Have you been having problems starting your car, but the battery is fine? It can be frustrating and confusing to experience this issue but don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s common for car owners to experience this problem from time to time.
So, today, I’ll be discussing why the car not starting but battery is fine.
If the engine cranks but the car won’t start the reasons are insufficient fuel, faulty spark plug, engine compression loss, clogged fuel injectors filters, etc. But if the engine is not cranking that indicates a bad battery, faulty starter motor or ignition switch, broken flywheel, etc.
Now, let’s talk about the issue of why the car won’t start when the battery is fine.
Car Not Starting But Battery Is Fine – What Else Could Be Wrong?
Here are other possible reasons why this issue might occur if the battery is fine. In two different situations, the engine cranks, but the car won’t start, and in another, the engine doesn’t crank at all. Let’s find out the reasons and possible solutions.
Engine Cranks But The Car Won’t Start:
Reason 1: Insufficient Fuel
The first and most common reason is insufficient fuel. If you don’t get enough fuel, the engine won’t get the required power to start the car. Additionally, if you live in a cold area, the fuel line might be frizzed since fuel can crystallise in extreme temperatures (-40 degrees Farenheit).
Solution: Check the fuel gauge meter, and fill the tank with sufficient fuel. Inspect for a frozen fuel line and use an alcohol-based fuel antifreeze additive. The antifreeze additive will absorb moisture and allow fuel to pass through the fuel lines easily. One of the most popular and trustworthy antifreeze additives is HEET.
Reason 2: Bad Battery Connection
Another reason is, having a bad battery connection. If the connection is ripped, loose or corroded, it disrupts normal current flow from the battery to the components.
Diagnosis: Bad battery connection will have some signs. Here’s how to diagnose it.
- Lack of electricity in your vehicle.
- Dim headlights that indicate low voltage.
- Battery is not charging or holding the charge.
Solution: Replace the damaged wirings accordingly. To clean the corrosion from the battery, follow the below steps.
- Disconnect the negative cable (abbreviated NEG or marked with a negative sign). Enter the security code if your vehicle needs it.
- Then remove the positive cable (red), and check cables for excess wear or peeling insulation. Replace cables if damaged, or frayed
- Clean the corrosion by applying baking soda and water paste or using a battery cleaning spray. Use a wire brush to scrub off terminals if needed, then rinse with water. Dry the battery, terminals, and cables using a microfiber cloth.
Reason 3: Your Vehicle Isn’t In Park Or Neutral
If your car is not in park or neutral, you may experience problems starting the engine or shifting gears. For safety reasons, you can only start your car’s engine when the automatic transmission is in Park or Neutral. In most cars, the transmission has a range (position) switch or sensor, also known as a “neutral safety switch”.
Solution: To avoid these issues, ensure the car is in the park or neutral before attempting to start the engine. Additionally, ensure the handbrake is engaged to prevent the car from moving while you work on it. If you cannot shift the car into park or neutral, it may indicate a problem with the transmission.
Reason 3: Faulty/Damaged Fuse
Fuses protect the wiring and ensure the proper functioning of the vehicle’s electrical components. If the starter fuse or the ignition fuses are not working properly or the fusible connections are broken, it can prevent the car from starting. The power needed to create a spark and ignite the engine can be stopped from reaching the starter relay due to a faulty or blown fuse.
Solution: Proceed with the following solution.
- Locate the fuse panel (as indicated in your manual)
- Identify the blown fuse. Use a fuse puller or nose pliers to remove the fuse.
- Replace with a fuse with the correct amperage to avoid electrical issues.
Reason 4: Faulty/Broken Distributor Cap or Rotor
An ignition coil directs high voltage current to spark plugs through the distributor to ignite air-fuel mixture inside the engine. If the distributor cap is not securely fastened or the rotor malfunctions, it can result in the spark not traveling and thus disrupting the ignition process.
