In this service, the mechanic will visually assess and test out the components of your ignition to diagnose the problem.
When you turn the key in the ignition, several components begin working together to start your car. The battery powers a starter motor which turns the engine over. As air and fuel enter the engine to begin combustion, the spark plugs must fire to ignite the mixture and get the car running.
If your car is hard to start, the fault could be with any of the parts that work together to create that chain reaction. Here are a few possible causes that a mechanic will diagnose during an inspection.
Failing ignition switch or solenoid
If the ignition switch itself is not working, you may notice that it’s hot to the touch. If there’s a wiring issue, the solenoid that transfers current from the battery to the starter motor could be to blame.
Low or dead battery
If nothing happens when you turn the ignition or press the start button, you likely have a low or dead battery.
If your starter is worn, you may notice that the car turns over slowly at startup or that the lights on your dashboard are dim.
Clogged fuel system
If you hear a knocking, whining, or ticking sound when you’re trying to start your car, take it to a mechanic to have the fuel system inspected.
Fouled spark plugs
If you hear a repetitive cranking sound when you try to start your car or noise when idling, fouled spark plugs may be to blame.
When do you need an inspection for a car that is hard to start?
If your car struggles to start but eventually runs, it’s still a good idea to take it to the shop before it fails to start altogether. It will be easier to bring the car to a mechanic while it’s still able to start.
If your car doesn’t start but the dashboard lights turn on, you’re probably dealing with a problem with the starter motor. Call a tow truck and take your car to a mechanic. You’ll need a professional inspection to confirm and repair the cause of the issue.
Tips for if your car is hard to start
Before you take the car to a mechanic, here are a few things you can do to narrow down the issue with your hard-to-start car:
- Check your car’s battery. If the battery is low or if the terminals are corroded or loose, cleaning and charging the battery may solve the problem.
- Turn the key repeatedly in the ignition about 10 times, then wait a few minutes. This may override the issue temporarily, but you’ll still need to bring the car to the shop to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
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