It used to be like it was cranking for the first few seconds after turning the key and then the car would spring to life. You wait for a few minutes so it can warm up ready to be driven again. But this morning, it’s dead and you know there’s nothing and no one you can point your finger to. Don’t rush to call a car repair shop yet. Do some diagnosing first by following the steps below.
A multi-meter is all you need to perform this task. For tasks beyond checking the battery and the starter motor, have a noid light and a gauge for checking fuel pressure. Don’t forget to bring a charger for the battery, because some of these diagnostic steps require a battery that is fully charged.
First Step – Check the Battery
You might have forgotten to turn off the lights or might have cranked AC/DC all throughout the night. This is why the battery is dead. Don’t push your vehicle hard by starting it and making the alternator do all the job of supplying current to all systems. Although this recommendation may not be realistic at all times, just charge the battery.
Second Step – Check for Electrical Issues
You’ve charged the battery, but it is still not working. Under the hood, there is no movement and it is so damn quiet. You look at the dashboard and there are no lights. It is time to check for electrical issues. It can be an open circuit on the cables or the posts of the battery. Check the connections working from one end to another.
In this task, it would be beneficial for you if you can turn on the radio and make it sound loud. Every time the sound stops, it tells you that there’s something wrong with the wire you are touching. Also check for cables and clamps that might have already corroded.
Third Step – Flooding in the Engine
You did the second step, but have found that there’s nothing wrong with the electrical wirings, clamps or the battery. The next step is to check for flooding, although this type of problem is rare on fuel-injected engines. Flooding can wet the spark plugs. If this is the case, don’t disconnect the spark plugs for drying.
If yours is a fuel-injected engine, all you have to do is to set the engine to the Clear Flood setting. Lower down the throttle. Next, crank your engine. But while cranking, make sure that the pedal is held at maximum throttle. This is to prevent the computer from injecting fuel into the engine. Pump air again and again into the engine. That will be enough for the spark plugs to dry. Start the car once again.
When to Refer to the Manual
These steps are enough for you to make the engine running again. It works 95% of the time. If you’ve done all these and still the car won’t start, it’s time to get your factory manual, get more tools and start scanning deeper into the black box. The manual must be able to explain the specific architecture of the car and the appropriate diagnostic steps for this kind of problem.