Diagnosis: Here are the symptoms of a bad or faulty distributor cap/rotor.
- Engine misfires or stalls
- Weird squealing noises
- Engine runs poorly or lacks power
- Backfiring or popping from the engine
- Engine idles rough or unevenly
- Engine won’t start or has difficulty starting
- The Check Engine light is illuminated
Solution: If you face these symptoms that confirm the distributor cap or rotor is faulty and needs to be replaced. Here’s how you can replace a bad distributor cap/rotor.
Step 1: Disconnect the negative battery cable. Locate the distributor cap following the vehicle owner’s manual or a repair manual, if needed.
Step 2: Loosen the distributor cap. Some older caps are secured with two J-hooks and need to be pushed down and rotated 90 degrees to loosen. Other styles use snap clips or machine screws as retainers.
Step 3: Lift the cap straight up to clear the rotor. Disconnect the coil wire if necessary. Transfer the spark plug wires one by one from the old cap to the new cap, following the positions of the wires on the old cap.
Step 4: Inspect the distributor shaft for excessive play or lash before installing the rotor.
Remove the old rotor and install the new one, ensuring it is aligned the same way as the old one.
Step 5: Place the new cap on the distributor and rotate it until the alignment tab allows the cap to drop into place.
Step 6: Reconnect the distributor cap and the short plug wire to the ignition coil. Finally, double-check all wire connections and reconnect the negative battery cable.
Reason 5: Faulty Fuel Pump Relay
A fuel pump relay is an electrical switch in a vehicle’s electrical system that controls the operation of the fuel pump. By connecting the fuel pump to the vehicle’s main power source, the fuel pump receives power only when the engine is running.
Diagnosis: here are some possible signs of a faulty fuel pump relay:
- Engine stalling or not starting.
- Check engine light is turning on.
- No noise from the fuel pump.
- Inconsistent acceleration.
Solution: The fuse box often has multiple relays for different functions. The simplest way to determine if a relay is bad is to swap it with another and observe if the issue is resolved. Replacing a fuel pump relay is a complex process. Consider watching this video.
Reason 6: Faulty Spark Plug
A spark plug is a small device that is responsible for creating sparks to ignite the air-fuel mixture to start the engine. Consequently, if the spark plug is damaged, the engine will not start. A faulty spark plug will show several symptoms, including trouble starting, rough idling, engine misfiring, decreased fuel efficiency, etc.
Solution: Inspect the spark plug. If the spark plug is dirty, you can clean it with sandpaper, using a file, carb cleaner or with the spark plug cleaner machine. Meanwhile, you can visually inspect a spark plug to determine its condition, bad spark plug will show signs of damage.
Here’s an easy-to-follow diagnosis guide to inspecting a spark plug visually. Follow the table below, along with the explanation and the causes.
|Spark Plug Condition
|Explanation and Causes
|Normal Spark Plug
|There are brown or grayish-tan deposits on the electrodes of this normal, fully working spark plug. If your spark plug looks similar to this, then it indicates it’s in perfect condition and no action is necessary.
|Carbon-Fouled Spark Plug
|This is the visual representation of a carbon-fouled spark plug. Carbon-fouling of the insulator tip and electrodes is indicated by black, dry soot. A dirty air filter, excessive low-speed driving, a rich fuel/air mixture, or idling for an extended period can cause this problem
|Oil Fouled Spark Plug
|An oil-fouled plug can be identified by the black, oily deposits on electrodes and insulator tips. Oil may be leaking into the cylinders, getting past worn pistons or valve guides. In this case, you have to find the source of the leakage.
|Here‘s what a worn-out spark plug looks like. As shown in the picture, it has eroded electrodes. When spark plug electrodes are worn and eroded, the plug is past its prime and needs to be replaced.
|Broken or flattened electrodes indicate the wrong spark plugs were installed. As can be seen from the picture, a broken electrode spark plug looks similar to this.
|Lead Fouled Spark Plug
|Lead fouled spark plug parts with brownish-yellow glazing, which may also be greenish in color. Fuel additives or leaded fuel can cause this problem.
|Ash Fouled Spark Plug
|You can see from the picture, ash fouled spark plug parts have a thick, light-colored ceramic-like compound coating. Excessive use of fuel and/or oil additives can cause this issue.
