Reasons Why a Car Won't Start - Service Information at Capitol Chevrolet

Your Chevrolet is designed to deliver exceptional performance, but it can't do that if it won't start. If you turn the key or press the ignition button and your car, truck, or SUV doesn't start up as it should, there are a number of possible reasons. On this page, we'll look at five of the most common. These aren't the only reasons your vehicle won't start, but they are some of the more common ones. To get your Chevy performing at its best once again, bring it to an authorized service center where expert technicians can properly diagnose the problem.

Person turning steering wheel

5. Human Error

There's a chance that there may be nothing wrong with your car at all. If you've accidentally left your headlights or dome light on, this may have drained the power from your engine's battery. In cases like these, a simple jump start may be enough to take care of the problem. If you have a car with an automatic transmission, you may not have it in Park. Try shifting it into Park and trying again. If neither of these is the root of your problem, check to see if the steering wheel lock is on. This anti-theft feature prevents the steering wheel from turning and the car from starting, and it gets activated when the wheel in your car is turned without a key in the ignition. You may have bumped your steering wheel by mistake, activating the wheel lock. To unlock your steering wheel again, gently turn it as you turn the key in the ignition.

Person checking battery charge levels

4. Gas Problems

Since gas is one of the key components of an engine's functioning, problems with getting the gasoline to the engine can cause your car not to start. Typically, a lack of fuel is due to a bad fuel pump or an empty tank. Less common reasons for fuel not getting to the engine include faulty fuel injectors or the liquid fuel could be reaching a gaseous state before reaching the intake. That's known as vapor lock. Most fuel delivery problems other than an empty gas tank should be addressed by a certified technician.

3. Dead Battery

The main purpose of your car's battery is to provide electricity to the starter, which starts the engine. If the battery doesn't have any charge left, it can't perform this function, and your car may not start. Do you know how old your battery is? Most batteries last somewhere between five to seven years, so it may be that your battery has simply reached the end of its lifespan. A jump start may help get your car started when the battery is dead. However, a bad battery or alternator probably means you'll be needing a jump start just about anytime you want to go somewhere. And, there's a good chance that a bad battery won't even accept a jumpstart or a charge.


2. Bad Alternator

A battery without any charge may not necessarily need to be replaced. While it might be a problem with the battery itself, it could also be due to a bad alternator. The alternator has two main jobs: it runs the electrical components of your vehicle while it's running, and it recharges the battery while you're driving. If the alternator isn't recharging the battery, it won't be long before there's not enough power to run the starter.

1. A Bad Starter

The starter does exactly what it sounds like: it starts your car. When you turn the key or press the ignition button, the pinion gear in the starter connects to the flywheel in the engine. An electric motor in the starter cranks the engine over, allowing it to start. But if the starter is damaged, worn, or otherwise faulty, it may not turn the engine. There are many things that could cause a starter to fail, from a bad solenoid to a pinion gear that doesn't engage the flywheel. In any case, without a functioning starter, the engine won't be able to crank. Often, it's cheaper to replace the starter entirely rather than try to repair or rebuild it.