In the morning, thousands of drivers will sit in their cars and realize those cars will not start. It’s a hard fact of life that anyone who drives any length of time will eventually find themselves in such a situation. The following are the more common reasons a car may not start:
Wet conditions can in some cases cause starting difficulties with older cars. Moisture can move into the spark plug and ignition wire connections, causing a short circuit of the electrical current sent to deliver the necessary spark to each cylinder. A little dielectric grease around the connections can solve this problem.
Air filters should be changed at least twice each year and in dusty environments may need replacement more often. A dirty filter will decrease the amount of air reaching the cylinders and therefore the ignition of the fuel vapor will not occur.
Use the appropriate grade of fuel required for your particular vehicle. Using off-brand or low octane fuel may lead to problems if the fuel is “dirty” or contains water. Avoid using fueling stations that have a reputation for “cheap” fuel product.
If your car is to be stored for a period of time and will not be started for some time, use a fuel stabilizer to increase the life expectancy of the fuel. Old fuel can separate into its various petroleum components and form a thick “sludge” in the fuel filter and lines. If the fuel pump cannot move the fuel to the cylinders, the car will not start.
If the battery has been inactive for some time or is nearing the end of its expected life, it may not start the engine. Check for signs of battery failure when trying to start your car. These include a lack of instrument lights or no obvious sounds that would indicate the engine is about to start. A simple replacement of the battery will normally solve this starting issue.
There are a variety of components in many modern cars that are connected to a computer. In some cases, the instrument panel will provide enough information about a problem, such as a failing alternator or low battery level, and allow you the ability to communicate this information to a mechanic.
Fuses and electrical service switches are often found underneath the dashboard and inside the engine compartment. Check your car manual for information regarding fuses associated with starting your car should the need arise.