My Engine Cranks but Won't Start

Updated on July 17, 2020
Dan Ferrell profile image

Dan Ferrell writes about do-it-yourself car maintenance and repair. He has certifications in automation and control technology.

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

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. 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.

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. | Source

Six Quick Checks

Check These Possibilities First

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

  1. Fuel. For example, make sure there's actually fuel in the tank.
  2. 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.
  3. Battery. If the engine cranks slowly, you may be dealing with a discharged battery, loose or corroded battery terminals or starting system wires
  4. Starting System. Problems with the starter motor or circuit can prevent the engine from starting. You may wan to check the circuit voltage drop or have the starter motor checked. Pay special attention to unusual noise when cranking.
  5. 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.
  6. Check for a blown fuse that may be preventing a circuit from working properly, like the fuel injection or computer system.

Troubleshooting: Spark, Fuel, Compression

To operate efficiently, an internal combustion gasoline engine needs a good spark, the right amount of fuel, and good compression (a healthy mechanical condition). The lack of any of these three things will prevent your engine from starting.

So, the next three sections will list a series of steps to help you find out whether your engine is lacking adequate spark, is not getting enough fuel, or has too low compression.

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. | Source

I. 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 form 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 still you 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 in 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 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. Your 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.

II. Is Fuel Reaching the Cylinders?

Fuel injectors may clog and prevent your engine from starting.
Fuel injectors may clog and prevent your engine from starting. | Source

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

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.

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 lies 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 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 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 to fuel, replace the fuel pressure regulator.
  14. If 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 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. | Source

III. 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 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. | Source

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 air flow (MAF) sensor tells the computer the amount (the density) of the air entering the engine. A common MAF problem is 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.

Basic carburetor schematic.
Basic carburetor schematic. | Source

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 fail to start. Depending on where the fault is located, vacuum leaks can be hard to find. But mayor 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.

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

  • My 2013 Hyundai Elantra cranks, but sounds like it's flooded. What can this be?

    Check the fuel pressure. If the regulator failed, it can flood the engine or starve it from fuel. If you haven't changed the fuel filter, it might be clogged.

  • I'm dealing with a 94 Nissan pickup 4 cylinder KA24E engine. The fuel pump went out and replaced the pump. The truck would still run. Afterward, I did a tune up by replacing plugs and distributor cap and rotor. Now the truck will fire but dies after a few seconds. I did not fully remove the distributor to change the cap. What could cause sudden change?

    Make sure you install the correct spark plugs, and that they have the correct gap. Also, check there's spark when trying to start the engine. and test the spark plug wires. The symptoms point to a bad ignition coil. This other post may help you test it, if necessary:

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

  • 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 ?

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

  • My Toyota Yaris Vitz 2006 cranks but won't start after checking the fuel pump, but before checking the fuel pump the engine was starting. What could be the cause?

    Check fuel pressure. There could be a problem in the system. This other post may help:

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

  • I just changed fuel injectors on my 1991 300ZX twin turbo. Before the shop changed them, the car was able to start, but it ran rough due to three injectors not working. Now the car just turns but doesn’t start. What could be the most likely culprit?

    Check for DTCs first. If you don't find any, is there an anti-theft system that needs to be reset? Check the fuel (pressure), ignition (spark), and check that there are no restrictions against the turbo (intake and exhaust system). These the most common trouble areas.

    Good luck.

Comments

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    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      9 days ago

      There might be too much fuel fed to the engine. Check fuel pressure. This other post may help:

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

    • profile image

      Amy 

      10 days ago

      2006 Chrysler 300 will start but won’t stay running unless u keep pushing the gas pedal and thn there is gasoline like smell

    • profile image

      Vivian Arendse 

      12 days ago

      I have a fordrowcam bakie the engin has been do over timing is set but it does not want to start what can it be

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      2 weeks ago

      Normally, cylinder pressure should be over 100 psi. Your mechanic might be right and needs to investigate why the chain slipped, if that's what happened. It'll probably need a new chain kit.

    • profile image

      Keiko Nishimura 

      2 weeks ago

      Nissan pulsar 2003 Mechanics changed fuel , changed injectors ,check coil , the pressure in each cylinder is 75 , blows no smoke .Mechanics have had it going and driven it when the motor is warm the motor starts when cold the motor will not start ,maybe the timing chain has slipped the Mechanic said it is also flooding .

