Having a car which doesn’t always start promptly can be extremely stressful. It is a problem that will affect the majority of cars during their lifetimes and it is very frustrating. If you are trying to sell your car and it won’t start smoothly then there is no way that someone will be comfortable taking car finance out for it either. This article considers how you can identify the problem without any trouble and how you may be able to solve it without the expense of a mobile mechanic.
1. Turn the key until the engine lights come on. If they do not come on then the issue is with your battery or the connections. Sometimes this is merely caused by a disconnected cable, but often it is the result of a dead battery. Batteries are easily replaced and can often be bought very cheaply from scrap yards.
2. If the lights do come on then try to start the engine. If the engine turns over but just makes a clicking noise and fails to start then this is probably an issue with the actual engine. Ifthe engine will not turn over at all then the problem is likely the battery, even if the engine lights do come on.
3. If the battery is suspect then you can check the terminals. If they appear corroded then you can clean them. To do this use water and baking soda. The baking soda will neutralise the acid and clean the contact points. Clean the soda off with water once it has stopped foaming. Remove the negative connection and clean with a wire brush. Keep the negative off and repeat this process with the positive connection. When fully clean, replace the terminals in the order positive then negative, taking care to keep your hands away from exposed metal at all times.
4. If you can access a voltmeter then use this to check the power in the battery. If the battery still has power then it is the starter motor that could be the problem. However, If there is no power in the batterythen you will need to jump start the vehicle and possibly replace the battery if the problem persists.
5. Another item to check is the spark plugs. If the spark plugs are not connecting, then the engine may fail to start. You can clean these connections with water and baking soda. Once they are clean, be sure to dry them thoroughly and apply grease to the spark plug. This will help the connection and may allow them to spark and start the engine again.
6. If the engine appeared to be the problem then you have a more serious issue. You will need to check the levels of all fluids and the condition of the fuel pump. In most cases where there is a mechanical issue with the engine you will need to seek the help of a professional to get the vehicle started again.