Modern cars are complex things but, over the last 100 years, there are some systems that really haven’t changed that much. The starting system is one of these and having a car that won't start is one of the most common reasons to call a mechanic.
Before we jump into a little more detail, the best things to try before calling a mechanic are;
1. Lock and unlock car then try starting again.
2. If you have a push button start car, hold the key against the start button while trying to start.
3. Try to jump start the car.
4. Call a mechanic.
What is happening when your car doesn’t start though?
The starting system relies on 3 key components to start the car, the battery, the starter and the ignition switch.
While the starter motor and the battery are technologies that haven’t changed too much in recent years, one area that has rapidly advanced is ignition switched. Many cars now have push button start and a dead key battery can quickly cause a car not to start. Before spending time jump starting, the best course of action is to hold the key against the push start button. This gives the car a better chance of talking to the key and can save hours of lost time trying to discover why jump starting won’t help.
On top of this, even cars that still have a key still require the key to talk to the car to unlock the immobiliser. For this reason (if the car isn’t starting) it can also be beneficial to just lock and unlock the car, as you’re giving the key another chance to talk to the car.
If this doesn’t help, the next culprit is most usually a dead battery. When a battery is dead or low on charge, it is common for the car to turn over slowly or make a fast, high pitch clicking noise. This is a sign that the battery doesn’t have enough electricity stored to start the car and is often solved with a jump start. After a jump start, you should always check that the lights or radio weren’t left turned on and have a battery and charging test done by a mechanic.
The next part of the starting system is the starter motor. This is an electric motor that has a small driving gear that engages with the engine. When the starter motor is fed electricity from the battery, the small driving gear spins the motor up to a speed where the fuel and air is able to burn properly, starting the motor.
While starter motors rarely cause issues at all, they are still good to keep in mind. However, these are the few steps you can try to before calling your honest mechanic if your car won’t start.