My car is hesitant to start (causes and possible solutions) - My car is making noise (2023)

That dreaded moment when your car won't start can cause a panic if you're not sure what's wrong. In times like these, a little information can go a long way. That is why, in this guide, we have looked at the reasons why your car might not start and the possible solutions needed to get you moving again.

My car is hesitant to start (causes and possible solutions) - My car is making noise (1)


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What could be wrong if your car hesitates to start?

Common reasons why a car hesitates to start include problems with the battery or battery connection, poor ignition or starting, problems with the fuel supply, and faulty parts.

However, several factors could be preventing your car from starting, some of which are simple enough for you to correct. Read on to learn more about the problems that won't start your car and some easy steps you can take to fix the problem.

What causes hard starting engines?

Hard starting engines can affect old and new vehicles. Some common part problems can be fixed by hobbyist owners, while others will require a trip to the mechanic. The challenge is being able to identify the problem well enough to know if it's something you can fix yourself or if you need to call in backup.

a faulty spark plug

Spark plugs are responsible for providing the spark that initiates combustion in your car's engine. Spark plugs can become fouled or damaged over time for a variety of reasons. A common cause is a flooded engine that wets the spark plugs and makes the car difficult to start. Also, oil leaks and excessive carbon buildup can coat spark plugs and prevent them from working.


Battery or battery connection problem

A dead battery or a bad connection is the most common reason why vehicles won't start. Fortunately, these problems are often easier to spot, as owners can see firsthand if their car's electrical systems are weak or not working. A jump start can help you recover if the battery fails, but a bad battery connection could require cleaning or parts replacement.

Inefficient Alternator

from toalternatorsThey are electrical generators that keep the car's batteries charged, a bad alternator can cause problems maintaining electricity when the car is running. If you start the car and it immediately stops running, the alternator is probably the cause. An overheated alternator can cause a burning smell; It is best to consult a mechanic for this type of problem.

Stuck steering wheel or stuck ignition

Parking with the steering wheel locked can lock the ignition and prevent the car from starting. Fortunately, this problem can usually be corrected by gently rocking the steering wheel when the key is inserted and the steering wheel is locked. It may also help to try this with a new or spare wrench, making sure not to pull too hard on the wheel.

Clogged fuel filter

Your car's fuel filter ensures that a constant stream of clean fuel flows from the gas tank to the fuel injectors that feed the engine. Fuel filters need to be changed periodically to prevent clogging, but they will normally only start the car if they are completely blocked.

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What if a car has a hard time starting but runs fine?

One of the reasons a car may run fine but have a hard time starting is a faulty ignition switch or starter motor. Afaulty starter motorit's one of the most common reasons people seek roadside assistance. Jump starters are connected to car batteries and a clicking noise can accompany a broken starter. Defective starters must be checked by mechanics.

possible solutions

  • A heavy key fob can overload the power switch. Do not carry too many keys on your car key ring to avoid this problem.
  • Manually strike the starter. Sometimes the motor is fine, but the electrical contacts stick and have to be released manually by tapping on them.
  • Have it checked using your car's diagnostic system (if applicable) or visit a mechanic to check the engine sensors for faults.
My car is hesitant to start (causes and possible solutions) - My car is making noise (2)

The car hesitates to start and the check engine light is blinking

If your car won't start and the Check Engine Light is flashing, your car has likely detected a misfire caused by the ignition or fuel delivery system. A flashing check engine light usually indicates a serious problem exists. However, the flashing lights also indicate that the battery is at least partially working. In this scenario, you may also hear a rapid clicking sound when you try to start the engine.

possible solutions

  • Check that the spark plugs and ignition coil(s) are still intact and working properly.
  • Make sure the fuel pump and fuel lines are not clogged and that the pressure regulators and fuel injectors are working properly.
  • Touch or hand-tighten the connections at the battery terminals. If the battery is corroded, it may be necessary to clean the terminals to get the vehicle running again.

The car hesitates to start with a start button

Your key fob battery may be depleted. The start button needs to receive a signal from the remote before starting, which will not happen if the remote's battery needs to be replaced.

possible solutions

  • Replace the key fob battery.
  • Check if you can start the car with an alternate physical key. Many car manufacturers have included a hidden physical key or a battery-free alternative.

Car hesitates to start when cold

Batteries don't work well when it's cold, and car batteries are no exception. If your car hesitates to start in cold weather, it could be because your car battery is dead.

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possible solutions

  • Turn off all electronic devices in your car to eliminate unnecessary battery drain.
  • Be sure to allow plenty of time to start in cold conditions. Turn the ignition on and leave it in place for up to 10 seconds, but no longer to avoid overloading the engine.
  • Wait a few minutes between attempts to start the vehicle.

Car hesitates to start when hot

vapor lockIt can prevent your car from starting in hot weather as the fuel in the engine starts to boil on its way to the fuel injection system. Boiling causes bubbles, or steam, to form and mix with the fuel, preventing it from flowing smoothly. Vapor lock can also occur if the fuel lines are too close to hot components in your car's engine.

possible solutions

  • Check if any of the engine fuel lines are near a hot part of the engine.
  • Check for clogged fuel and vent lines or any other faulty engine parts that may be causing the car to overheat. Examine your car's carburetor (if there is one) and check the valves to make sure they are working properly.

Car hesitates to start after filling up with gas

Smoke collects in the gas tank when you fill your vehicle with fuel. These vapors are stored until the vehicle is running at a speed where the purge valve opens and the vapors can be used as fuel. A faulty bleeder valve will cause too much fuel to enter the engine's combustion chamber and make starting difficult after refueling the vehicle.

possible solutions

  • Eliminate non-fuel related reasons your car might not start. Please check whether the battery is low or exhausted and make sure all the parts mentioned above are working properly.
  • Check the steam canister purge valve to make sure it is not stuck or broken.

What do you do when your car hesitates to start?

In this overview of the reasons why your car may hesitate to start, we explore various physical and environmental factors that could be causing your car's engine problems. Hopefully this guide has given you some self-directed steps you can take to figure out why your car won't start and get it back on track.


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