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My Engine Cranks but Won't Start (6 Reasons Why)

Dan Ferrell writes about DIY car maintenance and repair. He has certifications in Automation and Control Technology and Technical Writing.

An Engine That Cranks But Won't Start?

An Engine That Cranks But Won't Start?

Why Won't My Car Start?

When your engine cranks but won't start or run, it could mean your engine is having trouble producing a spark, getting fuel, or creating compression. The most common causes are problems in the ignition (for example, a bad ignition coil) or fuel system (for example, a clogged fuel filter). However, the source may also be a mechanical fault (for example, a leaking valve), or faulty components in other systems.

What "crank-no-start" doesn't generally mean is a problem with the starter. If the engine cranks normally, you don't have a starting problem.

Your car engine needs fuel, compression, and a spark to start.

Your car engine needs fuel, compression, and a spark to start.

If it isn't cranking right (the engine rotates slowly or doesn't rotate, or you hear weird noises or nothing when you try to start the engine), check this other practical guide to troubleshooting the starting system.

Whatever you do, avoid cranking the engine repeatedly with the hope that the engine will fire up. You may drain your battery of power and damage the starter motor in the process. Instead, try to use the charge left in your battery to locate the fault. In this article, I offer the following:

  1. Quick Diagnostic Tests
  2. Do You Have Spark?
  3. Is Fuel Reaching the Cylinders?
  4. Do You Have Proper Compression?
  5. Other Possible Components That May Cause a No-Start Condition

This guide will first give you six quick things you can check, and then three systems to troubleshoot—the spark, the fuel, the compression—using some simple and quick diagnostics. Then, for more help, you'll see a list of components in related systems that can be associated with a no-start condition.

Scanning your car computer memory should be one of your first diagnostic procedures.

Scanning your car computer memory should be one of your first diagnostic procedures.

1. Six Quick Checks (Check These First)

When trying to find out why your car doesn't want to start, keep in mind these possibilities.

Fuel

For example, make sure there's actually fuel in the tank.

Scan the Computer Memory

The computer in modern vehicles monitors and controls a good number of sensors and actuators. Scan your computer memory for trouble codes before you do anything else. Even if the check engine light hasn't come on, you may find a pending code that can guide you in your diagnosis. False input or lack of input from sensors like the crankshaft position sensor (CKP) or camshaft position sensor (CPS) can prevent the engine from starting. Also, a bad throttle position sensor (TPS) may cut off the spark to the cylinders.

Battery

If the engine cranks slowly, you may be dealing with a discharged battery, loose or corroded battery terminals, or starting system wires

Starting System

Problems with the starter motor or circuit can prevent the engine from starting. You may want to check the circuit voltage drop or have the starter motor checked. Pay special attention to unusual noise when cranking.

Security System

Many modern vehicles come equipped with an engine immobilizer as an anti-theft security system. The car's security system may have made an error that disabled the fuel or ignition system or the chip in the key may have failed. To troubleshoot a built-in security system, consult your car owner's manual or consult with the shop that installed your alarm system.

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Blown Fuse

Check for a blown fuse that may be preventing a circuit from working properly, like the fuel injection or computer system.

Worn out or fouled spark plugs will fail to ignite the fuel mixture.

Worn out or fouled spark plugs will fail to ignite the fuel mixture.

2. Do You Have Spark?

First, you want to check that a good spark is reaching the cylinders. You can do this test without a spark tester, but it's better to use one because a weak spark as well as a missing spark can prevent your engine from starting. If possible, use an adjustable tester so that you can test for 40KV, 30KV, and 10KV spark.

  1. Select an easy-to-reach spark plug and unplug the spark plug wire, or coil wire, or coil on plug (COP).
  2. Set the spark tester to 40KV, and plug it in at the end of the spark plug wire or coil wire. Hook the spark tester to engine ground. To ground the tester, use an unpainted bracket or bolt on the engine. NOTE: If you are not using a spark tester, grab the wire with a pair of insulated pliers and place the tip of the wire about half an inch from the ground (engine block, bracket, cylinder head). You still need a helper to crank the engine for you. The rest of the test is the same. You'll be able to test for the presence of spark but not its strength.
  3. While watching the spark tester, have an assistant crank the engine.
  4. You should see a bright spark jumping the gap in the spark tester.