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      2 weeks ago

      A car technician should be able to analyze sensors' data that might lead to the problem. He should be able to confirm if there's spark and fuel going to the engine. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      tamara bannick 

      2 weeks ago

      Hi there I have a 1996 ford explorer xlt we just had the engine out and replaced the 4 timing chains that it required and was driving fine the first day then noticed the check engine light came on then noticed the spedometer wasnt working but was still driving good then went up a small hill and it shut off and wouldnt start again we have tried replacing the starter and put another battery in and still nothing then we thought it might be the fuel filter so we just replaced that and it still wont start it will turn over but not starting any ideas what the problem could be really need some help even our mechanic doesnt know what the problem could be

      -----------------------------

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      3 weeks ago

      Check sensor connections and sensor themselves, specially the camshaft sensor. Something might've been left disconnected, loose or a wire damaged. Download trouble codes, even if you don't see the check engine light on. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Erry 

      3 weeks ago

      2001 Toyota Runx 140RT 4ZZ Exhaust Camshaft aas broken and we change it and set the timing chain correctly. But now it not starting but before with a broken camshagt it was starting. What might be a problem?

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      4 weeks ago

      Try first downloading trouble codes and see if you find any, even if the check engine light is not on. This can help you focus on the possible faulty system. Make sure to check fuel pressure and spark. If there's no spark or no fuel pressure, it's possible a sensor is faulty. Also, a security system may be bad and preventing the engine from starting, or a key chip may also interfere. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Rhonda Franklin 

      4 weeks ago

      2001 nissan pulsar q turns oever wont start replaced fuel pump spark plugs injectors 2 sensors camshaft feul flow sensor battery and stater motor 4 mechanics still wont start

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      4 weeks ago

      The problem could be in the electrical system. Full voltage may not be reaching the starter motor. It'll be a good idea to check the starting circuit and engine grounds. These other posts may help.

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

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

      Also, download trouble codes, even if you don't see the check engine light on. There could be a pending code that might help.

    • profile image

      Tim 

      4 weeks ago

      I have a 4.3 that started fine and went about 2 miles and shut off with no warning. When I went to start it, the starter had a different sound to it. Anybody have any thoughts as to what it might be?

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      5 weeks ago

      The problem could be with the circuit to the ignition coil or somehwere in the ignition system. This other post may help:

      https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/My-Engine-Has-N...

    • profile image

      curtlee debruin 

      5 weeks ago

      hi everyone i sitting with a problem my car crank but dont wanna start up and there is no spark..buyer a new coil and still no spark can anyone help please

    • profile image

      Rob Mc Eachern IV 

      6 weeks ago

      Thanks Dan I will start with fixing those problems. But even though with a timing light hooked up and #1 appearing to fire on right timing mark and the starting fluid sprayed in the manifold the computer can still change timing enough to stop every cylinder from firing off at least a pop cuz I get nothing, not even "ok I'm trying to start" out of it. I didn't think the ecu could change timing that much, but it sounds like

      it can. So on to fix what I know to be wrong and let you know when I know and again thank you my friend, you are most helpful.

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      7 weeks ago

      On some models, without a proper signal from the ECT, the computer will not be able to adjust for the proper air-fuel mixture (it may over lean or enrich too much) and upset ignition timing. In your case, the computer doesn't even know the volume and density of the air coming in. Start by fixing the ECT, and then the MAF and see what it does. Hope this help.

    • profile image

      Rob Mc Eachern IV 

      7 weeks ago

      ok I have a no start problem on a 91 vw cabriolet. Done all the checks and do hae code for ect, maf and air temp. but my question is even with those 3 problems, if you spray starting fluid in manifold shouldn't it still fire for a second. It has spark and at the right time and compression 170s. I know I need to replace parts but even so it should still fire, shouldn't it? and Dan so far your site is the most informative and easy to follow, thanks Rob

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      2 months ago

      You may want to try fixing code PO128. This could be a faulty thermostat or ECT (coolant temperature sensor), most of the time. This may take care of the other code. These other posts may help:

      https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/Coolant-Tempera...

      https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/car-thermostat-...

    • profile image

      Mark w 

      2 months ago

      I have a 2012 ford fusion se that cranks but wont start snd i have 2 codes popped up one is p0420 and the other is p0128 i think my catalytic converter is plugged what is everyones opinion on this matter

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      2 months ago

      Backfires can be caused for various reasons, usually a vacuum leak, a sensor problem or a faulty ignition system. This other post may help:

      https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/Engine-Backfire...

