One of the most common reasons why people call a towing company is because they just can’t get their cars to start. They may be stranded at home, on the side of the road, or in a parking lot of a store, restaurant, or business. Whatever the location, it can be frustrating to turn the key and have nothing happen, especially when you have to be somewhere in a hurry. However, knowing some of the most common reasons why a car doesn’t start can help you further assess the situation and maybe even fix it or call for another service before you pay to have it towed to a mechanic.
1. Dead battery
The average car battery lasts between two and five years, depending on the weather where you live and how you maintain your vehicle. Leaving your lights on or doors open can run your battery down, but a simple jump-off may help. If the battery is completely dead, you may need to replace it. This is why it’s good to keep a set of jumper cables in your vehicle at all times.
Speaking of batteries, they have a tendency to corrode over time. The corrosion can prevent your cables from connecting to the battery’s posts correctly. Open up your hood, and check your battery. If there is corrosion, it should be visible to the naked eye. You can clean it carefully, make sure the connection is secure, and try to start your car again. Most auto shops offer products for corrosion clean-up.
3. Ran out of gas
You may see other people run out of gas and think it can’t happen to you, but you’d be surprised. When you’re sitting in traffic longer than expected or you are too busy running errands to look at your tank, it can disappear quickly. You may even find that a faulty fuel gauge is to blame. If there is an electrical issue, it may show you have more or less than you think.
4. Clogged fuel filter
Maybe you have enough gas in the tank, but maybe it’s just not getting to the engine. That can happen when a fuel filter becomes clogged. Most experts recommend changing the filter every 10,000 to 15,000 miles. Have your mechanic check it next time you get your oil changed.
5. Security measures
Many cars are equipped with security systems and anti-theft devices these days, and while they may prevent a thief from taking your vehicle, they may also prevent you from driving to work. If your key does not turn in the ignition, try turning your steering wheel back and forth. You can also try turning the key while you jiggle the steering wheel.
6. Damaged timing belt
Most automakers recommend having your timing belt changed every five years or 60,000 miles, depending on which comes first. If you fail to make the change, it could end up being a costly mistake that results in having to replace your entire engine. The timing belt is responsible for making sure your pistons and valves never touch.