If you don't see a spark, repeat the test. This time, adjust the spark tester to 30KV. If you still don't see a spark, repeat the test and set the tester to 10KV. If this time you see a spark or no spark, you have a problem with the ignition system. Consult your vehicle repair manual for your particular model for further diagnosis. Depending on your particular model, you may have a problem with an ignition coil, distributor, ignition module, igniter, or some other related component.

Other Spark Checks You Should Do

  • On systems with a distributor: Check that the distributor cap isn't loose; inspect the distributor cap for moisture, cracks, carbon traces, or some other damage; there could be faulty distributor components.
  • If you haven't replaced the spark plug wires in more than three years, your wires may be worn.
  • Also, check your car owner's manual or vehicle repair manual for the interval schedule for the spark plugs. You may need to service (gap check and adjustment) or replace the plugs.
  • If you installed new spark plugs and your car refused to start right after, double-check that you installed the correct plugs for your vehicle model, and the plugs have the correct gap. Use a wire feeler gauge to check and adjust the gap.
Fuel injectors may clog and prevent your engine from starting.

Fuel injectors may clog and prevent your engine from starting.

3. Is Fuel Reaching the Cylinders?

After checking for spark, you need to check that the engine is getting fuel.

How to Check a Carburetor or Throttle Body Injection (TBI) System

  1. Take the lid off the air filter box and open the throttle plate (carburetor). On TBI systems, watch the fuel injector.
  2. Ask an assistant to crank the engine and see if fuel is being fed into the unit.
  3. If you don't see fuel being injected, your problem is in the fuel system. Make sure of the following:
  • you have enough fuel in the tank,
  • the fuel pump is working,
  • the fuel filter is not clogged (consult your car owner's manual or repair manual for the service schedule),
  • the fuel pressure regulator is working properly
  • the fuel injectors are not clogged.

How to Check a Multiport Fuel Injection System

  1. First, make sure the fuel pump is working. Momentarily remove the fuel filler cap.
  2. Ask an assistant to turn the ignition key to the On position, but don't start the engine.
  3. As your assistant turns the key, listen closely through the filler neck of the fuel tank. You should hear the whirring sound of the fuel pump motor being energized for two or three seconds. If you hear the sound, at least you know the pump is getting power; continue with the next step. Otherwise, you may be dealing with a faulty fuel pump or relay, a blown fuse, an electrical open or another problem in the fuel pump circuit.
  4. Detach the air cleaner assembly from the throttle body.
  5. Open the throttle plate and spray some starting fluid into the throttle body.
  6. Crank the engine.
  7. If the engine still doesn't seem like it wants to start, probably fuel is getting into the cylinders and your problems lie somewhere else. However, if the engine runs momentarily and dies, then the problem is that fuel is not getting to the cylinders. Check for a clogged fuel filter, or a bad fuel pressure regulator. Consult your vehicle repair manual, if necessary.
  8. If the incoming fuel line that goes to the fuel injectors has a test port (Schrader valve—a valve similar to the one on your tires), use a small screwdriver to press on the valve. Be ready with a shop rag to catch the fuel.
  9. Turn the ignition key to the On position for two or three seconds and then turn it off. Repeat the step two more times to prime the line with fuel.
  10. Then, press the valve with the screwdriver while catching the fuel with the shop rag. Fuel should squirt out through the valve. Instead, if a dribble of fuel comes out or no fuel, then check for a clogged fuel filter, a bad fuel pump, or a leaking fuel pressure regulator.
  11. If fuel squirts through the valve, plug a fuel pressure gauge to the test fitting valve and turn the ignition key to the On position and read the gauge. Then have an assistant crank the engine and read the gauge.
  12. Compare your gauge readings to the pressure specification listed in your vehicle repair manual.
  13. If the pressure is lower than specification, your problem lies in the fuel system, possibly a faulty fuel pump, clogging fuel filter, or bad fuel pressure regulator. Detach the vacuum hose from the top of the fuel pressure regulator. If the line is wet and smells like fuel, replace the fuel pressure regulator.
  14. If the pressure is within specifications, you can unplug a fuel injector electrical connector and plug in a nod light to the harness connector (you may loan a set of nod lights from your local auto parts store).
  15. Ask your assistant to crank the engine, while you watch the nod light.
  16. If the nod light flashes while the engine is being cranked, you can at least assume that the injectors are receiving the pulse signal from the computer. If not, you need to check for a blown fuse or bad relay in the fuel injection system, a problem with the computer control, or problems with input sensors (for example the crankshaft or camshaft position sensors). Scan your computer for trouble codes. Refer to the list of related components below.

