A Car Not Starting vs. Not Turning Over – What Can You Do?


What’s the difference in a car not starting as opposed to not turning over? What can you do in either scenario? We’ll be answering these questions right here, right now!

Determining whether your car is not starting versus not turning over will decide what you should do next. To figure out which, listen to what happens when you turn the key to try and start the car. If nothing happens, or you just get a click, that is your car not turning over. If you hear the starter engage and spin the engine, but the engine won’t run, that is your car not starting.

Car Not Turning Over

If you turn the key and nothing happens, or you just hear clicking but the starter doesn’t spin the engine, you have what we call a “no crank” scenario. Basically, the starter isn’t cranking the engine over like it should for some reason.

The starter, the battery, and the alternator are the first components utilized in order to start the car. The alternator keeps the battery charged, and the starter uses the energy stored in the battery to get your engine spinning until it’s able to start. So, these are among the first things you should check in a no-crank scenario. Make sure your battery connections are clean and tight, and the battery is charged. Have someone give you a jump start and see if that helps.

Starter – An electric motor mounted to the engine near the transmission. It engaged the flywheel with a small but powerful gear to crank the engine over.

Alternator – Generates the electrical current needed to keep the battery charged, and run the vehicle’s computer systems. While it’s probably not the cause of your no-crank, it can be the cause of a faulty battery.

Battery – acts as a power storage device, delivering the large jolt of energy needed to start the car when you turn the key. A bad battery or weak battery connection is the #1 cause of a no-crank.

Car Not Starting

If you hear the starter working to crank the engine when you turn the key, but the engine fails to run, you have what we call a no-start scenario. In addition to the components required to spin the engine, your engine requires a few things to start. Air, Fuel, Spark, and Compression must be present in the correct amount, and at the right time. Unfortunately, short of making sure there is gas in the car and your air filter is clean, there’s not a whole lot you can do to remedy this situation without special tools.

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