car hesitates to start

What Does It Mean When Your Car Hesitates to Start?

VWB Blog 11 months ago 5

Vehicles with electrical starting have the advantage of convenience and fuel economy over traditional vehicles. However, even modern cars can have problems.

When you twist the key, most of the time, the engine cranks right up. It’s a rite of passage for a new driver learning to drive a manual transmission to stall the car a few times–or to stall the engine every time it’s started.

Read on to learn about potential causes for car hesitates to start and how to troubleshoot your vehicle.

Fuel Delivery Issues

This symptom typically means that the fuel is not properly reaching the car engine. The exact culprit could be anything from an issue with the fuel delivery system (clogged fuel pump, dirty fuel injectors, faulty fuel pressure regulator, etc.) or a problem with the fuel itself (low fuel level, aged fuel, bad fuel, etc.). Get the best equipment at Dieselogic.

In either case, the car will likely need to have its fuel system inspected and repaired in order to resolve the issue. Depending on the severity of the fuel delivery issue, it may require professional work or a simple DIY fix.

Bad Engine Sensor

In most cases, a bad engine sensor will cause your car to run erratically and may even stop completely. When this happens, the sensor is not providing the right information to the vehicle’s computer, which can cause unpredictable performance.

If there is a faulty engine sensor, you may notice hesitation or bogging down when starting your car or when driving. This is a sign of a faulty engine sensor because the computer is not receiving the right data for optimal vehicle operation.

Bad Battery/Connection

It is very important to have a working connection from the battery to the car starter and other electrical components in order to get the car started. If the connection becomes corroded or loose, a spark cannot be created between the two components.

It is important to make sure the connections are tightly secured so the battery can provide the electrical current required to start the vehicle. If the connection is the source of the problem, cleaning the terminals and ensuring the connectors are secure will usually solve the issue.

Fouled Spark Plugs or Ignition Coils

When your car hesitates to start, fouled spark plugs or ignition coils could be the cause. This means that improper amounts of oil, gasoline, air, or other contaminants have caused one or more spark plugs to become clogged or coated.

This can disrupt the flow of electricity and cause difficulty in starting the car. If this is the source of your troubles, it’s important to replace the plugs and coils as soon as possible, as they are key components of an engine’s ignition system.

Fouled spark plugs or ignition coils can cause stalling, rough idling, and even misfiring, resulting in decreased fuel efficiency and increased emissions. Diagnostic tools like OBD2 scanners are able to detect the exact issue and help pinpoint the source of the problem.

Poor Fuel Quality

Poor fuel quality can cause your vehicle to hesitate when starting. This could mean that you have contaminated gasoline in your tank or even stale gas. A fuel filter that is clogged can also cause your car to hesitate when trying to start.

When the fuel filter is clogged, the gasoline has difficulty getting through the filter, meaning that less gas is delivered to the engine. Having old gas in the tank can also be the cause of the hesitation. If your gas is more than 30 days old, it is likely to have lost its combustible properties, making it harder to start the vehicle.

In any case, contaminated or stale gasoline is likely the cause if your car hesitates to start, and it is important to ensure that you use fresh gas in your car that meets the manufacturer’s specifications.

Malfunctioning Starter

When your car hesitates to start, it is a sign of a malfunctioning starter. A starter is a device in your vehicle that gets it started, and if it is not working correctly, then your car will have difficulty starting.

The first symptom of a failure is that when you turn the key, the engine will either crank slower than usual or not at all. Other signs that can indicate its malfunction include the starter staying in place after you turn the key and clicking sounds when cranking.

If your starter is malfunctioning, it would be wise to take your car to a certified mechanic and get it checked and fixed as soon as possible.

Clogged Air Filter

When you turn the key to start your car, and it hesitates, it typically means there is a clogged air filter. The air filter works to remove particles in the air and impurities from entering your car’s engine.

A clogged air filter restricts airflow to the engine, resulting in poor performance. In addition, the engine may not be able to mix air and fuel together, resulting in difficulty starting or running the engine. This will cause the car to hesitate to start, and you will experience slower acceleration because the engine is not getting as much air as it should.

It’s important to replace the air filter to avoid inhibited performance, wear and tear on the car’s engine and other parts, and, ultimately, an expensive repair.

Failing Alternator

Alternators are responsible for generating electricity to power the car, and if the alternator isn’t functioning properly, it won’t be able to create the electrical current needed to start up the engine.

This can result in the engine not turning over when the starter is engaged, or it could cause the engine to turn over but stall out. Signs of a failing alternator include dim lights, hearing a grinding sound, and the battery light on the dashboard turning on.

If you’re experiencing these issues, you need to have your car alternator examined immediately. Ignoring a failing alternator can lead to more serious problems and possible breakdowns.

Explore How to Diagnose a Car Hesitates to Start

It could be a variety of issues, but the most important thing is to be aware of the symptoms and identify the cause. Diagnosing a car hesitates to start by following basic car maintenance protocols.

Always remember to keep your car tuned up and running at its best.

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