The starter motor is responsible for cranking the engine so that it can turn on and generate power for the vehicle. The battery is what produces the initial electric current for the starter motor so that it can crank the engine. Unfortunately, after this happens, there can sometimes be situations where there is not enough electrical power left to energize other important components of the vehicle, such as the fuel injectors. Without these components turning on, the engine will not be able to start after it has been cranked by the starter motor. This means that you won’t be able to drive the vehicle. Therefore, this is a problem that needs to be taken seriously.
The Most Causes
When you first notice the problem of an engine cranking but not starting, you may feel compelled to just keep trying until it starts. However, this could seriously damage your engine if you do this. The fact that you are having this much trouble starting your engine means there is a problem that must be addressed. Repeatedly attempting to start your vehicle isn’t going to change that.
Below are the top 5 causes of a car engine that cranks but does not start.
1. Low on Fuel
The engine needs an adequate supply of fuel to start. Even after it gets cranked by the motor, the fuel needs to be in place for the engine to get fired up. If there is a low supply of fuel in the gas tank for whatever reason, then you will have a cranking engine that doesn’t start. There are many reasons for the low amount of fuel. Perhaps the fuel tank is empty, or the fuel injectors are not putting enough fuel into the engine.
2. Weak Spark
The air and fuel mixture in the internal combustion chamber needs a strong enough spark to ignite it. If there is a weak spark or no spark at all, then ignition is not going to happen. Check the spark plugs, ignition circuit, ignition switch, ignition module, and the crank position sensor. Anyone of these components could be the cause of a non-starting engine. If you find that one of them does not work, simply have it replaced and then try again. The spark should be good this time.
3. Bad Starter
The starter motor is responsible for not only cranking up the engine but to direct power to the ignition components and fuel injectors too. If the starter motor is worn out, damaged, or just going badly for whatever reason, it is not going to be able to power up these other components after it cranks the engine. You need to have a healthy starter that is fully functional.
4. Bad Battery Cables
The battery cables are what connect the car battery to the starter motor. These wires are responsible for allowing the electric current to get transferred to the starter motor so that it can crank up the engine. However, if the cables are damaged or just covered with corrosion, then they will have trouble delivering this power to the starter. This will result in a weaker starter, which then results in an engine that won’t start.
Read also: 5 Causes of “ABS Light Comes On” in Your Car
5. Weak Compression
A lack of compression in the cylinders will cause the engine not to start, even if there is an engine crank. There are several reasons for this problem to occur. Perhaps the timing belt has snapped or broke, resulting in the camshaft not being able to do its job properly. If you have an overheated engine from low compression, that will make it nearly impossible to start the engine too. Only a licensed mechanic will be able to pinpoint the exact reason for the low compression.