The engine cranks for a bit before ultimately starting. This is bad if you must rush to get to work or somewhere else in a hurry. The internal combustion engine is a challenging piece of machinery that can pose many unforeseen issues and be difficult to manage.
The circumstance might be humiliating if you stop in a crowded area or travel with someone. You can figure out the problem yourself before seeing a mechanic or shelling out to fix your car.
The battery may be the biggest issue, and it can be simple, like loose battery cables, or, more serious, you have a failing battery. However, it might not be a battery power drain, and your car’s battery might even be in good condition.
Now, you need to check items like the alternator because if you have a faulty alternator, the vehicle’s charging system won’t charge the battery. In addition, if the car hasn’t been used, many other factors prevent your car from starting, even when the battery supplies power.
In our guide, you can learn more about your car struggling to start. By the end, you can see what you need to fix and plausible reasons why your car has trouble starting but runs fine once it is running. (Read Why Does My Cars Temperature Go Up And Down)
Car Charging System Components
The system helps charge the battery when starting or driving. Battery, alternator, wiring, and relays make up the charging system.
It is in the electrical power area you check first, including your car battery and other engine components, which are the life blood of your engine’s ignition lifeblood. So here are key areas to check when trying to determine why you have a parasitic power drain on your car battery.
If the charging system fails, the battery is the first component affected. Your car struggles to start but runs fine because of battery damage, yet it isn’t just this that prevents it starting.
The car’s electrical system relies on battery power and voltage. If the battery keeps dying, the starter motor and fuel pump won’t have sufficient power from the electrical systems.
Worn batteries produce electrical energy more slowly, resulting in a slower start even if everything is fine as you are driving. Check the battery for loose wire connections and tighten any loose screws.
Examine your battery terminals because corrosion occurs, and they may need cleaning. In case of corrosion, detach the battery cables and clean the dirty terminals with a brush. Just make sure you tighten the cables and wires before trying the ignition.
It is a component in charge of recharging the battery and sparking the engine. Skip this step if the alternator isn’t the reason your car struggles to start.
Because the alternator doesn’t charge the battery enough, your car struggles to start but runs fine. However, the running engine produces the energy, and the alternator needs to provide enough charge for the engine to start, so the car needs to be jumpstarted.
The symptoms are you have a faulty battery, and it is easy to purchase a new one for the wrong reasons.
There’s a chance you’ll forget the drive belts as you inspect the battery and alternator.
You may have trouble starting your car, but other than that, it may generally operate because a loose drive belt won’t turn the alternator as it should. It could therefore delay or lack the ability in the charging system. (Read Is It Bad To Sit In Car With AC On)
Wiring System Problems
The wiring system transmits power around all components, so check carefully. For example, the alternator wires are probably loose and don’t make a good connection to the charging system.
If your car won’t start, check the connections. Such bad connections can include if your car won’t start cables from your rotor to the spark plugs, affecting the ignition timing and causing a charging system delay until the engine fires.
Car Struggles To Start Because of Oil and Gas Tank
Many rookie or busy drivers forget to check the fuel meter and stress out. Check your fuel meter before calling it a day to ensure you have enough. If not, check the gas tank.
Fuel usage increases during cold weather. To ensure sure the gas tank is full, check it. Some fuels are also climate specific.
Therefore, if your current fuel is causing you too much, think about changing to a good quality fuel. In addition, oil is thick when cold, and lack of power could make your engine struggle to fire because of resistance.
Dirty Fuel System
Fuel can contaminate airborne particles, such as microbes, water, and rust. To check the content of your fuel, you can perform a weekly or monthly check.
This once more signifies low fuel content, which disrupts chemical combustion. Therefore, it must warm up a few times before the engine can run.
Car Struggles Because Of Weather Conditions
Another possibility is the state of the weather. The engines cannot start because they are too cold or too hot. The liquid electrolyte within could evaporate in hot weather. However, this takes some time to start and results in inefficient power.
The car battery may produce less voltage in cold weather due to slower chemical reactions. In addition, starting issues result from car batteries’ inability to produce the proper electric current.
The weather also impacts the strength of the battery current. After a few cranks, the car starts up with little difficulty and provides adequate fuel for combustion. Low temperature causes the engine oil to thicken, making it difficult to flow and taxing the battery.
