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6 tips when the car won't start

If you turn the key in the ignition and your car does not start, do not despair. Before you call a tow truck, try these seven simple tips to get your car started again. The only tool you need? A shoe.

1 - Your car won't start, but don't give up hope!
Most people don't think about keeping a box of mechanic's tools in the trunk of their car. As a result, when they get stuck with an engine that refuses to start, they feel rather helpless. But if it happens to you, don't give up right away. We have compiled a list of tips before dropping, and none of them require tools. We have classified them according to symptoms, and it costs nothing to try them. Of course, they will not solve the source of the problem, and you still have to go through a maintenance inspection, but one of them could restart your car battery to allow you to drive to nearest garage.

2 - Symptom: The starter clicks
Tip: Turn the key
Turn the key to the starting position repeatedly, about 10 turns at a time. Stop and wait five minutes. Then try to start the engine.

3 - Hit the terminals with a shoe
Hit each battery post with the heel of a shoe to rotate them slightly. Then try to start the engine. A click on the starter motor can be caused by a weak battery, dirty battery terminals, a worn starter motor, or a stuck solenoid.

Here are some tips to try:

Tip: Turn the key to start the car
Turn on the dome light and watch it as you try to start the engine. If it goes out, it's a sign that the battery is really low - almost flat. To warm the battery, the terminals and the starter, try the "key turns" technique. But if the ceiling light remained on when you turned the key in the ignition, go to the next tip.

Hit the battery terminals
Failed and without tools, it is impossible to clean battery terminals fouled by corrosion. But you can try to move the terminals, or at least shake them enough to improve their contact.

Kicking the starter
If you have access to the starter motor, try kicking it with the iron rod of your car jack. Sometimes the electrical contacts get blocked and can be released by tapping on them.

Symptom: No click when you turn the key

Play with the gear lever
Keeping your foot on the brake pedal, place the gear lever in the neutral position and try to start the engine. If this does not work, return the lever to the "Park" position and try again. Moving the gear lever sometimes allows you to restore electrical contact inside the automatic transmission selector (also known as a neutral safety switch).

4 - Symptom: The engine runs but does not start
Tip: Swap relays
Pull the fuel pump relay up sharply. Then align the pins of the replacement relay and push it directly into the socket.

 5 - Hit the fuel tank
Hit the bottom of the fuel tank several times with the heel of your shoe. Then try to start the vehicle.

Swap relays
Making sure the car radio is turned off, turn the key to the on position and turn your ears to hear a two-second buzz. It is the noise of the fuel pump that initiates the injection system. If you hear no sound, the fuel pump relay may be faulty, or the pump itself may have stopped. First, locate the fuel pump relay in your owner's manual or on the legend shown on the fuse box panel under the hood. Then locate another relay with the same part number and exchange it with that of the fuel pump.

Then try to start the engine. If it still does not light, strike the fuel tank with your shoe to shake the fuel pump motor.

Save a drowned engine
If you smell petrol, the engine is flooded. Step on the accelerator pedal with your foot on the floor and hold it in this position while the engine is running.

Trap the computer
A vacuum leak or faulty temperature sensor can cause the air / fuel mixture to be too dilute to start an engine when cold. If you've tried all the tips shown here and your car still won't start, press the accelerator halfway and try to start the engine.

6 - Owner of a Ford? Read this!
One Saturday morning, my wife recently hit a tree with one side of the car. That's when she called me, "The car won't start anymore. I jumped into my van to join her. She was on the side of the road, sitting in our broken Explorer. The entire passenger side section was damaged, but not to the point of justifying engine failure. We had the car checked in a garage, but the mechanics failed to fix it for three days. The following Monday, "Dr. Rick" and I were discussing this month's Car & Garage front page article: "Starting a dead engine. "

After he shared all of his advice with me, I asked him, "Do you have any crazy tips to share as well? "Ah yes," he replied. "Most Ford models have an automatic fuel pump deactivation switch to prevent the car from igniting in the event of an accident. If the switch is on, the car will not start. What?

"Yes, the system turns off even if someone just hits you in a parking lot. I asked him how to reactivate it in this case. "Just press a small button on the kick panel on the passenger side. "

Really? That afternoon, my wife and I went to the mechanic to find our car, where I activated the reactivation button. The car started immediately, as if by magic. A quick visit from Rick the previous Saturday would have saved us the $ 100 towing fee. At least we saved on labor costs!

Rick's Note: These reset buttons are not in the same place on all cars. Consult your owner's manual.

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