off, wait 5 seconds then turn it to the on position then continue to start the the vehicle. it should run normally with no problems.


This is assuming you drive a fuel injected vehicle. A carburetor needs to be primed by putting a small amount of gas in the carburetor and trying to start it. You may have to do this a few times until it will run on it's own.


It could flash back in your face and singe your eyebrows (don't ask me how I know). Or cause you to lose your eyesight, or worse yet, singe your lungs!

I also recommend to pull out your car's manual to see if it has special instructions about starting your car after you've ran out of gas. I remember when my cousin took his gf that he met on 'dream marriage' on a road trip, and he ran out of gas he didn't check that his car had a fuel injection reset button that he supposed to set.

As far as cars with carburetors never NEVER pour raw gasoline into them. The pressure from the fuel pump should be enough to get fuel to it. If gasoline is not getting to the carburetor then there is something else wrong. If you ran out of gas, the fuel filter is probably clogged because running the tank to empty will pick up a lot of crap that is on the bottom of the tank. Another way to get the car going, and gas thoughout the system (fuel injector systems), Is to spray carberator cleaner into the Air intake mainifold (throttle body).

Brakes and Tires
Fuel and Engines
Car Starting Problems

Why will a car turn over but not start?

Why a Car Would Turn Over But Not StartLay answer: in addition to the battery voltage to "turn the engine over"...ignition requires spark and gas. I'm having the same problem with our 86 Volvo. The mechanic says the spark plugs are providing the spark...but fuel isn't getting to the cyliders. It's probably a blown fuse to the fuel pump or a bad fuel pump...or more remotely a poor connection between the fuse and the fuse clips...or a leak in the fuel line. Our car has two fuel pumps and since our problem has been intermittant, like yours, and we've checked fuses and connections, we're betting it's one of the fuel pumps pooped out.

Here are more opinions and answers from other FAQ Farmers:

  • If I remember right I think compression is the 3rd element to an engine running. timing belt or timing chain? You need to eliminate each one(fuel,spark or compression)first and then continue narrowing down from there. I have seen dampness cause ignition wires to fail among a multitude of others. Have a real tech troubleshoot it, other wise your gonna replace good parts guessing.
  • It is one of three things. It isn't getting proper spark, proper fuel, or proper compression. Use the process of deduction and find out. If the engine turns over the starter isn't bad.
  • Well it depends on the car but it could be that you don't have spark, you could have a big vacuum leak, timing might be off. But don't flood your motor if your in a hurry!
  • There are several possibilities: lack of fuel, sprk or compression, these are possible Maintenence items among many other possiblities: spark plugs (worn), ignition wire (Worn), distributor cap (worn), distributor rotor (worn), fuel filter (too dirty), air filter (no air getting in) and timing belt (timing is off).
  • It is worthwile to check for spark from the coil before considering the distributor, spark plug wires or sparkplugs. Assuming that lack of spark is the problem.
  • Another thing it could be is that your car is flooded , requiring possibly 3 hours for plugs to dry.
  • I had a problem on a 1994 ranger that turned out to be a motion switch that had been tripped when the car was bumped. It caused the electric fuel pump not to turn on.
  • If the car is a Chrysler product and just cranks but won't fire, it could be the fusible link. On Ford and GM cars the car will not even crank if it is bad but on Chryslers it will just crank. I don't know about imports.
  • Other possible sources of fuel related problems are a collapsed fuel line(depending on how old the car is) or plugged filter. Before you drive yourself nuts trying to locate the fuel shut off that the fellow described on the's been my experience that is only on ford models(you don't say anything about your make or yr)in the trunk in cars. Good luck
  • Correction: It's primarily fuel, spark, and timing. Timing problem of course can lead to lack of compression. Clarification: The comment on the '94 Ranger is correct. Many Fords have what is called an "inertia switch" which will cut off the fuel pump. This is designed to benefit the occupants in the case of a severe accident. I don't believe any other domestic maker uses this, but some imports do such as Jaguar.
  • A GASOLINE internal combustion engine needs 3 things to function properly: 1) fuel, preferrably delivered at the right mixture, but generally if it's there and the other two components are met, the engine will at least run. 2) ignition, often referred to as a spark or fire, ignition timing must be within a couple degrees of factory settings otherwise the engine may not run at all. Ignition spark strength must also be high enough to be adequate for the air/fuel mixture to ignite, but generally it is an all or nothing situation in the newer, electronic ignition systems. 3) compression, if the compression is up, the cylinders, valves and camshaft are functioning adequately and the timing chain/belt/gear is timed properly. If all three of the above conditions are met, the engine will start when it is cranked. To find out why it won't start, you have to find out which of the above conditions isn't being met. Rather than approach the problem in a "shotgun" manner, it's best to be methodical in your approach. First, spray some starting fluid into the air intake while a friend tries to start the engine. If the engine runs briefly while you are spraying starting fluid, you have good reason to believe that the engine is not getting fuel... item 1 on the requirements. If the starting fluid didn't give you any clues, pull a sparkplug wire from the plug (any one will do) and connect it to a spare sparkplug. Set the sparkplug on a solid metal part of the engine and have your friend crank the engine again while you watch the sparkplug. You should see a bright spark if the ignition is working properly. And finally, if the above two tests didn't give you any information, run a compression test. Since all valves and all cylinders don't generally fail at the same time, you'll only be testing the timing of the camshaft, but that's pretty important. Mark the location of each sparkplug wire. I generally use a piece of masking tape with the cylinder number, then wrap the tape around the sparkplug wire, making a little flag or tab. This part is important, since you don't want to finish the job and wonder where the wires go. Next, pull the sparkplugs and carefully observe the condition of each plug. Look for oil fouling, wet plugs, WHITE plug insulators, worn plugs and damaged plugs. If the center insulator (the part that goes INSIDE the cylinder) is too white, it's an indication that the engine is running too lean and you could be causing damage to valves or pistons. If the plug is black and oily, it indicates that the cylinder is worn and oil is leaking past the rings or valve stem seals. If the sparkplug is wet with fuel, it's an indicator that the cylinder is FLOODED, meaning that somehow there is too much fuel being delivered, and a wet sparkplug cannot properly ignite the fuel in the cylinder. If the plugs all check out ok, use a compression gauge while your friend again tries to start the engine. Since there are no plugs in the cylinders, the engine won't start, but you're measuring the pressure that is built up in the cylinders. Generally, it should be around 90 PSI, but that number may be different for different engines. Generally, the number should be withing 5 to 10 PSI for each cylinder. A variance of more than 15 PSI indicates burned valves or worn rings. If ALL cylinders are low, (below 70 PSI) it's a good indication that the camshaft is no longer timed properly. That is caused by a slipped timing belt or timing chain.
  • THE 'KEY' COULD BE THE ANSWER. Well... some recent cars/vans have a immobilizer embedded. Such a car/van can only be started with an original key i.e. a key which comes with the cars and which has a electronic chip. So if you have recently cut a key from any roadside key-cutter and your car turns using this key but the engine fails to fire it could be the immobilising safety device in your car that's preventing it from starting. This is a good safety feature!

Another ting to try is removing the spark plugs (make sure you re- cord which wires go where) and pro vidind that the engine isn't flooded

spray some starting fluid(avalible at auto parts stores) in the hol where the spark plug was and put the spark plugs back in and try to start it if it begins to start but then shuts off

your problem is proboly fuel delivery, but if the engine is flooded take out the plugs and let it sitt for a while to dry out.

There is a little sprocket in your strarter looks like a cog with teeth on in, but the teeth can chip or break if the metal is cheap which in most cars now days it is. So the starter is turning but the missing teeth are not connecting to make a spark keep turning it samething happened to my Buick but i didnt gte is fixed rite away because if you keep cranking evetually the teeth will catch and ignite

a motor needs fuel/ spark / air / compression all at the correct time check sources of all from major parts to minor (id start with anything electrical) you should find the problem

- One other thing that could possibly have gone bad is the main relay, its a $50 part that gives the fuel pump power when the key is on, so bad relay, no power to pump, no gas, no start.

