You greet the day, ready to tackle everything that’s on your schedule, with a positive attitude. As you head out to your car, however, that positivity suddenly turns to negativity when you put your key into the ignition, turn it, and it won’t start.

What should you do? Well, for starters, once you’ve finished banging on the steering wheel and spattering some colorful words, collect yourself; while being frustrated is totally understandable, kicking and screaming isn’t going to fix anything. How should the situation? – Try to start the car again and pay attention to what happens next, as it will give you some insight into what’s happening under the hood so you can figure out what your next steps should be.

What To Do When Your Car Won’t Start?

Here’s a look at some of the most common reasons why your car won’t start and how to troubleshoot these issues.


If your vehicle makes a clicking sound when you turn the ignition but the engine doesn’t come to life, chances are you have a weak battery. Flip on the lights; if they shine brightly, that means your battery still has juice but your connection may be loose, or there may be a problem with the alternator or starter.

If the lights are on, try tightening the connections to the battery or giving it a jump. You could also try smacking the starter (seriously); sometimes, the electrical contacts between the starter and the engine can get stuck and little smack may be all that’s needed to free up the electricity.

Normal Engine Sound with No Fire

If the engine makes its usual cranking sound but it won’t fire, the problem could be your gas tank; namely, there isn’t enough fuel in it. In to turn the engine, a car needs to have a certain amount of gas; if it doesn’t combustion can’t occur; without combustion, the engine isn’t going to turn. Check the gas gauge; if it’s low, add fuel to the tank and you should be back up and running in no time.

Cranking and Spinning Sound

If your car is emitting a high-speed cranking and spinning sound, a broken timing belt could be the reason why it isn’t starting. When this happens, the connection between the top portion and the bottom portion of the engine is broken, leaving some of the valves open. When that happens, there’s no resistance for the pistons and they’ll continue to move up and down at a fast rate. If that’s the case, the timing belt needs to be replaced.


The above-mentioned are some of the most common reasons why a car won’t start, but there are various other factors that could be causing the problem. When in doubt, call a tow truck and have a reputable mechanic identify the problem.

Dave & Rays Automotive Repair Shop in Omaha, NE

Our team has learned one thing: automotive problems are as varied and unique as the customers who bring them to us. Fortunately, our decades of experience in auto service and repair also mean that our skilled network of professionals is ready to accommodate an impressive scope of automotive issues. Contact us today.

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