What To Do When Your Car Doesn’t Start

It’s a feeling all drivers dread. You switch on the ignition and nothing happens! There really is nothing worse than having to be somewhere and your car not starting.

So what can you do? At Fitch Autos our job is to keep you on the road in a car that is trustworthy. With this in mind, we’ve composed this article to help you be prepared if this ever happens to you.

What Should You Check?

Even though your car is a complex feat of engineering, prior to calling Fitch Autos, there are few things you can do yourself to establish the cause of the problem. The most common causes include:

1 – The car’s battery may be so low that the vehicle only turns over slowly, if at all.

2 – Automatic cars being left in gear and not in Park or Neutral.

3 – Using the wrong key which hasn’t been programmed, so the vehicle won’t start.

4 – The car is filled with the wrong fuel.

5 – A Malfunction Indicator Lamp indicating an electronic system fault.

So what can you do?

Check Your Battery: If the car turns over at a suitable speed the battery is not the problem. However, if the vehicle doesn’t crank (turn over) it could well be your battery and it’s time for another test.

Wet the windscreen with your washers and try the wipers. If they don’t move, or move very slowly across the screen the battery looks suspicious. Try recharging the battery or using jump leads to start the vehicle from a slave battery.

How To “Jump Start” Your Car

To “Jump Start” your car is fairly straightforward with some jump leads and either another vehicle or a spare battery.

The procedure involves connecting your battery to another vehicle’s battery or a separate spare battery. Having done this, wait 10 minutes while the charge equalises between the batteries, and then start your vehicle.

It’s hugely important you read the manufacturer’s information as this will highlight where the jump leads should be connected and any specific procedure that is needed to be followed. In some cases, this connection is not directly to the battery, and failure to get it right can lead to faults being caused.

Of course, if you ever think your battery is flat then please call us and we can take care of this on your behalf.

When Your Vehicle is Immobilised

Car anti-theft systems have transponder immobilisers which are tiny coded chips. When you present your car the key to your vehicle, it checks the data within the transponder to confirm it is the correct key for the car. If it is the car will be able to crank (turn over). If it is not, then you may well see an illuminated light like the one below.

f you suspect the problem is an immobiliser issue then you need to check the key. Is it a key you have used previously to start the car? If it isn’t, then use the previous key. If the car now starts the faulty key needs inspecting.

However, if it is the correct key and it still doesn’t work, try placing it nearer to the key’s reader. The owner’s manual will outline the perfect position for this.

If neither of these tips allows you to start your car then give us a call as our skilled technicians will find a solution to the problem.

Dash Lights

If there are no dash lights showing or the wrong lights are illuminated the issue can be caused by one or two different faults. The first thing to do is to check that none of the vehicle’s fuses has blown.

Because fuses are there to protect a car’s electrical systems they are designed to “blow” when a fault occurs. Blown fuses are a common cause of cars not starting.

The owner’s manual will show you where the fuse boxes are located as well as outlining which system each fuse is there to protect. Each one needs to be checked individually, and any that have blown need to be replaced with another of the same rating.

If any fuse blows again when the ignition is switched on, then this indicates a permanent fault which will need to be professionally diagnosed.

If a Malfunction Indicator Light is illuminated it is highlighting a problem with one of the car’s electrical systems, many of which can cause a car not to start.

At Fitch Autos we have specialist equipment and skilled technicians to accurately get to the bottom of all these issues. So give us a call and we’ll get you back on the road in no time.

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