    • profile image

      Delbert 

      2 months ago

      Got a 2003dodge Durango it would crank for a few seconds then it would change sounds then start now it change s sounds now backfires what up with it

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      2 months ago

    • profile image

      jms 

      2 months ago

      Anyone herd of a Toyota Tacoma with new cam / crank sensors 4 new plugs and 4 new coils(coil on plug) checked fuel pump 45 psi and calls for 42. truck will only run if i crank and as it starts cycle the key from on to off back to on all fuses are good battery good no security lites or codes //// only codes were for startability issue and either primary or secondary ign coils issue which they were replaced.. Any help would be appreciated . tryed bypassing the ign switch but even with the transponder key in and wires hooked to that sec then wont crank.

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      3 months ago

      If cranking drains battery power fast, there could be a problem in one of the circuits. This post may help:

      https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/car-batterydrai...

      Also, try downloading trouble codes and see if any sensor has triggered a code. Usually, problems with the crank, cam, throttle position and MAF sensors cause this type of problem. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Toksie 

      3 months ago

      I have a Nissan Bluebird - 2002 manual transmission sedan. The car cannot start but only cranks. I have replaced new batteries but the power runs out faster when trying to diagnose the problem. I have checked and replaced new sensors, fuel filter, 4 cylinder heads, new computer box, add new oil and fuel. I am not getting anywhere and end with the same problem. I am almost buying new n60 car battery every time I want to spend time checking again. Please help me fix my car.

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      4 months ago

      Make sure you got good spark and fuel pressure:

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

      Also, there could be a problem with a sensor (crankshaft, camshaft sensor) communicating with the computer. Download for possible pending trouble codes. Also, make sure the circuit and connections to the sensors are good. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Joe m 

      4 months ago

      My 2000 ford explorer cranks but wont start. Ive already replaced the fuel pump, fuel filter, air filter, coil, spark plugs,and spark plug wires and it still wont start,why?

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      4 months ago

      There could be a problem with the crankshaft or camshaft sensor, or the ignition module. Search for trouble codes and see if there's a pending one that can guide you here. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Isaac Moloko 

      4 months ago

      My toyota ipsum doesn't spark only crank engine what to check when coil packs dont spark only crank engine

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      4 months ago

      Make sure you got good spark and good fuel pressure. Download trouble codes, even if the check engine light is not on, there could be a pending code from a sensor that is acting up.

    • profile image

      Brian 2003 nissan sentra gxe 

      4 months ago

      My car cranks but wont start! I have replaced the plug's and coils, the crankshaft position sensor drained oil and flushed radiator! The car has half tank of fuel but only cranks!

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      4 months ago

      Glad to hear you got it fixed. Yes, it's better to start with the simple stuff. There's where many problems start.

    • profile image

      PearlsNPowerTools 

      5 months ago

      2002 Ranger Edge. After testing fuel pressure, wiring, ignition coil, and spending $75 on a new fuel pump and still crank no start. I suggested we start over with the basics. Fuses

      Fuse19 Covers:

      Powertrain Control Module (PCM) power diode, Ignition, PATS.

      Took the $23 unused crankshaft position sensor back to the store. Hubby took me out to dinner as a thank you.

      So glad i took that powderpuff mechanic class when i bought my first car in 1985. It taught me to start with the simplest cheapest remedies first.

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      5 months ago

      Usually the problem will be at the ignition or fuel system. Make sure you got good spark and, if necessary, good fuel pressure:

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

      If necessary, check the crankshaft and camshaft sensors, as applicable. Hope this helps.

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      5 months ago

      If none of the plugs have spark, check the distributor, ignition coil wire and the coil itself; then the ignition module. Or maybe the ignition switch is bad. It may happen. Work your way backwards through the system. You may need your vehicle repair manual to look up specs for the coil. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Ademola 

      5 months ago

      I have a 1998 Chrysler Town and Country that cranks but won't start. Please assist with what I need to do to get it to start.Thank you

    • profile image

      Tom C 

      5 months ago

      Hey Dan, so I swapped the plugs and listened for the fuel pump and I was able to hear it running. So I took one plug out to test for spark holding it against a ground and no spark. To make sure I tried another plug on a different ground and again no spark. Could definitely smell fuel out of the open ports. So maybe a fuse? Electrical or distributor? Possibly a harness?

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      5 months ago

      Make sure you got good spark and fuel pressure. Also, a sensor (cranksaft or camshaft) might not be sending the correct signal, preventing the engine from starting. In this case the fuel injectors might not fire. Download trouble codes, even if the engine light is not on, there could be a pending code. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Tom C 

      5 months ago

      2004 Nissan Titan, cranks with lots of juice but won’t start. Not a battery/starter/alt problem. Possibly spark plugs? Sounds normal while cranking.