-you need, spark, compression and a proper fuel mixture for your car to start. Generally, the compression gives way over time, so it is the last thing you should suspect if this problem appeared overnight. First thing you should try is to turn the key to the "on" position (not the crank start position). You should hear an electronic hum coming from the fuel tank. If you don't hear the hum, check the fuel pump relay or fuse. If those are fine, the fuel pump is suspect. If you do hear the hum, your fuel pump is working fine. Check for fuel pressure in the fuel line. It should look like a valve like the one you might find on a bicycle tire. If fuel sprays out, your fuel pressure is fine, which means you can suspect the spark. The battery is not the culprit (it turned the starter remember). Check for spark as noted above. If you don't get spark, check spark from the coil. Depending on the model and technology of your car, you can then suspect the ignition control module (esp. if it was a hot day) , as well as the distributor and all its components like the rotor and distributor cap.

By the way, most, if not all new cars have an inertia trip switch. Mine is under the dash. .

Car Sounds
Car Starting Problems
Steering and Suspension
Power Steering

Why would the power steering make noise even after fluid has been added?

Power steering noiseWhen the fluid is low and you add some, it may still need more after you run it for awhile. The reason is that as the pump pumps the fluid through the lines, this also normally pushes any air out the lines. Keep filling and checking after you start the car and turn the wheel from side to side all the way.
  • The bigger question is why do you need to add fluid? After you locate and fix that leak, you can address the whine. If it is a Ford, it may be somewhat normal. Like Drazi said, "It may be air trapped in the line." Or the pump may be damaged from running it dry, or there is bilge in the line, starving the pump. Let's assume you have kept up on the maintenance and have flushed the fluid when it was dirty. Let's also assume that the pump is not damaged and you have found and fixed any leaks. Try this: pull the fluid out of the reservior and add one bottle of Lucas brand power steering additive, and top with power steering fluid. I have found this stuff pretty good at resolving many power steering problems. I'm not a big supporter of "Snake Oil", but have had good luck with it.
  • If it's a Ford, it's because they use plastic parts in their casings, though most other car companies do the same. If that's not the case, then your pump is receiving too much stress from turning. Try lubing up the chassis and changing the fluid completely. It wouldn't hurt to check your lines either. Sometimes blockage can cause too much stress on the pump too.
  • First thing is why are you adding fluid. If it has a leak, then I would address that problem first. A pump will not bleed air out of the system if it is leaking. If everything seems to be okay and your pump still whines, then replace the pump, preferably with a new one from the dealer. The so-called rebuilt pumps that you can buy from places like Autozone, O'Reilly, etc. are cheaply rebuilt, especially if it's a Ford. They don't bleed out air properly, resulting in improper pump pressures. A good pump will bleed out almost immediately, with the turn of the wheel a few times. If it doesn't, then your pump will more than likely never completely bleed out. Buy a new pump from the dealer--it costs more, but if you're like me and don't like the noise, then it's worth it.
  • You probably have air trapped in the power steering fluid system. Bleed the air out by revving the engine to about 1500-2000 rpms and turning the steering wheel almost all the way from one side to the other a few times. This should bleed out the air and take care of your problem.
  • If the noise is similar to that of a dry bearing, then the problem is probably the power steering pump itself. If the noise you hear has a "click, click, click" to it when you make turns in your vehicle, then the problem is more-than-likely your CV joints. If the noise is screeching, check your belt for wear-and-tear and proper tension (see owner's manual), and the pulleys that the belt turns, including the air conditioning compressor motor and its clutch/pulley.

I just wanted to add another two cents about the topic of bleeding or burping the power steering system:

1. Know what type of power steering fluid is needed for your car. Some power steering pumps can use automatic transmission fluid, others have specific power steering fluid for each car, i.e. Honda requires and suggests that you use Honda's brand of power steering fluid (see owner's manual). Make sure you know, or the warranty from the dealership or from the parts store may be voided.

2. Before attaching the power steering belt, fill pump with required amount and type of fluid (see owner's manual), and then turn the pulley wheel by hand a few times. This helps cut down on dry turns before they can happen. If more power steering fluid is needed, fill accordingly.