These conditions indicate that your spark plug needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Replace the spark plug following the recommendation provided in the user manual. Here is an extensive video tutorial on how to change a spark plug.
Reason 7: Engine Compression Loss
An internal combustion engine compresses the mixture of air and fuel inside its combustion chamber. If the engine has a lower or higher compression, it might cause your car not to start. If there is a leak in the engine combustion chamber, it usually gets lower. Usually, damaged piston rings, inlet or outlet valves can cause a leak.
Solution: To solve this issue, perform a compression test on your vehicle. If you’re not sure how to do that, consult a mechanic who can do it for you. Meanwhile, you can watch this video How to do a compression test on your engine.
Reason 8: Faulty/Clogged Fuel Injectors
The function of fuel injectors in an engine is to spray fuel into the combustion chamber. The fuel injectors may fail to spray fuel properly if they become clogged or damaged, which causes the engine not to start or run poorly.
Solution: If the fuel injectors are clogged, you have to clean them properly with any kind of fuel injector cleaner you prefer. Here’s a guide on how to clean clogged fuel injectors. Let’s see which tools are required for this process.
- Fuel injector cleaner kit.
Now, Follow the below steps:
- Locate the fuel injectors: In most vehicles,The location of fuel injectors can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle, but in general, fuel injectors are usually located in the intake manifold or the cylinder head. However, the location of the air filter may vary depending on the vehicle type and model, find the location from the user manual.
- Remove the fuel injectors: Then you have to remove the fuel injectors with a fuel injector removal tool. It should be located on any side of the engine, locate and gently remove it from the fuel pump. Removing fuel injectors requires some mechanical skill and should be done with caution to prevent damage to the fuel system and engine.
- Remove the pressure regulator vacuum: The next step is to disconnect the pressure regulator vacuum if your car has one. Follow the vacuum line, it should be located behind the fuel injectors (location may vary) and disconnect it.
- Connect the cleaning kit: Now, take the cleaning kit and connect it to the fuel port. Attach the hose and fit it according to the directions in your cleaning kit. Depending on the kit, you should ensure that both the hose and the port are properly attached to the fitting, and that there’s no exposure.
- Prevent pressure buildup: Remove the fuel tank cap before starting the cleaning to prevent excess pressure from building up. There is a possibility of combustion inside the tank if the pressure increases.
- Turn the vehicle on: Start your engine and let it run for a few minutes and ensure that your fuel pump is turned off. As soon as the cleaning fluid has been used up, the motor will stop running on its own. The cleaner usually cycles through the injectors and uses up within around 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove the kit: Finally, remove the cleaning kit and reconnect the fuel pump. Also, re-attach the fuel tank cap and pressure regulator vacuum, and start the engine to verify it’s working properly.
Summary:To clean clogged fuel injectors first, locate the fuel injectors, remove them, remove the pressure regulator vacuum, and connect the cleaning kit. Finally, turn the vehicle on for 5-10 minutes for the fuel to cycle through, then turn the engine on to verify.
You’ll also need a device called Direct Thru Injector cleaner (DIT). Watch this: How to Clean Fuel Injectors in Your Car (Without Removal).
Now, if the fuel injectors are completely damaged, hire an expert to replace them.
Reason 9: Clogged Fuel Filter
A fuel filter is responsible for removing all kinds of contamination from the fuel. If the fuel is contaminated, it will clog the fuel filter over time. This can result in the engine misfiring and reducing its performance and in the long run leading to car starting issues.
