Car ignition problems have a knack of turning up during the most inopportune time and in the most inconvenient places like when you are in the middle of nowhere on your way to an important job interview. Here are ten techniques to troubleshoot this motoring menace:
1. Clean your battery posts. Remove corrosion and dirt in the contact area between your battery posts and the wire clamps that connect to your battery.
2. Jumpstart your car. First of all, carry a multimeter tester in your car. Its cheap and takes up negligible space in your toolbox. But if you are one of those people who hate to carry one around, the only way to find out if your battery is dead or dying is by jumpstarting with the help of another car. If your car starts without a hitch, your battery is most likely the problem.
3. Blame the ignition switch. If you can be fairly certain that your battery isnt the problem, blame the ignition switch. Turn the key to the on position but not all the way to start. If the low battery warning lights on your dashboard dont light up, then you may indeed have a faulty ignition switch. To confirm your suspicions, turn on the headlights before starting the car. If the headlights dont dim drastically or turn off completely when you try starting, then you are right about blaming the switch.
4. Investigate the starter. Make sure the starter doesnt have a loose connection. Its easy to see the wires that connect to the starter motor, assuming you know what a starter motor looks like. If not, search Google Images for car+starter+motor. Now!
6. Test the ignition coil. Use a multimeter tester that can measure impedance. In the absence of a multimeter tester, use your hands to feel if there is any current in the coil when the car is started. Really, a lot of people do this but I dont recommend it.
7. Inspect the coil wires. Examine the coil wires and see if they are shorted or broken then use the multimeter tester to ensure their connectivity.
8. Wipe the distributor cap. Remove the cap and wipe off any moisture with a clean and dry cloth. Look for cracks and replace when necessary.
9. See if the oil filter is clogged. The oil filter has an average lifespan of about 12,000 miles.
10. Tighten electrical connections. Your cars fuel injection system has a lot of electrical connections. In simple terms, tighten every electrical connection you can get your hands on under the hood.
If you have already exhausted these 10 easy ways but your car still refuses to start, there could be a bigger problem that requires an experts attention. The question isnt whether you should call a mechanic or a towing service. The question is: If you were on your way to an important job interview, why, for Petes sake, did you have to stop in the middle of nowhere and turn off the engine?
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Car Starting Problems
10 Do-it-yourself Ways to Solve Car Starting Problems
5. Check your fuses. While its understandable that you are about to blow a fuse by now, try having a little more patience. If your car has a fuse box which is associated with the starting system, you might want to make sure that the problem is not as simple as a blown fuse. You might want to do this before getting your hands dirty with step numbers 1 to 4. Oops, sorry!