What's Wrong When the Engine Cranks But The Car Won't Start?

Have you ever found yourself turning your car key in the ignition…but your engine refuses to fully start? It might crank, but that’s all it’ll offer. There are a lot of reasons this could happen. But the root of all causes behind your engine’s inability to start always points back to three issues: the car’s lack of fuel, spark or compression. 


So, before you bang your head against the steering wheel out of frustration, consider the previously mentioned symptoms and how they could be causing your engine malfunction. Knowing and understanding these symptoms will enable you to fully explain your car troubles to your mechanic, who will then be able to officially diagnose and fix the problem. Luckily for you, the experts at Living the Dream Auto Care are here to educate you on common car engine issues. 

Insufficient Fuel Pressure

Your car needs fuel to work — that’s an obvious given. If you know your tank is filled up and you don’t hear the fuel pump buzz when you turn on the ignition, it means your pump is dead. When it is dead, the fuel is unable to reach the engine. You will need to take your car to a mechanic, where they may run a few tests on it before examining its electrical circuit. 


Sometimes, there’s another fuel-related culprit: Contamination makes its way inside your car’s gas tank. Should this happen, you will need to have your vehicle towed to a gas-tank specialist for them to check out the damage. There could also be a problem with the car’s fuel pump relay, fuse or main relay. If that is the case, you will need to get the relay or module replaced. 

Lack of Spark

A lack of spark usually occurs when there is an issue with the ignition. There might be a problem with the ignition’s module, circuit or switch. The lack of spark, in turn, causes the engine to misfire. 


There are various methods for checking whether or not your engine problems are occurring due to a lack of spark. However, if you are not comfortable working with cars by yourself, a professional mechanic will be able to check it for you. 

Little or No Compression

Severe overheating in a car’s cylinders often leads to a loss of compression inside the engine. The skipping of a chain or timing belt, as well as a snapped overhead camshaft, can also cause an engine to lose its compression. This usually happens when a timing belt breaks or becomes loosened. When there is little or no compression, it is usually best to have the whole engine replaced. 


If you find yourself dealing with a faulty engine, contact the repair team at Living the Dream Auto Care immediately. We can assist you with everything from bad fuel pumps to faulty ignition coil packs to PCM power circuit issues. Before you know it, your engine will be up and running in no time!

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