Solution: You must clean the fuel filter from any kind of debris and replace it if faulty. Here’s a short step-by-step guide to properly clean the clogged fuel filter in your vehicle. Follow the steps thoroughly in the correct order.
- Hose clamps
- Carburetor cleaner
- Relieve fuel system pressure: To prevent fuel from spilling out, you’ll need to relieve the fuel system pressure. Check the owner’s manual of your vehicle to locate the fuse for the fuel pump.
After removing it, start your engine and let it run for one to two minutes. Sputtering happens before the timer expires, which means the pressure has been relieved. The method can vary by vehicle make and model.
- Disconnect the battery’s negative terminal: It’s essential to disconnect the battery since a spark could ignite the gas fumes. Locate the battery on your vehicle, find the negative(-) or black cable and disconnect it.
- Locate the fuel filter: Locate the fuel filter: Fuel filters are usually located in the fuel line, either near the fuel tank or near the engine. The exact location of the battery can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
- Remove the fuel filter: Use a wrench or hose clamp to remove parts as required to remove the fuel filter from the vehicle. You will need to unscrew all the bolts that hold the filter in place.
- Clean the fuel filter: Clean the fuel filter with a spray carburetor cleaner. Follow the cleaner’s instructions, and be sure to wear gloves and eye protection. Remember that replacement is the best option if the fuel filter is excessively dirty or damaged.
After cleaning the fuel filter, re-assemble it and screw the bolts and brackets into place. All done! You have successfully cleaned the clogged fuel filter.
Summary:To clean a fuel filter first, gather the required tools, Relieve fuel system pressure, and then Disconnect the battery’s negative terminal. Now, Locate the fuel filter and remove it with a wrench and hose clamp. Finally, clean the fuel filter and reinstall it.
Reason 10: Incorrect Engine Timing
Engine timing refers to the synchronization between the engine camshaft and the crankshaft. If the synchronization is lost or incorrect, it severely affects the engine and causes it not to start at all.
It can either happen due to a bad timing belt, chain, or a faulty crankshaft positioning sensor. If the crankshaft positioning sensor is faulty, it will cause the spark plug to fire incorrectly. This results in reduced performance and engine damage.
Solution: Inspect the timing drive system of your vehicle. It should be equipped with either a timing belt or chain; replace them if necessary. Additionally, diagnose the crankshaft positioning sensor and replace it accordingly. Consider watching these videos on how to inspect the timing drive system of your vehicle:
[EN] Engine timing chain drive inspection and replacement
How to Check Your Timing Belt
Engine Not Cranking and Car Won’t Start:
There are several possible causes for a car not starting if its engine doesn’t crank. The followings are some common causes and possible solutions:
Reason 1: Faulty Key Fob Battery
When you press the Start button in a push-start system car, and the engine crank fails, it means that your key fob is having issues or the battery is dead. If the key fob battery is dead, the button will not receive a signal from the key fob, and as a result, the car will not start.
Solution: Replace the key fob battery, follow the below steps.
- Use a coin or small screwdriver to open the battery cover.
- Identify the battery, which resembles a silver coin or button
- Battery has numbers and voltage written on top of the battery.
- Install the new battery and test the key fob.
Reason 2: Dead battery
If the battery is dead, the engine will not crank. To check if this is the problem, you can use a multimeter to check the battery voltage. The voltage reading of a healthy battery should be between 12.6 and 12.8 volts.
Solution: If the battery voltage is low, try jump-starting the car or recharging the battery using a charger. It won’t hold a charge if the battery is completely dead, so replace it.
Reason 3: Bad Starter
It is the starter that turns the engine over when you turn the key. If the starter is not working correctly or the fuse is blown, the engine will not crank.
Solution: Check if this is the problem by tapping the starter with a hammer or using a test light to check for power. Starters need to be replaced if they are bad. Here’s how you can replace your car starter. Watch this video guide on replacing car starters
Reason 4: Faulty Ignition Switch
The ignition switch sends power to the starter of the vehicle. If the ignition switch is not working properly, the starter will not receive power, and the engine will not crank.