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      6 months ago

      Try downloading trouble codes, even if the engine light is not on. There could be a pending code that can help you here. On some models, a bad sensor or its circuit can prevent the engine from starting (crankshaft or camshaft sensor, throttle position sensor). Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      desan 

      6 months ago

      I HAVE A 200 FORD FOCUS, THE CAR WILL CRANK BUT NOT START, I TESTED THE ECU, I TESTED IGNITION, CHECKED ALL THE FUSES AND RELAYS, I TRIED PROGRAMMING THE CAR,NEW BATTERY, STARTER IS GOOD, FUEL IS GOOD, SPARK IS GOOD BUT THE CAR WONT START. ANY IDEAS

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      7 months ago

      Temperature related issues during starting can be hard to diagnose sometimes. This other post may help:

      https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/My-Car-is-Hard-...

    • profile image

      ymmas 

      7 months ago

      my Toyota Corolla 2006 crunk but not start and the other day . start again. when i drive After 4 hours when i start crunk no start.

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      7 months ago

      Have the battery and charging system checked. If the battery runs down or the charging system isn't quite working, you may not have enough current.

    • profile image

      Richard Stallings 

      7 months ago

      My 2010 Frontier turns over but wont start. Immediately starts when additional charge is put to battery?

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      8 months ago

      Check the crankshaft and camshaft position sensors. The computer relies on these sensors to manage spark and fuel delivery.

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

      https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/Bad-Camshaft-Po...

    • profile image

      Ben 

      8 months ago

      Kia rio 2010..engine crank but no start no supply in the coil And pump..no trouble code show but engine warning lights on...

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      8 months ago

      There could be a problem with the ignition control module. You may need your repair manual to locate the fault. This other post may give you an idea about the diagnostic, but I highly suggest getting a repair manual to trace the fault in your model:

      https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/My-Engine-Has-N...

    • profile image

      Jo ann 

      8 months ago

      My distributor went out on my 2004 Nissan exterra so I replaced it with a new one then a day later the new one went out. Im getting no spark again and the new distributor is not working. What could cause it to keep shorting out new distributor

    • profile image

      Thomas 

      8 months ago

      Some cars still have a fuel filter

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      8 months ago

      Make sure the battery is fully charged and therminals are clean and tight. If you hear a solid click when trying to start the engine, maybe the starter is bad. If you hear a series of clicks, probably is not receiving enough voltage. Check the starting circuit:

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

    • profile image

      Million 

      8 months ago

      I have chev cruze 2015 1.4 turbo Monday morning i start the car after everything it was after 20 min i try to start he doesn't start all the lights on dashboard but no crank just quite there any body helping please i take the car mechanic he checking everything he couldn't find the problem

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      8 months ago

      There could be a problem with a sensor or coil that is breaking when the temperature goes up. This other post may help:

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

      Try downloading trouble codes even if the engine light is not on. There could be a pending code that can guide here. Hope this helps.

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      8 months ago

      If you don't hear the starter at all, maybe the battery has no charged or there's a problem with the starting circuit. If the engine was starting without before then, check the battery, do a voltage drop on the starting circuit. This other post may help:

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

    • profile image

      Ali 

      9 months ago

      I have a 3series BMW i parked it near a shop got something after half an hour when i came back to my car all the lights come on but but the engine wont turn or make any noise. I dont know what happened i am due to take it for service..please help

    • profile image

      Jonah Mainwaring 

      9 months ago

      My 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 has several times failed to start. The starter turns but the engine won't catch. It only happens when restarting the engine after a brief stop, like running into a store, never first thing in the morning, and after ten minutes or so it will suddenly start fine again. Today it cut off while I was driving and did the same thing.

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      9 months ago

      The fuel system might be slowly loosing pressure. Try turning the ignition key On, leave it there for a two-three seconds, then turn it off. Repeat three to five times, trying to build system pressure, and then try starting the engine. If it fires up without an issue or much easier, then the problem is in the system. Check system pressure, if necessary, next time it happens. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      CHARLES 

      9 months ago

      every 2-3 days my honda accord has a strong crank turnover, but won,t star for15-20 minutes,and starts normally for two-three days

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      9 months ago

      There could be a problem in the ignition system, loose wire or dirty connector, faulty ignition module; or a fault in the fuel system. Next time it doesn't want to start, spray some starting fluid in the throttle valve. If seems to catch while cranking, the problem is in the fuel system; otherwise it could be in the ignition. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Kevin 

      9 months ago

      Hi, it seems that those "crank but won't start" issues are fairly common, but what if those issues are intermittent? I have a VW up! from 2012 and last week it started to have this issue where it would sometimes starts normally, sometimes crank but not start. What could create an issue that is intermittent? Thanks for your help

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      9 months ago

      There seems to be a fault in the electrical system. You may want to locate first the system or part draining the battery. This other post may help:

      https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/car-batterydrai...

