Car Won’t Start? 5 Common Reasons

Is it just us, or do cars only fail to start at the most inconvenient times–like when you have an important meeting or are running late in getting the kids to school? Of course, there’s no convenient time for a car not to start. However, knowing the cause can help you figure out how to deal with the problem. At Byers Airport Subaru, we provide important information on your vehicle. Below, you’ll find six common reasons your car won’t start. While there are other reasons, these are a bit more common in our experience.

5. The Steering Wheel Lock Is On
This is an easy one to fix. If the key won’t turn at all, it may be due to a security feature. If your steering wheel has been moved after you’ve turned off the car, it will lock up the wheel and the ignition. To fix this problem, try gently moving the wheel to one side or the other while attempting to turn the key.

4. Fuel Problems
If your car cranks when you turn the key, but fails to start, fuel may not be getting to the engine. This could simply be a matter of oversight and the gas tank has gone empty. Or perhaps your gas tank has developed a leak. These are both potential reasons fuel may not be reaching the engine. Another is a bad fuel pump. Even if there’s fuel in the tank, a weak or non-functioning fuel pump may not be able to get that gas where it needs to go.

If you simply ran out of gas, adding more to the tank should do the trick. Otherwise, it’s best to let an expert see what the problem could be. Don’t try to refill a tank with a gas leak; instead, have your vehicle towed.

3. Bad Starter
It makes sense that a faulty starter would keep your Subaru from starting. In order to start up, your engine has to be turned quickly. The starter is an electric motor that does exactly that so the engine can start drawing fuel and air into the cylinders and run on its own. If the starter isn’t working, you may hear a clicking noise instead of the familiar sound of your engine turning over. Or, you may hear a harsh grinding noise if the flywheel is damaged. There are many components in a starter that could fail to work, and replacing it altogether is often faster and more cost-efficient than trying to repair it.

2. Damaged Ignition Switch
You also may not hear the engine cranking if the ignition switch is faulty. This switch sends the power to the starter motor, so a failed switch means that the starter may not even get the message to turn the engine. These switches can wear down eventually, especially if you have heavy keychains attached to your car key. In cases like this, replacing the switch usually solves the problem.

1. Battery Charging System Problem
A dead battery is the most likely cause of a car that won’t start. In this case, you may hear the starter turning slowly, or you may not hear any sound at all. There are many reasons a battery may have died. You could have left a light on overnight, or the battery itself could be old and at the end of its lifespan. It could even be a problem with the alternator, which is responsible for charging the battery when your car is driving.

A dead battery can usually be addressed in the short term with a jump start. If you left a light on, this may be all you need. But if the battery is old, or if the alternator is failing, you should drive to an authorized Subaru service center.