10 Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Start

a man having car problems on the road

All automobiles encounter all sorts of issues over time. But often, we only notice problems when our cars fail to start. Then we wonder, why won’t my car start? Well, there are many possible reasons for that. Cars are made up of several different parts with a specific function and some of these parts play a role in starting your car. Any damage on these parts can affect your car’s ability to start. 

But whether it’s due to lack of maintenance or just simply wear and tear, the fact remains that no cars are immune to having car troubles. What matters is that you know how to check the problem and fix it. 

While there may be hundreds of reasons a car won’t start, some are more common than others. Explore them below and the tips to handle the problem. 

1. Dead battery

Since the battery is responsible for supplying power to your car, any issues with it can lead to car starting problems. There’s a variety of reasons for a car battery to die including:

  • Age of the battery
  • Damage to the battery
  • Cold weather
  • Left unused for long periods

If your car refuses to start, the first thing you need to do is confirm if it is your battery that’s causing the problem. You can do that by jump-starting your car and if it works, then you’re probably dealing with a dying battery. Your next option at this point is to replace your battery with a new one.

2. Defective ignition switch

If your car won’t turn over on the first few tries and you’re certain that your battery is working properly, then perhaps the problem is caused by your ignition switch. You can eliminate the battery as the problem by turning on your headlights. If they turn on but the engine won’t start, you might be dealing with a defective ignition switch. You’ll need a mechanic to fix this issue. 

However, there’s a way to prevent this problem. You can start by avoiding the use of heavy keychains or bringing multiple keys along with your car keys because this can put stress on the ignition switch when the key is inserted. 

3. Faulty starter

A starter is an electrical motor that starts the engine when you insert the key or use a key fob. It is also another common reason a car doesn’t start. If you hear a clicking sound when trying to start your car, a faulty or broken starter is probably the reason why your car won’t start. You will need help from a mechanic to fix this problem as well. 

4. Clogged fuel filter

Fuel filters help with the delivery of fuel from the gas tank to the fuel injectors. When a fuel filter gets clogged, the fuel or gasoline won’t be able to reach the engine. And with limited fuel, your engine won’t be able to burn enough fuel it needs to get going. You should change your fuel filters every 10,000 to 20,000 km. So the next time you get your car serviced, consider replacing your fuel filters with a new one. 

5. Bad alternator

Why is my car not starting? A bad alternator can start your car but then stalls all of a sudden. You may also experience interior lights changing from bright to dim. The most obvious sign is the battery symbol appearing in your dashboard, and this usually means there’s something wrong with your alternator. If you notice this, consider getting your alternator fixed by a professional. Leaving your alternator in this state might damage your battery as well. 

6. Faulty spark plug

A faulty spark plug can malfunction completely and lead to your car failing to start. If that is the case, you will hear clicking as you turn the key but you will not hear the car trying to start up because it simply cannot since the fuel is not being ignited. There is no quick fix, so you will need to replace your spark plug, which can cost you a few hundred bucks. 

7. Clogged air filter

Every vehicle needs clean air in order to function optimally. Air filters are necessary to prevent grease, road dust, and many other types of muck to enter your vehicle. However, debris builds up over time, which can restrict your vehicle from taking the required amount of air to complete the internal combustion process. To solve this issue, all you need to do is get a new air cleaner.  

8. Locked steering wheels

Most cars have an anti-theft feature that locks your steering wheel as soon as you remove the key. When your steering wheels get stuck in a locked position, your car won’t be able to start. Don’t yank your wheel too hard. Instead, try nudging it a little to the right or left while turning the key. This may be enough for the anti-theft feature to give way and start your car. 

9. Not in park mode

Your car won’t be able to start if it is in gear. Check the gear shift to make sure you’re in park or neutral mode before trying to start your car. If it won’t start even when in park mode, you might have a faulty neutral safety switch. You will need professional help with this issue.   

10. Out of gas

My car won’t start if I run out of gas. If this happens to you, check your fuel gauge from time to time and don’t let your fuel run low too often. If ever you run out of gas while on the road, Neighborhood Roadside Assistance offers 24/7 fuel delivery services that you can trust. 


Car troubles happen all the time and there are a lot of reasons behind it. The same can be said with car starting problems. As a driver or car owner, you should know some of the common reasons so that you’ll know what to do. Hopefully, this article has helped you gain more insight and encouraged you to seek professional help when necessary.