Some Cars Automatically Shut off the Fuel Pump After a Crash

Some models, like many Ford vehicles, have a fuel pump switch (inertia switch), that automatically cuts power to the fuel pump when involved in an accident. If your engine refused to start after an accident or after a vehicle struck yours in a parking lot, check for an inertia switch. The switch helps prevent your car from catching on fire if an accident occurs. Check your car owner's manual or vehicle repair manual to locate the switch. You can pop the button back in manually.

A blown head gasket can lower engine compression enough to prevent the engine from starting.

A blown head gasket can lower engine compression enough to prevent the engine from starting.

4. Do You Have Proper Compression?

Compression in the cylinder heats up the air-fuel mixture and helps the spark ignite the mixture so the combustion takes place. During the combustion process, though, there should be no air leaks. Otherwise, the cylinder will have poor combustion, or it will not happen.

The most common source of air (combustion) leak is a jumped timing belt or chain that allows air to escape through a valve; it can also happen because of a burned valve, worn-out compression rings, or a blown head gasket.

A timing belt or chain synchronizes the camshaft to crankshaft rotation. After miles of service, it wears down, becomes damaged, or breaks. So car manufacturers suggest replacing a timing belt every five years. A timing chain may have a wider service schedule interval. Replacing the belt or chain at the suggested interval can prevent serious engine mechanical problems. Consult your vehicle repair manual.

On some vehicle models, it is easy to remove the timing cover to check if the belt or chain is still in place. If it is, you may be able to visually inspect the belt or chain condition, and then check that it hasn't jumped. Follow the instructions in your vehicle repair manual.

Likewise, you can check compression pressure using a compression gauge. If you have a gasoline engine, you screw the gauge into a spark plug hole; on diesel engines, screw the gauge in place of a glow plug or injector nozzle. Follow the instructions in your vehicle repair manual.

Gasoline engine compression ranges from 130 to 180 pounds per square inch (psi); diesel engine compression may range from 250 to 400 psi.

A failed EGR valve can prevent your engine from starting.

A failed EGR valve can prevent your engine from starting.

5. Other Components That May Cause a No-Start Condition

Faults in other systems, not just ignition, fuel, or compression problems, can prevent your engine from starting. A system component itself may be faulty, or there may be a problem with its wire connector or harness. You may need to expand your diagnostic procedure to the components below.

Computers in modern vehicles monitor many of these components (usually in emission-related systems) and can set trouble codes when problems arise. So don't forget to scan your computer.

1. EGR

The exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve introduces a measured amount of exhaust gases into the intake manifold to get re-burned. This helps lower engine temperature and harmful emissions. But the valve can fail and stick either open or closed. When the valve sticks open it may prevent your engine from starting. Other symptoms of a stuck-open EGR valve include rough idle and stalling.

2. Cold Injector

Some vehicle models use a cold-start injector. It operates as a regular injector, but only works when the engine is cold. The injector may have its own thermo switch or may be commanded by the system control module. If either the switch or the computer circuit fails, you may have a hard time starting the engine during cold months. Consult your vehicle repair manual, if necessary.

3. MAP

The manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor compares the barometric (atmospheric) pressure to the intake manifold vacuum. When the sensor fails, it can prevent your engine from starting. Not all vehicles use this sensor. Consult your vehicle repair manual.

4. MAF

The mass airflow (MAF) sensor tells the computer the amount (the density) of the air entering the engine. A common MAF problem is a dirt or foreign matter blocking the sensing element, preventing the sensor from working. Or the sensor itself may fail after miles of service. You can clean and test the sensor at home.

5. ECT

The computer uses the engine coolant temperature (ECT) sensor to know how much fuel the engine needs and when to enter closed loop operation (that is, when the engine has reached operating temperature). Depending on your particular model, a bad ECT sensor can upset ignition timing or the operation of the transmission or cooling fan. Consult your vehicle repair manual, if necessary.

