Car won't start? Checklist!
If you're not a mechanical type of person and want to learn, this is a start!
- •Fuel? (Gas or Diesel)Are you out of gas? Or diesel? Depends on your vehicle. But seriously. Many people run out of gas but don't check this first.
- •What happens when you turn the key?Does it just click or does the motor attempt to start but just doesn't? If it clicks, might need a starter. If it won't fire, maybe fuel pump went out. But maybe many things. These are two most common.
- •Is it in Park?I know this seems obvious too but seriously, the Park can get bumped or whatever and the contacts in your shifter might not be touching just enough to cause an issue. Wiggle your shifter to make sure.
- •Is the battery dead?This goes back to number 2. If it just clicks it may be your battery is dead. Or very low. Doesn't always mean your starter is out. This is the most common reason for a car that won't start. Even though your lights work and the radio works doesn't mean it's NOT your battery. You may just have enough juice to run them but not turn over your engine.
- •Check your battery terminalsPop your hood and make sure both of the battery cables are not loose, don't have a bunch of blue or white powdery stuff caked on them. (Do not touch the blue or white stuff. It's battery acid). Note: some batteries are not under the hood. They can be under the back seat or in the back portion of your SUV, etc. Your owner manual or Google will tell you.
- •Tip!Always carry a set of jumper cables in your vehicle. Even if you don't know how to use them there's a good chance the person who will "jump" you will. Always carry a flat head and Phillips (cross tip) screwdriver in your vehicle as well. Just throw them in the trunk or glovebox. You will be thankful you did!