3. Attach the power steering belt with proper amount of tension (see owner's manual).

4. Turn vehicle on and proceed to turn the steering wheel all the way right and left 3-4 times.

5. Turn the vehicle off, and examine that the belt tension is acceptable, and again check the level of fluid and fill accordingly.

6. Always, always check your owner's manual before performing any maintenance on your vehicle. An educated car owner is a safe car owner!

Another possibilityHow long has the pump run without fluid? There could be damage inside to the cam and rotor (assuming it's a vane type pump), or to the plates, or it could be cavitating due to the ingress of air -- possibly why the fluid leaked out in the first place.

I too experienced very loud whining noise from my 93 Ranger 3.0's power steering pump at idle, and even louder when turning the steering wheel even a little bit in either direction. I changed the fluid but there was no change in noise. I read in a Ranger forum that if you add some STP oil treatment (yes, STP OIL TREATMENT), not the whole can, it would help. I decided to give it a try and sure enough it has reduced the noise greatly. It didn't completely eliminate it but people no longer stare at my vehicle at red lights because of the noisy pump. That was embarrassing! Ford's pump must be partly to blame since the problem is so rampant among all their various models.

By the way, Mercury is supposed to begin being phased out (discontinued) beginning in 2010 and completely gone by 2012. Only Ford and Lincoln will remain. Just thought ya'll might want to know that since your Mercury's value will likely plummet as that kill-off nears. However, those of you who have a stiffy for Mercs may get a good deal on one before they are gone. I personally don't think they are "all that". Fords in general are pretty low market in build and longevity. I used to favor GM but switched to Honda products in the 90s, they are very long-lived. My latest is a Jaguar and I'm quite happy with it. Yes I know they were owned by Ford and now by Tata Motors but the design is all Jag.

Cars & Vehicles
Car Starting Problems
Ford Festiva
Grand Prix SE

How come my car turns over but won't start?

A typical senario with fords in general.

Just a stab in the dark.

Has it got spark.

To test for spark, place a screwdriver in the end of the lead. wave the screwdriver over the rocker cover about 2 to 3 mm above it and get someone to crank it. If you see no spark, I'd replace the ingition module.

It's located inside the distributor.

You will need to remove the distributor to replace the module.

You will need to mark the dizzy. I usually you a centre punch. Punch two dots, one on the head, and one on the dizzy, next to each other. That will tell you the position of where the dizzy goes.

Next remove the dizzy cap.

Notice where the rotor button is roughly. Cos the dizzy can only go in two postions. The right position and 180 degrees out.

Undo two bolts which secure the dizzy and remove dizzy. Good oppotunity to cha nge the dizzy o-ring cos they often leak after disturbing the dizzy.

Dismantle the dizzy and replace the module. Pretty self explanitary.

To test. With new module in, turn ign on. and spin the dizzy byt hand, you should see spark.

That's usually what goes wrong in Fords if it's got no spark. If it's got spark, is it getting fuel. Pull hose off end off fuel filter. and see if it's pumping fuel. Check both sides of the fuel filter for blocked filter.

If not pumping, replace fuel pump. They usually blow a hole in the diaphragm, so it won't pump fuel.

Other then that, that's what usually happens.

Cars & Vehicles
Auto Parts and Repairs
Car Starting Problems

Why would a car hesitate when at a stop?

If your car hesitates when the brakes are applied, and or when you are driving it acts like it is giving itself gas, or accelarating on its own, The problem is your Throttle Position Sensor(TPS). It costs about $34.00 at autozone, and only takes about 10minutes to replace. sounds like you need a tune up. could possible be fuel filter or fuel pump. sounds like you need to replace fuel filter, air cleaner, and maybe a tune up

Car Starting Problems
VW Jetta
Grand Prix GT

What is wrong with a car when it won't start it just makes clicking sound?

It could be battery connection, discharged or faulty battery, faulty alternator or regulator, faulty starter or a loose and corroded connection on the starter.

Car Starting Problems

Why would a 91 F150 cut off while driving?