6. Canister Vent Valve

The canister vent valve is part of the evaporative emissions control (EVAP) system. The EVAP system temporarily stores harmful fuel vapors into a canister to prevent their release into the atmosphere. When conditions are appropriate, the computer routes the fuel vapors out of the canister through a canister vent valve and into the intake manifold for burning. A faulty valve, though, can prevent the engine from starting. Consult your vehicle repair manual for the procedure to test the valve.

7. TPS

The throttle position sensor (TPS) monitors the position of the throttle valve. It sends a voltage signal to the computer. The computer uses this information to regulate the air-fuel mixture according to engine needs. On some vehicle models, a worn-out, failing or bad TPS will prevent your engine from starting at all.

8. Vacuum Leaks

Vacuum leaks are not uncommon, and they are the source of many engine performance problems, including failure to start. Depending on where the fault is located, vacuum leaks can be hard to find. But major vacuum leaks that can make the engine hard to start may happen in the power booster vacuum hose, EGR valve, another main vacuum hose, or a blown head or intake manifold gasket.

9. Carburetor

If you have an old vehicle model with a carburetor, double-check that the fuel level is properly adjusted. If the carburetor is flooded, you'll probably perceive a strong fuel odor under the hood. A little trick you can use is to fully depress the accelerator and try to start the engine. If the engine doesn't start, wait for a few minutes and try again.

Good Luck! You Have the Tools to Diagnose Your Vehicle!

When your engine cranks but fails to start, it can be difficult to fix if you don't know where to begin troubleshooting. This guide not only tells you where to start but helps you build your diagnostic strategy. And reminds you of some simple but easy to forget places to look into. So most of the time, using just this guide you'll be able to zero in on the problem.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: My Toyota Mark ll engine cranks but won't turn over. What would be the main cause of this?

Answer: If the engine cranks, it turns over. If you mean the engine cranks but won’t start, then follow the diagnostic procedure in the post. The fuel and ignition system are the most common issues.

Question: My Toyota quantum 2.7i cranks but won't start. I have checked the fuel pump and the spark plugs what should I do?

Answer: Check you have the correct fuel pressure and good spark (use a spark tester). Then scan for possible trouble codes. There could be a problem with a sensor; crankshaft position sensor, camshaft position sensor, or mass airflow sensor can cause this problem in some models.

Question: My 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 doesn't want to start. It was working fine until after my friend added motor oil and spilled a lot of it. One of the spark plugs was moistened w/ motor oil and cleaned. It cranks but does not turn over. I checked fuses, fuel pump, and battery. All good. I even tried spraying starter fluid in the carburetor and nothing happened. I don't understand. It was starting well. The battery turns slowly like it's dying now. Why would my Dodge Ram be so difficult to start?

Answer: You need to recharge the battery for sure. But the problem seems to be in the ignition system. If more than one spark plug is fouled, the engine will have a hard time starting. Make sure that you got a good spark plug.

Question: I have a 2000 Honda Civic that cranks but sometimes doesn't start. It starts after 30 minutes or won’t start after several hours. It also shut-off while I was driving, I changed the spark plugs and the battery is not dead. Also checked and there is fuel going into the cylinders and didn't seem to find and any blown fuses. Any thoughts?

Answer: The problem could be in the fuel system but it can be hard to diagnose if it is intermittent. You may have a leaking fuel injector.

Also, there could be a bad ground or loose wire that is causing too much resistance in the circuit, preventing the engine to start until it cools. These other posts may help.

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/How-to-Use-Volt...

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/Automotive-Volt...

Question: My Toyota Funcargo just stops while driving and won't start turning over but just not starting. Could it be a bad coil pack?

Answer: It's possible. But you also need to make sure you got fuel pressure. This other post may help:

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/How-to-Test-a-F...

Question: Can I clutch start my car if it’s turning over but won’t start?

Answer: If you have fuel pressure and a good spark, you can clutch start it.

Question: My 1996 GMC Sierra 2500 will crank but not start. The fuel pump is working properly and it's getting spark. We bought the truck about a month and a half ago and it ran for about two weeks. Then it would crank but not start. The distributor cap and rotor and the fuel pump fuse were replaced. It started up with no problem for a couple more weeks, and then wouldn't start again. What might be wrong?

Answer: There could be a problem with a sensor, throttle position sensor or crankshaft sensor. Check for trouble codes, even if the check engine light is not on, there could be pending codes. Check fuel pressure as well and make sure you got a strong spark. If the fuel pump was blown, check the fuel pump circuit, if necessary.