    • profile image

      Itumelengsleshaga 

      9 months ago

      Hi please help my diesel bmw 530D E60 cranks but won't start. It started off with crankshaft sensor fault, which i replaced and blue dde relay, fault remained later noticed loom connection to the crankshaft sensor is stuck hit by engine mounting possible short circuit. Rejoined wires, cleared faults and crankshaft sensor fault never returned but still car wont fire up! The fault codes um now getting are IBS sensor 4410, 4B90 rail pressure monitoring on engine start, and all 6 glow plugs 4212 to 4262. Kindly assist. It also drains the battery even without key on when the car is locked.

    • profile image

      Teboho 

      9 months ago

      What to do to bring back my Audi v6 memory?

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      10 months ago

      Make sure you are getting the correct fuel pressure. If you got good spark, check the camshaft sensor and compression. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Brad 

      10 months ago

      Hi i have a 2002 dodge ram 1500 4.7 will crank over but wont start its gettin fuel spark i changed the crankshaft position sensor in an replace 4 coils what else could it be

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      10 months ago

    • profile image

      Juan 

      10 months ago

      Starts up but won't stay running, even after putting fuel in carburator

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      11 months ago

      Start by scanning the car's computer for trouble codes. Probably a sensor is giving you trouble. If there are no codes, check that you have enough fuel pressure and good spark. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Felicia 

      11 months ago

      Hi ive got a problem with my car honda 160i luxline 93 model it doesnt want to start keeps on poping the yellow light

    • profile image

      Vl lover 

      12 months ago

      Hi guys, I have a 1986 vl that wont start. Any help or suggestions would be great.

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      13 months ago

      Make sure you got good spark and fuel pressure.

    • profile image

      barnett 

      13 months ago

      car just stop while i was backing up

      and wont start what could be the cause

    • profile image

      Keith 

      13 months ago

      04 honda element cranks but wont start

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      13 months ago

      Check for a spark when the engine doesn't fire. Also, there may be a problem with the starter motor. Usually worn bushings will cause this. Problems with the fuel injectors leaking or internal electrical (coil) fault may cause this as well.

    • profile image

      Jb 

      13 months ago

      Hi, i have holden viva its starts fine when engine is cold after its engine warm up and i turn it off just cranks and not start again needs stay for almost 2 hours and starts again and runs fine . I changed fule pump , crankshft sensor , coolant temp sensor , coil pack and spark plugs but still problem is not solved .colud you help me .thanks

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      14 months ago

      If you checked for trouble codes and the problem was for a crank sensor, check the connections or the wires; sometimes there's where the problem is. Also, download codes and see if there's still one for the sensor or a pending one that can point to the problem.

    • profile image

      Robert 

      14 months ago

      Put a crank sensor on and it still no o start

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      14 months ago

      It's possible the timing chain broke. You can remove the distributor cap and crank the engine. If the rotor doesn't move, the chain broke. You can also check ignition timing using a timing light. This other post may help:

      https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/Distributor-Rep...

    • profile image

      Jerry Price 

      14 months ago

      I have a 1992 Dodge Decota pick up. Was driving down the road truck was running fine all of a sudden I hear a loud pop come from the engine the truck stopped running . It cranks but does not start. Could it be the timming chain or belt or jumped time. I have no idea.

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      15 months ago

      If you still have no spark, you may have a problem with a sensor. Although a faulty crankshaft position sensor can prevent the engine from starting, the fault can be with the circuit. Download trouble codes, even if you don't see the check engine light on. A pending code may give you some direction here. BTW, make sure you have good fuel pressure, not just fuel flow. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Pam 

      15 months ago

      Have a 04 Saturn vue 3.5 awd, cranks won’t start no spark , changed plugs and the crankshaft position sensor checked fuel flow all the things you mentioned . No difference. Still no start

      Any ideas

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      15 months ago

      Check for good spark and fuel pump are working properly. These are the most common sources of trouble.

