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The most common reasons you car won't start The most common reasons you car won't start

AA Car Insurance

The most common reasons you car won't start

Published 14th June 2023Read Time 7 min

Why won’t my car start? We’ve all been there…you’re running out the door on a chilly Monday morning to get to work. You turn the key in your car, but nothing happens! Thankfully, there’s an easy fix for some of these issues.

a steering wheel and dashboard of a car
Car won’t start, what do you do now?

1. Flat Battery

Probably the most common reason your car won’t start is down to the battery. We see this all of the time, and many of our Rescue call outs are for batteries. It can happen for a whole host of reasons such as leaving some lights on.

Thankfully, a few minutes to jump start the car should be enough to get you back up and running. If the problem persists, then you might be in need of a replacement battery. If you’re not feeling up to the job of jumpstarting yourself, just give us a call and our Roadside Rescue will sort you out!

The best thing is to make sure it doesn’t go flat in the first place, and our quick guide has you covered on how to avoid this!

black and brown handle hand tool
Jump starting a flat battery

2. Faulty immobiliser

Immobilisers are great for stopping other people starting your car and stealing it! But not as useful when it stops you getting your own car going. Like any piece of machinery, they can go wrong sometimes.

Frequently it is something as simple as a loose connection, and you can push it back in yourself. Or maybe the battery in your key is dead or too low.

3. Fuel problems

Although it might seem obvious, it does happen from time to time that you have run out of fuel and your car won’t start. Although cars have warning lights and a reserve level of fuel, some people can still run out.

Another issue arises if you have put the wrong fuel into your car. Do not drive your car if this is the case! Call us for our Fuel Assist service to get you back on the road. You can learn more about misfuelling your car here.

person taking a photo of blue and white gasoline station
Putting the wrong fuel in the tank

4. Ignition is stuck

You go to turn the ignition but the key and wheel won’t turn. The steering lock might be jammed. Often this is because the wheel is parked tight against an object such as a path.

Trying the steering wheel in both directions while you turn the key might give you enough space to get the ignition going. Just be careful not to twist the key too hard and break it!

You could also try to get the car away from the kerb slightly. But be careful doing this! You might have to release the handbrake and have someone push you a few inches away. Obviously, you shouldn’t try this on a steep incline.

5. Starter Motor problems

The starter motor is the crucial bit that starts the engine running after you turn the key. A good portion of the callouts that our Rescue Service gets ends up being a faulty starter motor.

If you hear a loud ‘click’ noise when you try to turn the key then it could well be the starter motor. More than likely a mechanic will need to assess the Starter Motor and electrical systems to see exactly what the problem is.

gray and black engine
It pays to have AA Membership!

There are many other reasons that your car won’t start beyond what we listed above. Our Patrols are qualified mechanics and they fix 8 out of 10 at the roadside. We don’t just tow your car to the closest garage, we try to get you going on the spot.