No spark .no fuel.

Car Starting Problems
Transmissions and Drivetrains
Chevy Blazer
Car Stalling Problems

Why would a car run in park but stall in gear?

The first thing I would check is the idle speed, second thing I would look (and listen) for is a vacuum leak, these are the 2 most common causes of your problem. Bill Alley

Check the plugs to make sure they aren't fouled. Then maybe the fuel pump. If it dies when you hit the brakes, that's electrical. I'd say it's the fuel pump, filter, etc.

When plugs are fouled, it probably wouldn't want to start, and brakes aren't electrical and the fuel pump isn't real likely either. Or maybe it ins't any of these, may want to look further down the list for a better answer.

Actually when you step on the brakes, it takes power from the battery or alternator to run the pump for the master cylinder on the brakes. (not true)

Doing so will cause your car to stall if the idle is too low. Turn the idle up and see if it happens again.

Same thing with the in gear driving. Putting the car in gear will drop the rpm to half or less than what it is already. Or maybe there is a better explanation down below.

The brakes have no pump. If they are power brakes, then it has a booster (and the booster uses engine vacuum, not electrical power) you can't adjust the idle speed in a FIed car. When you put the car in gear, the rpm should stay steady since the FI system should adjust for loads on the engine (turning the a/c on, putting car in gear, turning on lights etc) Do a tune up and go from there. By the sounds of it though, this is a lock-up torque convertor problem. The convertor lock is stuck on so the torque convertor is "solid" when you put it in gear.

If it is not an engine problem, it should be a problem with the transmission. When the gearshift is in drive, in this case, the gears get jammed with each other, causing the whole engine/drivetrain to lock up, stalling the engine. You should get a repair as soon as possible.

I know this sounds dumb,but i had a firebird that did the same thing in my shop & the only thing wrong was somebody put the wrong Tail light bulb in the socket & then forced it in wrong so when the brakes were applied it back fed the ignition system & killed the motor-It turned out 2 b a easy fix because I noticed the front running lights would come on when the brakes were applied when it pulled in 2 the shop.

I had that happen to me with my 86 Grand Am, it turned out to be a PCV valve, which was very cheap to could also try that.

It sounds like something I have been going through, In my case the car has an automatic transmition and the "Lock up celenoid" is the culpret. This little item (costs about 40 bucks give or take) is located in a ussually easy to get to area In my ride it is there right after removing the Trany pan.

What this thing does is causes the Torque converter to "Lock up" to the drive shaft - ussually in an overdrive type thing. When it gets stuck your car will stall.


The fixes that where suggested to me where replace the celenoid or try to use fresh trany fluid ( for a short term fix )

Later! hbooker

check your fuel filter & fuel pump/pressure...........also, once you put it in gear it puts a load on the engine, faulty igniton wires may start to "arc" once the load is on, it will cause engine to run like s***t or even stall completely...

Have a 95 Barina C14NZ with auto tranmission. Drives fine, idles fine, but when it is put into gear it stalls. Traced fault to temperature sensor connector (the one for the computer at the back of the manifold -- not the fan one at the radiator). This connector had some minor corrosion which increased the resistance and hence told the computer that the engine is cold, even when the engine was at operating temperature. This caused the engine to idle a bit higher, so when it was put into Drive or Reverse, it would cause the transmission to grab and stall the engine. Wriggling the connector temporarily fixed the problem; and replacing the temperature sensor was the final remedy. Good luck trouble shooting! :-)

I have 93 New Yorker - Car ran fine in park, but any other gear and it stalled. Believe it or not the black box (with the keys) had batteries that were dead. It had to do with the car alarm - New batteries, car runs fine in all gears. You could give it a try.

Car Starting Problems

What does it mean when you turn key and car doesnt start with no clicking sound?

Dead battery, loose or corroded battery connection, or defective ignition switch. Can also be a defective neutral safety switch.

Car Starting Problems
Alarm Systems

How do you bypass a passtime?