Question: I have a 98 Chevy Blazer. I have a new battery, new plugs, new wires, new fuel filter and it still won't start when it's cold. Once it runs, then it's good. But after about 8 hours, it is really hard to start again. Why would my Chevy Blazer have trouble starting?

Answer: You may want to check the starter circuit voltage drop. Also, the starter may already have some wear, making it harder to crank the engine. This post might help you:

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/How-to-Use-Volt...

Also, keep in mind that when cold, the fuel doesn’t evaporate as easily, and the oil tends to be thicker. This makes it harder to start the engine. And, an old engine won’t have as good compression as a newer model, which compounds the problem.

Question: My Audi V6 just cranks but won't start, I tried almost everything but still the same, what could be the problem?

Answer: Sometimes, this is due to a faulty MAF sensor. You can try cleaning the sensor first and then checking sensor operation. Also, make sure you got no vacuum leaks and you got the correct fuel pressure. Compare the specs in your vehicle repair manual. I'm assuming you checked for good spark and trouble codes. Hope this helps.

Question: I have a 2001 Ford Focus and the battery and alternator are 6 months old. It started just fine. I got maybe 2 miles and an engine light popped on, shut off the car when I tried restarting. It would turn over slowly but wouldn't start. I checked the plug wires and they were covered in oil. Could oily plug wires be preventing my Ford Focus from starting?

Answer: The oil may have fouled the spark plugs and wires. Check for the source of the oil leak and fix it. Check the oil level and add, if necessary. Then clean the spark plugs and wires.

Question: My 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 cranks but won't start. Would the idler pulley be causing this?

Answer: First, make sure you got good spark and fuel pressure. Then check for possible diagnostic trouble codes. Even if your check engine light is not on. There could be pending codes that may help you here. This other post may help:

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/How-to-Test-a-F...

Question: 2006 Sierra 1500 4.3 which cranks, has spark, has the proper fuel to the metering valve and will not fire, just crank. I will be doing a compression, but what are some other things common to these that I should check with my Sierra's engine? It has an EVAP code causing for the fuel cap, but that code has been on for a while.

Answer: Make sure to download trouble codes, possibly pending codes other than the EVAP related one. And you may want to check the fule system. There could be something else triggering the code that might be related here. Other than that, if you've been able to fire up the engine after a hard start, and it runs good, concentrate on the starting system. There could be several causes for this. Check the IV section on this other post, it may help:

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/No-Trouble-Code...

Question: I have a 1991 Nissan 300zx. It shut off while I was driving, and it won’t start. It was leaking water beforehand. I made frequent stops to refill it, but it cut off and now that it’s back it will not turn over. It doesn’t leak anything until I crank it, and it’s the fuel I believe, but it’s black in color. I have no idea what it could be. What should I do?

Answer: From your description, there might be an oil leak. Check the oil level. You need to locate the source of the leak. Take a look under the car and see if you can see traces of the leak around the oil pan or engine.

Question: My CA18 engine is getting a spark, sufficient current, compression, and all fuses are good, but it still won't start. What is the problem?

Answer: If it cranks good, check for fuel pressure. There could be a problem in pressure or fuel volume.

Question: My 2002 Honda Civic LX cranks but won't start. I tried using engine starter fluid and still got nothing. What may be the issue ?

Answer: First, make sure you got the correct fuel pressure and good spark. These are the most common issues.

Question: I have a 2012 Chevy Malibu that won't start, but it does turn over. All the lights and everything works, but it just won't start. Do u have any clue what can be the problem?

Answer: Check the battery has enough power and fuel pressure is correct.

Question: I would like to know what to do if my car cranks but does not start?

Answer: Make sure you are getting enough fuel pressure. And check the injectors for the command pulse from the computer.

Question: My Ford Focus 2009 cranks for a while, eventually starts, then idles normally and runs fine. What's causing the long cranking?

Answer: Usually, an engine takes longer to start because of an aging or failing battery, starter, or spark plugs. Batteries may last between three to five years. A starter's lifetime service requirements are hard to predict. Check the spark plug gap, and the condition of the electrodes then follow the manufacturer service recommendation on them.

Question: My truck cranks but won't start. It has fuel pressure and spark, and I even recently changed the cap and rotor. What else could it be?

