Car Cranks But Wont Start: What’s the Issue?

After turning the key in the ignition or pressing the start button on your automobile, you hear the engine revving in its usual fashion, and then… that’s all. The turning of the crankshaft continues, but there is no sign of the engine’s customary sound of roaring to life.

If anything like this occurs to you, there is a good likelihood that it is not the starter. Instead, it is probably because your engine is missing at least one of the crucial components that it requires in order to start, such as gasoline, air, spark, and compression.

In this article, we’ll look at six common problems that may cause the “car cranks but won’t start” issue.

06 Reasons a Car Cranks But Won’t Start

To “crank” a vehicle is to turn on the starter in order to ignite the engine. When everything is functioning properly, the starter will force the flywheel to revolve, which will then rotate the crankshaft. When there is a glitch in the system, sometimes this process is derailed, and the automobile engine will not continue to operate after it cranks.

In order for the engine to start correctly, it is necessary for there to be an adequate amount of fuel pressure, an adequately timed spark, and normal compression. When it won’t start, the issue is almost often with one of these systems, while the starter system is also a possibility as a source of the problem.

The following is a list of possible reasons why “car cranks but wont start”, as well as some troubleshooting advice to help pinpoint the root of the problem.

1. Air

In order for combustion to take place, there must be an exact combination of fuel and air in the chamber. It’s not very likely, but the engine could not be starting because there isn’t enough air in the combustion chamber. This might be the result of an excessively clogged engine air filter, which is often an easy problem to solve by just changing the filter. There are a few additional possibilities as well, one of which is that there is a vacuum leak.

2. Fuel

The possibility of the engine not receiving enough fuel is far higher than the possibility of the engine not receiving enough air. If there is no fuel in the tank, this may indicate that it needs to be refilled. If this is the case, doing so may solve the problem. On the other hand, if the gas tank is broken or leaking, which might be the cause of the low gasoline level, you should have the car towed instead.

However, an empty tank is not the only possible explanation for why an engine is not receiving the gasoline it requires. Either the gasoline filter is blocked or the fuel pump has been damaged in some way. Both of these scenarios are possible. In these kinds of circumstances, the gasoline would not be able to make its way from the tank to the combustion chambers. Another possibility is that the gasoline injectors are blocked.

3. Spark

A spark is what enables the combination of gasoline and air in an internal combustion engine, like the one in your automobile, to burn. A little spark is produced in the space between the electrodes of a spark plug whenever the plug is ignited. Because each spark plug ignites at least hundreds of times per minute, a spark plug that is not functioning properly presents a significant challenge.

It is possible that one or more of the spark plugs in your engine need to be replaced if the engine is not receiving the spark it requires. It is possible that the distance between the electrodes may become less accurate with the passage of time, which would necessitate the need to replace the plug. However, there are issues outside the spark plugs themselves that might cause them to not ignite, and components like the distributor could be too responsible for this problem.

4. Compression

Compression is vital, even though it is not used to ignite the fuel in gas engines as it is in diesel engines. If the compression in even one of the engine’s cylinders is too low, it is possible that the engine will not be able to start. This might be the result of a number of issues, including a faulty head gasket, a jammed valve, poor piston rings, or a loose timing chain. It is in your best interest to get it checked at by a professional, regardless of what the reason may be.

5. Power Supply Problems

Another potential issue is a starting motor that is not powerful enough to turn the engine over. If this is the case, you will probably notice that the starter produces an odd noise when you try to crank the engine, or that the engine will not turn over at all.

Battery cables that are frail or damaged, as well as a battery that is nearing its end of life, may all contribute to the issue. While turning the engine over by hand, use a multimeter to measure the voltage coming from the battery. It should display more than 10 volts.

When the engine is turned off, remove each fuse and examine it visually. If they seem to be in excellent condition, you should reinsert them and then try turning the ignition of the vehicle to the “on” position. After that, use a test light to determine whether or not electrical current is flowing through each fuse. Replace any blown fuses with new fuses purchased from a local auto supply shop.

6. Bad Sensors

Your car’s onboard computer receives data from a variety of sensors in order to process it. When sensors fail to relay information to the computer, it may cause the engine to operate less effectively, and in certain cases, it can even prevent the engine from starting. The crankshaft position sensor, which determines the speed and position of the crankshaft, is one of the most typical components to be at fault in this scenario.

When the computer receives data from this sensor, it utilizes that information to determine the appropriate time to ignite the spark plugs. The spark plugs won’t light if the sensor isn’t functioning properly, which will prevent the engine from starting. The camshaft position sensor and the throttle position sensor are both susceptible to experiencing the same problem.

Troubleshooting Advice

If the engine cranks but does not start, you will need to switch off the automobile and remove the air intake tube that is linked to the throttle body. After doing so, gently press the throttle open, and immediately after that, spray a limited amount of starting fluid into the engine. Now that it’s been taken care of, give the engine another attempt to be started.

If the engine turns over but shuts off after a few seconds, this indicates that it is lacking gasoline but that the compression and spark are functioning normally. On the other hand, if the engine would not start, the problem is probably definitely due to a lack of spark.

To avoid prematurely wearing down the starter or draining the battery, avoid revving the engine of the automobile excessively in an effort to get it to start.

If you have no choice but to try more than once, be sure to give the starter enough time to cool down by waiting several minutes between each 15-second attempt to crank it. It shouldn’t take more than a few seconds for each try before you can determine whether or not the problem has been remedied.

It is essential to do a problem check on the engine’s sensors and actuators since contemporary vehicles have a wide range of electrical components that might interfere with the process of starting the engine.

Checking the car’s computer for flaws in the electrical system, also known as codes, using a scan tool, which is available at most auto supply shops, is the most effective method.

The Bottom Line

If you don’t know where to start looking for the source of the problem “car won’t start but has power”, it may be a challenging problem to repair. This article not only shows you where to begin, but it will also assist you in developing a diagnostic approach. And it jogs your memory about some simple but easy-to-forget areas that need to be investigated.

Feel free to write to us if you have any queries over the topic.

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