How to Diagnose Starting Problem of Your Car – How to Know That the Problem is with Battery, Alternator or Other Component

Anyone who have a vehicle has likely experienced the frustrating moment of life and that is a vehicle starting problem, your vehicle doesn’t start, However, don’t let desperation keep you from logically figuring out why your vehicle is not getting start normally. For starting problem, lots of component are responsible. You can easily identify it, if you follow some process. So here I am going to discuses some step to identify the exact problem.

1st you have to identify the symptom. Below are the three main symptom which create this problem.

  1. Engine won’t crank or start
  2. Engine Cranks but won’t Start
  3. Engine Stop Immediately After it Start
Engine won’t crank or start
  • The car is silent when you turn the key in the ignition and try to start

If nothing happens when you turn the ignition key to the “Startposition, it means that the starter motor doesn’t turn over the engine. Most commonly this could be caused by a dead battery. Check the battery terminal cable connections. If they look really corroded, you need to clean the battery posts and cable connectors or replace the cables and try to start the engine.

  • The car makes a clicking noise but won’t start

This sound usually means a dead battery. Here is how you check battery….

Check the headlights, Are they dim or bright? (Note that in some cars you will need to turn the ignition on to test the headlights). If they are dim, it’s likely your battery is the culprit. If your headlights are bright, you do not have a dead battery. So if battery have problem then replace main battery.

Then try to start, if still engine is not cranking then check

Engine Cranks but won’t Start

When your engine cranks but won’t start, it could mean your engine is having trouble producing a spark, getting fuel or creating compression. The most common causes are in the ignition or fuel system.

  • Engine Spark Problem

Lack of spark may occur due to a damaged ignition module, a faulty crank position sensor, bad spark plug or problem in the ignition circuit (such as the wiring, security system or ignition switch)

  • Problem with Engine timing

 An inappropriate spark timing may occur if there’s an issue with the timing system. This can be difficult to diagnose. Timing light is a useful tool to check that all the cylinders are firing exactly when they are supposed to.

  • Vehicle Fuel system

Problems with fuel flow may be due to a damaged fuse for the fuel pump. A bad fuel pump, contaminated or incorrect fuel in the tank. A faulty or clogged fuel filter or injector. Or simply an empty fuel tank (Note : the fuel gauge is not always accurate). 

  • Problem in engine compression

Each cylinder needs compression for correct engine function. The compression ratio compares the maximum cylinder volume to the minimum cylinder volume during each stroke of the piston. If one or more cylinders have low compression, air from the combustion cycle leaks and passes through the piston rings. Which limits the amount of work that cylinder can do to spin the crankshaft.

  • Starter motor problem

Another possible problem is a weak starter motor that uses a lot of amps to crank the engine. this may be because of less juice left in the switch. In this case, you will probably notice that the starter makes an unusual noise when you attempt to crank the engine or it doesn’t turn over at all. 

  • Problem within the Electrical circuit

There may be the problem in the ignition circuit, such as the wiring, security system or a malfunctioning ignition switch. Also in some cases fuel pump does not actuate, spark plug or fuel injector not getting enough power to get sparked or injected fuel in cylinder. In this situation all electric circuit, wire, fuse, relay and signal need to check and if required replace one by one.  

Engine Stops Immediately After it Starts

When your car engine start but stop immediately or after a few minutes. there could be problem in one or more specific system or components.

For example

  • Faulty alternator, it don’t charge the battery and also don’t supply the sufficient power.
  • Ignition or injection system
  • Fuel injection timing, which need adjustment
  • Vacuum are getting leaks from the vacuum circuit
  • One or more faulty sensor
  • If fuel pump is not working properly then also engine stop just after start
  • Fuel injectors chocked
  • Faulty engine coolant temperature (ECT) sensor
  • Faulty crankshaft position (CKP) sensor

Usually, a bad CKP will trigger the check engine light (CEL).

2 thoughts on “How to Diagnose Starting Problem of Your Car – How to Know That the Problem is with Battery, Alternator or Other Component

  • June 19, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    I have a problem with my Chevrolet captiva 3.2l engine 2008 cranks but doesn’t start ,I changed charter but still the problem is there

    • June 22, 2020 at 9:20 am

      If your engine crank and you have already replaced starter so hope starter will ok , then check fuel system and ignition system. so 1st pls check fuel supply, fuel pressure, fuel pump if it is ok then check ignition system. if still have a problem them let me know


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