Answer: Check for compression. That's the next step, if you know you have enough fuel pressure and a healthy spark.

Question: I drove my car to pick up food. Ran fine. Turned it off and went inside. When I came back out it would crank but refused to start. Have replaced spark plugs, ignition coils and the fuel pump. Ordered a scanner last night that should be there when i get off work today. So no codes at this moment. Any ideas just on what I’ve explained?

Answer: The most common faults are in the ignition and fuel systems. First, you need to make sure you have good spark, correct fuel pressure. Also, the problem could be with a sensor: crankshaft position sensor, camshaft position sensor, throttle position sensor. Hopefully you’ll get a diagnostic trouble code that can tell you which system has failed. Still, troubleshoot the system before replacing any parts. Hope this helps.

Question: My 1994 Toyota Starlet engine cranks but won't turn over. My brother removed some wiring that he had hooked up to speakers in the trunk. What could be the problem?

Answer: If the engine cranks, it turns over. In this case, the most common problems is not good spark or not enough fuel pressure. Make sure you got good spark and fuel pressure:

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/How-to-Test-a-F...

If you don't hear the starter motor running -- just hear a click or a series of clicks- or the starter motor seems to run but the engine doesn't crank (doesn't turn over), then the problem is more likely in the starter system. First make sure the battery is properly charged. You may also want have the starter motor checked. Sometimes, this is also a sign of bad starter system circuit. These other posts may help:

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/How-to-Use-Volt...

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/My-Car-Wont-Tur...

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/bad_starter_sym...

Question: My 2011 Ford Fusion died while driving, Now it cranks but won't start. Fuel pump has been replaced. What is the most likely problem at this point?

Answer: The most common source of trouble when the engine cranks but won't start is the ignition or fuel system. Make sure you got enough fuel pressure and good spark. Also, a faulty sensor (crankshaft position sensor or camshaft sensor on some models or throttle position sensor) may cause this problem as well. Check for trouble codes, even if the engine light is not on. There could be a pending code that can help you diagnose the problem.

Question: I recently changed the spark plugs in my 1998 Ford Explorer Sport and the ignition coil and it still won't start. Why won't my Ford Explorer start?

Answer: Make sure you got good spark. Then check for fuel pressure. Other possibility is a faulty sensor – camshaft position sensor, or crankshaft position sensor are the usual suspects.

Question: I have a 94 Izuzu rodeo that won't start but turns over. I've noticed that the fuel and oil gauge doesn't move and the air conditioning doesn't come on when the key is turned to start it. But the other gauges work and the radio works. Do you have any clue what this could be?

Answer: Make sure you're getting spark and fuel. Check to see if there are any trouble codes you can download from the computer. Also, check for fuel pressure and compression.

Question: 1995 Dodge Dakota V6 2 wheel drive, cranks but won't start. No power to pump or ignition. What could be wrong?

Answer: Check the ignition relay. If this fails, it can affect power to the ignition coil and fuel pump.

Question: My 1996 Opel Astra cranks as normal but just will not start, I have checked the fuel going to the injectors; even checked the plugs. All good. What can be the problem?

Answer: Make sure you got the correct pressure in the fuel system. Problems with the fuel pressure regulator may cause this type of issue, as well. Also, make sure you got a good spark. Bad sensors, like crankshaft or camshaft position sensors, can also prevent the engine from starting. Check for trouble codes, even if the check engine light is not on.

Question: My 2002 Honda Accord cranks but won't start, and I've already replaced the fuel pump, spark plugs and wires, distributor cap and rotor. And the starter has also been replaced. Any ideas?

Answer: Make sure you are getting a good spark. Try spraying a bit of starting fluid through the throttle plate and crank the engine. If it seems like the engine wants to catch, the problem is in the fuel system. Replace the fuel filter, if necessary. Check for fuel pressure. The problem could be the fuel pressure regulator or a worn pump.

Question: My 2000 Chevy suburban 1500 was working fine today, but later in the day I tried turning on the car and it only cranked without starting. The lights, radio, wipers etc. work fine but the car won't start. I've even tried jumping the battery car but still won't start, just crank. Any advice on that?

Answer: The most common on a crank-nostart condition are the ignition and fuel systems. Make sure you got good spark and check for fuel pressure. You may try spraying starting fluid in the throttle while cranking. If it sounds like the engine wants to catch, probably the fuel system is at fault.