Solution: Use a test light to check for power at the starter to see if this is the problem. If the ignition switch is bad, it will need to be replaced.
Reason 6: Faulty Ground Cable Wiring
Ground cables, also called negative battery cables, or ground wires, connect the negative terminal of a car battery to the car’s body. All electrical components within the car rely on this cable to function. Ground cable problems result in a car not starting because the power flow is interrupted, preventing the engine from cranking.
Diagnosis: Here are the common symptoms of faulty cable wiring as follows:
- A dim or flickering dome light
- A malfunctioning fuel pump
- A dead battery
- Sporadic sensor malfunction
- Electrical devices turn on and off unexpectedly
- A slipping clutch in the AC compressor
- Damaged throttle or cables
- Difficulty starting the engine.
Solution: Inspect the ground cable wiring for visual damage and replace the wire if damaged, frayed, or burnt. Car batteries typically require 12-volt power supplies, which are compatible with standard 6-gauge battery cables. Despite being able to withstand up to 60 volts, the battery cable is best suited for 12-volt electrical systems.
Reason 5: Broken Flywheel
The flywheel is the part of the engine that the starter gear engages with to turn the engine over. Having a misaligned, damaged, or broken flywheel will prevent the starter gear from engaging and the engine from cranking.
Solution: To check if this is the problem, you can remove the starter and visually inspect the flywheel for damage. If the flywheel is damaged, it will need to be replaced. Consider watching this video How to Replace a Flywheel on a Honda
How Do You Know the Battery Is Fine?
The following methods can be used to determine if a car battery is in good condition:
- Battery voltage: You can use a multimeter to check the battery voltage. A healthy battery should have a voltage of 12.6V. If the voltage is below 12V, the battery may need to be recharged or replaced.
- Battery terminals: The battery’s terminals should be clean and free of corrosion. If the terminals are corroded, it can prevent the battery from charging properly and cause poor electrical connections.
- Battery connection: Check the battery connections to ensure they are tight and secure. Loose connections can cause poor electrical connections, preventing the car from starting.
- Battery load test: Battery load tests check a battery’s ability to deliver power and hold a charge. You can perform this taste with the help of a professional mechanic or take your car to an auto parts store.
By following the above steps, you can easily test whether the battery is actually fine or not. If it’s damaged or worn out, consider replacing it with a new one.
Summary:To determine whether the battery is fine, it should have a voltage of 12.6V, and the terminals should be clean and free of corrosion. Also, loose connections can cause poor electrical connections, which can prevent the car from starting.
How Do I Know If My Starter Relay Fuse Is Blown?
To check the electrical resistance, connect the multimeter probes to the ground lead and ignition circuit terminal. If the reading exceeds 5 Ohms, replace the starter relay fuse. If you don’t have a multimeter, you can use a wire. Wire one end to the ignition circuit and the other to the battery; if the click is weak, that means the fuse is faulty.
Where Are Starter Fuses Located?
The location of a starter fuse can vary depending on the make and model of a vehicle. In some vehicles, the starter fuse may be located in the main fuse box under the hood or in the vehicle’s cabin. In other vehicles, the starter fuse may be located in the under-hood fuse box or near the battery.
What Causes Relay Failure?
Primarily, the relay failure is caused because of two common reasons: contamination and mechanical wear. The internal switching components of a relay can be influenced by dirt, dust, and other debris. Additionally, mechanical wear and tear on the internal switching components over time can cause them to malfunction.
The Bottom Line
That was everything on your query about car not starting but battery is fine. Hopefully, you’ve got all the explanations and solutions. Always perform routine maintenance of your car and battery according to the manufacturer’s recommended intervals.
No more today, wear your seatbelts and drive safely. Goodbye, see you later.