The kids are ready for school. You’re ready for work. Everybody is ready to go and excited to tackle the day. Everybody BUT your car, it seems. It won’t start! Is there anything you can do when your engine plays dead? Yes! Try these quick tips from the crew at Firestone Complete Auto Care.
Pop the hood to investigate a power loss.
Sometimes a car can go from “just fine” at night, to “anything but fine” by morning. More often than not, it’s because of battery problems. According to J.D. Power, 44 percent more owners reported a failure with their car batteries this year than in 2016.
If your vehicle pulls this trick on you, pop the hood and play detective.
- Is the battery properly mounted?
- Are the cable clamps well connected?
- Is there rust or corrosion around the terminals?
If you can move the battery or battery cable terminals at all, your car may not crank due to a weak electrical connection. Ensure that all cables and hold downs are properly tightened. Tap/knock off any corrosion to help establish a stronger connection. Does your car start now? If not, it may be time for a jumpstart from a neighbor.
Go “cycling” if you hear a click.
Hearing a quiet click instead of a roaring engine when you turn the key? When this happens, a technique called “cycling the key” may get it started. It can help warm up the battery, terminals, and starter. Even if you haven’t heard the term before, it’s possible that you’ve tried the trick.
- Turn your key from the “off” position to the “start” position about ten times in a row.
- Wait a few minutes and try to start the engine.
- No luck? Repeat once more, then move on to our next tip.
“Shift” around a little.
You know what’s worse than hearing a click when you try to start your car? Hearing nothing. If this happens to you, a subtle “shift” might work.
- Press your foot on the brake.
- Shift the vehicle into “Neutral.”
- Try again to start the engine. If it starts, great! If not…
- Move it to “Park” and try to start it once again.
This might work because “[m]oving the shifter sometimes reestablishes electrical contact inside the transmission range selector,” advise the folks at Family Handyman Magazine.
Once you get your car started and the kids to school, head to your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for a quick safety inspection. There’s a chance your car may not start a second time. Our technicians will take a look at let you know the best course of action. After all, when your car works, everything works.