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What to Do When Your Car Doesn’t Start

We all dread jumping into our car, turning the key, and nothing happening! It’s difficult to think of anything more deflating, especially when you need to be somewhere.

What are your options when it comes to getting moving again? At Cavendish Motor Company our mission is keeping you on the road in a car that you can trust. In a bid to help, have a read of this short article we’ve put together to help you be prepared if you ever find yourself in this position.


There Are a Few Things to Check

Even though your car is a complex feat of engineering there are some checks you can make yourself before you call us at Cavendish Motor Company. Let’s take a look at some of the common causes:

  • The battery is flat or lacking charge. When this is the case either nothing happens or you may find the engine turns over slowly but not enough to spark the motor into action.
  • Automatics tend not to start unless they are in either Park or Neutral modes.
  • Using an unprogrammed key or the wrong one for your vehicle.
  • The car is filled with the wrong type of fuel.
  • A Malfunction Indicator Lamp being illuminated indicating a fault with the electronics.

 

To Check The Battery:

  • If the engine cranks properly it’s not the battery that is the problem. If the vehicle’s engine doesn’t crank at all the battery is your best bet for the cause.
  • To be sure, try to operate the wipers. If they move very slowly, it’s a good sign the battery needs recharging.
  • To do this try “Jump Starting” the vehicle. You will need jump leads and another battery, either on another vehicle or a separate slave battery. 

How To “Jump Start” Your Car

 

Generally, you would connect the two batteries with the leads and activate the slave battery. After about 10 minutes the charge between the batteries should have had a chance to equalise, so you can try firing up your vehicle again.

You must follow the instructions in the manufacturer’s manual because this confirms where the jump leads should be connected. It will also underline and specific procedures that may be needed. In many cases, the connection is not directly to the battery and if you fail to follow the right procedure there is a danger of faults or failure.

When you feel the battery is the cause of your car not starting and you would prefer to call in a professional you are welcome to contact us and we’ll take care of this for you.

 

Is Your Vehicle Immobilised?

Car anti-theft systems mean every ignition key you have for your car will be fitted with a coded chip known as a transponder.

The transponder’s data is analysed to check whether it is right for that specific vehicle every time you use the key.

If it is the right key, the car’s engine will turn over. If it isn’t then you may see a warning similar to the one shown here.

 

 

If you suspect the cause of the car not starting is down to an immobiliser issue check you are using the right key. If it isn’t the same key you usually use then find the original key and get the faulty key checked.

If you identify it is the correct key and you still have a problem try placing the key closer to the reader. Your owners manual will outline the ideal position for the key in such scenarios.

If you are still unsuccessful please contact us as our technicians are trained to solve this kind of problem.

 

No Dash Lights?

If there are no dash lights, or the wrong lights are illuminating it’s an indication there is a problem with the vehicle’s fuses.

These protect a car’s electrical circuits and each one will likely “blow” if a relevant fault occurs.

The owner’s manual should be the first port of call when you need to understand your car’s fuses.

 

 

There could be more than one fuse box and the manual will indicate where to find what you are looking for.

It will also outline how to relate each fuse to the system it protects.

Checking each one individually you can establish which fuse is the culprit and replace it.

If the fuse you replace goes again when the ignition is switched on it’s an indication that the fault needs a professional diagnosis.

If the fuses are fine, check to see if any Malfunction Indicator Light is highlighting another electrical system problem.

 

Don’t worry if these checks can’t be done. They often require specialist equipment and a trained technician. But at Cavendish Motor Company we have all that is needed to have you back on the road in a trustworthy car as soon as possible.