Question: I’m using a Toyota Brevis 1JZ engine. It’s been diagnosed several times, and it was reporting throttle motor malfunction. I changed the throttle body. It starts one time and then fails then it keeps on cranking. You change the throttle body, it repeats the same process. The spark and compression is there. What could be the problem?

Answer: Check the electrical connectors for the throttle control system. Another possibility is a problem with the throttle control system actuator, or the harness (open or short).

Question: Why does my Chevy Utility Bakkie backfire when trying to start?

Answer: Check the ignition system and ignition timing.

Question: I am in Melbourne Australia. I have a 1986 Holden Gemini. Its a small car with a 1.5 liter 4 cylinder engine. When I turn the key to Start, the engine cranks but will not fire. But when I turn key from 'on' back to 'off' I hear a click in the distributor cap and what sounds like a power stroke occurring in one cylinder. The coil seems OK. But spark plugs don't spark when the engine turned over. Could my problem be an ignition switch issue?

Answer: Make sure the ignition coil is firing properly, and check the distributor cap for carbon traces and cracks, and the ignition module. Some auto parts stores test the ignition module for you. There could be a problem.

Question: 1998 GMC Safari cranks but does not start. What should I check for?

Answer: Check fuel pressure and for good spark. Make sure the battery is fully charged.

Question: My 1990 Nissan D21 has a hard time starting, but once you get it started it will drive wherever you need to go. Must of the time it just cranks over. I checked spark, everything works; fuel pump is pumping fuel. What could my issue be?

Answer: Check the starting circuit. Bad connections can increase voltage drop and make it harder to start. Check for possible faulty sensor. Download trouble codes, if necessary. This post may help:

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/How-to-Use-Volt...

Question: I used starting fluid and my car turned on for a few seconds then shuts off. What can be the problem?

Answer: Check for fuel pressure. It seems (enough or no) fuel is not getting to the cylinders.

Question: I have a 2007 Dodge Dakota. It has trouble starting when the engine is warm. Checked fuel pressure and it’s good. It will start with starting fluid. Tried fuel injector cleaner, still having the problem. What to try next?

Answer: It seems to be a symptom of a faulty crankshaft position sensor. If possible, test the sensor when cold and when warmed. You may need to put it in hot water and test it. Usually, the sensor may start failing intermittently, then it'll happen more often. But you won't "catch" it when cold. This other post may help:

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/How-to-Test-a-C...

Question: My 2001 Dodge Ram will turn over but won't start. Has no spark. What could be the problem?

Answer: Have the ignition coil and/or ignition control module checked. Also, scan the computer for possible pending codes.

Question: My 1995 GMC Yukon won’t start after I rebuilt the TBI. Could it be flooded?

Answer: Check the fuel injectors are working. Double check that the TBI was properly torqued when installed and a new gasket, if necessary. This could be a faulty fuel system or a vacuum leak. Other possibilities are problems with the throttle position sensor (TPS) and IAC (idle air controller.). You can test the TPS using a digital multimeter:

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/How-Do-You-Know...

Test the IAC using direct battery voltage, and take a look at the ports for buildup.

Question: I have a 2014 Ford F150. The car cranks but won't start. I can disconnect the battery cable and reconnect and it will start, but might not next time. Any ideas what the problem might be?

Answer: There could be a problem with the engine or starting system grounds. Maybe these other posts will help:

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/How-to-Use-Volt...

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/Automotive-Volt...

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/Bad-Engine-Grou...

Question: I have a 1992 Subaru Legacy wagon, and my vehicle cranks over but won't start. I've replaced the temp sensor, crank sensor, fuel pump and strainer, coil, spark plugs, and battery. Still, it won't start. I've checked compression and fuel. Everything checks out. What could it be?

Answer: Make sure to check for trouble codes using a code reader. If engine compression and fuel pressure and volume check out, test the spark using an adjustable spark plug tester. Minimum, you should get around 30K V. Check the specs for your model in the vehicle repair manual.

Question: I have a 2002 Camaro SS that had a sudden no start. I replaced the PCV valve tubing and valve because I noticed the tube was broken. I also replaced the spark plugs and cleaned the injectors. The car is getting fuel and spark to the coils. At this point, I'm running out of things to test. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer: Make sure fuel pressure is correct. Use a fuel pressure gauge to test pressure. Check for trouble codes that can guide you. Unplug the MAF sensor and see if this makes a difference. Problems with the crankshaft position sensor can also prevent the engine from starting.