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      15 months ago

      If you haven't change the fuel filter in a year or more, change the filter first. It might be clogged.

    • profile image

      Lonnie 

      15 months ago

      I have a 1998 Chevy pickup. 4.3L V6. My current problem is that im not getting any fuel past the filter into the engine, but everyrhing else looks good.

    • profile image

      Jarod 

      15 months ago

      The pickup I have has a 345 in it now we got from a graintruck it ran before we put it in the pickup. It cranks over but doesn't start. The wires and firing order is the same. Is there any other cause for this? Again it ran before we took it out of the grain truck and everything is hooked up.

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      16 months ago

      If you are getting good spark, you might want to check the fuel pressure. A fuel filter is a possibility if you haven't replaced it in more than a year or two.

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      16 months ago

      If your ignition key is getting stuck, make sure your battery is fully charged and check the wheel lock cylinder.

    • profile image

      Sean steigerwald 

      16 months ago

      I have a 2002 Honda Accord se 2.3L. One morning woke up wouldn’t enter start. Checked timing. Fine. Valve cover gasket and tube seals fine. New spark plugs. Magically got it to star once. Drove it. Idling rough, driving rough. Checked compression in all cylinders.fine. Cleaned contacts on Distributor cap. New spark wires. Currently looking at fuel filter, but it seems fine. Before this incident I replaced catalytic converter and it ran the best since I’ve owned the car. I’m truly stumped? Anyone welcome to take a stab.

    • profile image

      Nafira black 

      16 months ago

      Need to know what's wrong with my mistibushi diamonte 02 want crank shift gears won't move key want come out but lights come on

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      17 months ago

      Try rotating the engine manually using a socket, ratchet extension and a breaker bar. Set the transmission to neutral. If it is too tight, try removing the spark plugs, if it still too tight, theres something wrong in the assembly. If it turns without much effort, check for a good spark and fuel pressure.

    • profile image

      Vishnu 

      17 months ago

      I have 5A FE engine toyota Corolla 110

      Have a misfire on number 4 piston disassembled the head and had a bend exhaust valve replaced the valve clean the carbon on the pistons then assembly back car cranks but would not start and the engine turn over like if is to tight.. help if you can

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      17 months ago

      Check all the fuses; there could be another blown fuse. Then make sure you got spark, and fuel pressure. These are the most common reasons for a crank-no start issues. If it doesn't crank, check the starter relay and connections to the starter motor and battery terminals. Make sure the battery is fully charged.

    • profile image

      Tori 

      17 months ago

      I was messin with my radio and blown the fuse box is that y my car won't start or crank

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      18 months ago

      If this is a rebuilt engine, you may need a new starter motor. But you may want to make sure you got a good spark, and fuel compression.

    • profile image

      Roger 

      18 months ago

      My car just got an engine install . But it cranks but dosent start.

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      20 months ago

      The problem could be in the emission or fuel system. Maybe this other post can help. Specially, check the first section:

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

    • profile image

      Jesse 

      20 months ago

      I have a 1996 Mitsubishi Montero that has been having issues, it will start but sputters out when I press the gas if I left off the gas it seems to pick up power for a couple seconds then stalls out again, after 10 or 15 minutes of this I can finally get her to move and she seems to do fine, till she has say for awhile then same deal all over again, I've checked the throttle body, air filter and changed the fuel pump and fuel strainer, I got in her this morning she started right up...... for about 30 seconds then stalled now she will not start at all. I've tried starting her while pumping the gas but no help, I don't even smell fuel at all. Any ideas where else to check? I've also checked the spark plugs and wires and they are all nice and silver with no signs of fouling.

    • Dan Ferrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Ferrell 

      21 months ago

      The problem could be in the sensor's circuit. Check the wires and connectors. You want to clear the codes as well and see if the code shows up again. On some models, the crankshaft sensor's gap is adjustable. You can also check sensor operation with an AC voltmeter for the signal. You may need your vehicle repair manual to check this.

    • profile image

      Teresa 

      21 months ago

      Hi :) My 2007 Chevy Malibu quit running one night. I figured the alternator was going out before we left town, so we put a new alternator in. Trying to start the car after that, the starter smoked and turns out, had a short in it. So we put a new starter in as well. The engine cranks, but wont fire up. The computer reading said it was the Crankshaft Sensor. We put a new one in, but its still not firing up, and the computer STILL says its the crankshaft sensor. I have a list of things to check, after reading this awesome article, but thought Id run this by you to see if you had any ideas on what it would be specifically? I appreciate your help!! Thanks

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