Your vehicle is more than just a hunk of metal with wheels. Your car is your freedom; it’s your ability to bring groceries into the home, to get to work, to take your kids to soccer practice. So much of our life is hanging on a balance, and one disruption can throw everything off in a moment. When your car doesn’t start, it’s a big deal. If your car is having issues starting, here are some of the common things that might be happening.

Dead Battery

The thing that is thought of first when a car won’t start is usually a dead battery. The battery handles all the electrical power to your vehicle. If the battery is dead, then your car won’t start. When your battery is dead, it can be for various reasons. It could be a simple issue like loose battery cables or corroded terminals. Otherwise, it may be a more pricey repair, like a battery that needs replacing or an alternator issue.

If your car is not starting is due to the battery, you will know because nothing comes on when you turn the key. The radio, the lights, nothing will happen when you try to start the vehicle. Another hint would be the battery dash light being lit previous to the car not starting. Usually, the light comes on before it becomes a problem and gives you a little warning a time to try to head off the situation before you end up with a car that doesn’t start.

You can test to see if your car isn’t starting due to the battery is to jump-start your car. You can find instructions for jumping your car in the user’s manual. If the car turns on after being jump-started, you are likely dealing with a weak battery that will need to be replaced or a bad alternator.

Ignition Switch

If the battery in your car isn’t dead, the next most likely culprit is the ignition switch. Turn the headlights on. If they turn on, but the car won’t start, you know the issue is not in the battery. Instead, you will want to check out the ignition switch.


The starter is an electrical component of your car that connects the battery to the engine. When you turn the ignition switch on, the starter starts up the engine. You will be able to identify if the issue is the starter by seeing if the engine cranks properly. If the engine doesn’t crank right or doesn’t crank at all when you turn on the car, but instead, you hear a clicking sound, it might be the starter that is the problem.

Fuel Filter is Clogged

The fuel filter can become clogged and doesn’t allow the gasoline to pass through to the engine. It is difficult for the fuel to make it to the engine if the fuel filter is clogged. The fuel filter should be changed every 20,000 – 40,000 miles. Changing it routinely will prevent a clog.

If the fuel filter is clogged, you may have been experiencing trouble when accelerating and odors.

You Need Gas

We’ve all let things get the better of us, so when you experience an issue like the engine not starting, don’t forget to check and make sure the gas tank isn’t empty. If the issue is as simple as an empty gas tank, you just need to refill the tank, and problem solved!

A car not starting is not ideal and can be a huge disruption in your day. The best practice for your vehicle is to prevent issues like your car not starting beforehand. Keep up with routine maintenance with a trusted mechanic and they may be able to spot symptoms of trouble before it begins. When it comes to your car not starting, though, Auto Alternative Service & Sales can get you an appointment and help get you back to the daily grind.