Question: I have a 2004 Ford Ranger Edge that cranks fine every morning, but after I drive it to work and it sits for a few hours, I have to crank it at least twice before it will start up. What could be the problem?

Answer: The engine coolant temperature sensor may be failing, not sending the correct signal when the engine is warmer. But, this can also be a problem with fuel pressure or a leaking injector. Step on the gas when cranking the engine. if it starts you may have a leaking injector or pressure regulator. Otherwise, try some starting fluid. If it helps, the problem could be with the pressure regulator.

Question: I have a 2003 Chrysler Town and Country that will crank but it won't turn over. I have already changed out the battery and fuel pump. How can I diagnose the problem with my Chrysler?

Answer: Make sure you have good spark and good fuel pressure when cranking. If both check out OK, test the compression.

Question: My 1994 Ford Ranger will sometimes stall early after starting, and it won't start again right away. But after an hour or so, usually, it starts back up. Any thoughts on why this is occurring?

Answer: Sometimes this is a simple maintenance issue (a clogging fuel filter), problems with the fuel system, or a sensor issue. This other post may help you:

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/Why-My-Car-Stal...

Question: My Toyota 1KD engine cranks but it can't start. What could be the problem?

Answer: Follow the steps in the first section in the post to get an idea what system is causing the problem first (ignition, fuel, compression). Then take it from there.

Question: Have a 350 Chevy, all ready to start, but gas isn't getting to the plugs. What can be the problem?

Answer: Check for fuel pressure. A bad regulator or some other fault in the system can prevent fuel from reaching the engine.

Question: My 2006 Honda Accord has a hard time starting. I have to really press on the gas hard to get it to start. What could be the problem?

Answer: There could be a problem in the fuel system; check for fuel pressure when trying to start. You may have good spark if you're able to run the car once it starts, but the pump may be weak or worn as well.

Question: I have a 1995 BMW 740 that wont start. If I put starting fluid in the intake, it tries to start. If I bypass fuel relay, it comes on, but not with key. It cranks but will not start. What could be the problem?

Answer: Make sure you don’t have a clogged fuel filter first. This will prevent fuel from reaching the injectors. Then, check if the fuel pump kicks in when you turn the key On. Remove the key completely and then insert the key and turn it On. You should here the pump coming ‘alive’. If not, try using another relay, or remove the relay and test it. If the pump isn’t working, check if you have any fuel pressure. There could be a leaking fuel pressure regulator or a worn, weak pump. You can check fuel pressure through the test (Schrader) valve. These other posts may help:

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/How-to-Test-a-F...

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/Common-Fuel-Pum...

https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/how-to-test-rel...

Question: I have an 06 Dodge Durango that won't start. It gets stuck in the crank and the power light comes on, then the service engine light. Any idea what would cause that?

Answer: Several issues can cause the a crank-no start condition, but if the engine light is coming on, check for trouble codes first - if you don't have a scanner, see if your local auto parts loans you one.

Usually, problems with the ignition, fuel systems may prevent an engine from starting. On some models, a low engine pressure will prevent the engine from starting. A bad crankshaft or camshaft position sensor can also cause this.

Question: I have a 1999 Nissan Primera model. I went and washed the car and it could not start. A mechanic checked and realized that water had entered the ECU. I bought a new one, programmed it, and had it installed. The car could still not start. They removed the spark plugs and the cylinders were flooded with petrol. What could be the possible cause of this?

Answer: Make sure the ignition system is producing a good spark; otherwise the computer is injecting fuel that is not getting burned. Also, there could be a problem with the injection system. If you didn't experience this problem prior to replacing the computer, check these two systems first.

Question: I have a 1998 Chevy 1998 K2500 4x4 truck. I've replaced plugs, plug wires, distributor and new battery, fuel filters, fresh fuel. Fuel pressure checks out. Engine cranks but won't start until the whine of fuel pump slightly changes tone. Then it will start on next attempt. Do you think its the fuel pump, even though pressure checks out OK?

Answer: Spray some starting fluid in the throttle body and try starting the engine. If it catches for a second or two, then there could be a problem with the fuel pump.

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