The system uses five wires and a receiver or antenna wire that accepts the signal from the remote. A blue wire, a purple wire, a pink wire, a red wire, and a black wire. The black wire of course is the ground. The pink and red wires are set up with a vampire bite to the constant power and the ignition power. Red to constant, and pink to ignition which gets power from the "run" position when the key is so turned to it. I can't remember right now which one of the blue or purple that is connected off the vehicle harness or which one gets connected to the "start" function of turning the key, but it honestly doesn't matter because these two are the ones that conduct the "magic." In my car, a yellow wire that connects the "start" function to the starter was cut and one of those wires is connected from the main harness and the other to the starter connector at the steering column. The idea is that electrical current will attempt to travel to the starter but is routed to the pass time unit to check if the code is current, if it is the connection is made and the car starts, if not, then the circuit is not able to close and you will get no power to the starter. To bypass this, simply cut the two wires that re route that current and splice them back together leaving the pass time unit out of the routing completely. If your pass time unit is a GPS enabled one, I would suggest not tampering, but if you must, do not disconnect the unit altogether, just leave the red, black and pink wires connected so that the system can communicate that it is powered back to the company that is responsible for the surveillance of that communication.

Auto Parts and Repairs
Car Starting Problems
Starters and Ignition Systems
VW Jetta

Why would a car take 10 seconds to start and cough when it is cold?

the spark plugs may be bad/or failing, and the engine is warm enough to sustain (SP?) itself and let it run at a ideal temprature..(mostly oil temp) affects running effectiveness == ANSWER== wish my vehicle only took 10 seconds to start, and there is nuthing wrong with my vehicle. but all vehicle take a little longer to start when cold. the "cough" is usually caused by the choke not working quite correctly modern cars are made to start without touching the gas pedal older cars you had to use gas pedal to engage automatic choke so if newer car cough is caused by excess gas in chamber keep foot off gas pedal hard habit to break i know,

Cars & Vehicles
Car Starting Problems
Starters and Ignition Systems

Why is it difficult to start a car on a cold rainy day?

The reason why it is so difficult to sometimes start a car on a rainy day is simple. The rain creates condensation inside the intake that enters the combustion chamber of the engine and causes the fuels rate of ignition to decrease. This in turn causes the ignition at the spark plug to be delayed and hence the engine cranks and cranks when this condition exits. If this doesn't make sense, then maybe read other answers. Several reasons: When objects get colder they expand. this causes small ammounts of restricion in the cylinders. Your oil is cold. oil becomes thicker at lower temperatures preventing quick circulation through the engine. Reasons 1 and 2 work together. poor initial lubrication and slightly restricted cylindars cause friction and make it harder for your engine to turn over. If this seems illogical then keep reading. * Only water expands as it gets colder due to the polarity of the water molecule. All other matter generally contracts, becomes more dense, and takes up less volume. * ** The argument is wrong, but the idea is right, lower temperature, higher viscosity, that's what I guess the above answer is trying to say.

On cars with distributorless ignition systems spark plug wires and spark plugs, on the old ones replace the dist. cap,rotor button,spark plugs and plug wires and if older then a 1974 all of the above except you'll have points & condensor to replace.Actually a properly tuned engine runs better on heavy misty air(drizzel) Contrary to the anonymous answer above, things DO NOT expand as they colder. They contract as they get colder and expand when heated (we learned this in 8th grade). As to why it is harder to start, it could be one of many reasons. All I know is when it rains the humidity in the air is HIGH (hence the rain). If you have a carbuerated car, then you idle mixture is already set and this extra humidity in the air/fuel ratio is not accounted for and causes the setting to be less than optimal and thus causes poor combustion in the cylinders. If you have a newer car, i.e. one that has a computer controlling the car's ignition (mixture and idle rpm's, etc.), then there could a problem with a sensor because the computer is supposed to take the humidity and air temp (ambient air factors) into account. I think the next answer by Bunting of TO, is the right one. however. Your ignition system needs servicing. The high humidity has created a ground path for an electrical short to occur due to cracks in your distributor cap or plug wires. When these things are dry the path is not available. Spray windex on these components while the engine is running to test the theory. By doing the spray test in the dark, it will be even more evident where the cross spark problems are.


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