Fuel lines can occasionally contain moisture, and low temperatures might cause them to freeze. This more frequently occurs in thin fuel lines, obstructing the flow of fuel. The ice in the fuel line means you’ll fuel flow by starting the engine a few times, and then you are ready. (Learn How To Fix Visor In Car)
Car Struggles With Fuel Pressure
Low pressure is one reason your car has trouble starting yet runs fine. That shaky start could be the result of low fuel pressure. Insufficient gas in the gas tank is one reason for low pressure. In addition, insufficient gasoline will slow down the ignition.
Broken Fuel Pump
The fuel pump has to work right for supplying fuel, so check on that as well. The cold weather can cause the pump to weaken, reducing supply to the engine.
To supply fuel, fuel pumps require a voltage to start. The pump won’t usually work if the battery voltage is low. This is another reason your car struggles to start but runs fine.
Any debris or residue in the fuel that could prevent a chemical reaction or harm the engine is collected by fuel filters. If the fuel filter is clogged with dirt, that could be another source of low pressure. It’s time for a fuel filter change or needs a thorough cleanup if too much has accumulated. Check the fuel quality to ensure the reason; if this is the issue, change your gas.
Fuel is delivered through fuel lines from tanks to engines. Because of any blockage or leakage in the fuel lines, your car struggles to start but runs fine. The fuel lines wear over time since they constantly scrape against the metal. This causes low pressure and pauses the proper flow of fuel supply.
A fuel injector is an electronically controlled valve that receives pressurized gasoline from a fuel pump. Enough energy atomizes fuel into a fine mist, making it easier to burn in the engine.
Failure of a fuel injector reduces the engine’s ability to burn enough fuel. Carbon pollution can cause valves to seize. In addition, carbon thus causing slight oil leakage under pressure, so not enough fuel reaches the engine for ignition when starting the car.
Car Struggles Because of Starter Motor
Another reason your car struggles to start but runs fine is because the starter motor isn’t connecting with the flywheel. This requires turning the engine three or four times before the engine fires.
Battery-power connects to the motor battery powered, or both fail, the car has trouble starting:
If your starter is OK, you’ll need to look at the solenoid, a coiled cylindrical structure linking your battery to the starter. A car will struggle to start because of a faulty or worn-out solenoid.
Why does the car struggle to start? A defective ignition switch, which fails to supply power to the starter motor and other engine parts, may be the reason.
It will take a few tries to get the car to start, which prevents the switch from allowing the engine to start. This electrical switch can fail, and luckily isn’t a significant job.
This device is your car starter and delivers spark plugs, the power to ignite the fuel, and converts battery voltage into electrical energy. There is not enough transformation when the ignition coil fails. As a result, there aren’t enough sparks for the fuel and air mixture combustion.
Energy transportation is delayed when an ignition coil fails. As a result, the fuel mixture is being ignited by erratic sparks because the spark plugs are not receiving enough power, so your car struggles to start but runs fine once you get it going. (Read Check Engine Light After Oil Change Guide)
The lack of sparks igniting the fuel and air mixture is another factor causing your car to take longer to start. Check the spark plugs along with your ignition coil. The gap between the plugs expands as spark plugs wear.
After years of use, the electrodes in the spark plugs wear out, and you will need to change them before your car won’t start at all.
Ignition timing refers to when the fuel is ignited when the car is started. If wrong, sparks will fire too soon or too late. The fuel and air mixture won’t burn properly, making the engine difficult to start and run. In the summer, you can find early ignition, which ignites the fuel and air mixture, thus overheating the engine, where the car struggles to start but runs fine.
Winter can delay ignition timing. The spark plug ignites the fire-and-air mixture too late. This leads to incomplete burning and ignition incomplete piston moves down the cylinder. This means the engine didn’t receive enough power and required time to heat up. As a result, you will often find your car struggles. As a result, you start, but it runs fine once it is warm.
Car Struggles Because of the Distributor Cap And Rotor
Distributor caps provide electrical energy from the ignition coil to the engine cylinders for ignition. The clogged distributor’s cap does not transport enough energy to the cylinders if it gathers moisture, dirt, and other pollutants.
Because of its position, the distributor cap wears and tears easily, yet you can find the car struggles to start but runs fine, or it could splutter because of a failure in the combustion process. The distributor rotor on cap transmits high voltage to spark plugs and cylinders. Precision voltage and timing might wear out your distributor cap and rotor.
Timing Belt Causes Car Struggles
One of the engine’s most crucial components. The belt helps open and close car valves and run the internal combustion engine. Misaligned belts might create long-term malfunctions where valves stay open, and pistons move quicker without resistance.
Any damage to the belt’s pulley may shred it, slowing it down, and can damage your engine way more than it not starting. In the long run, change your timing belt according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The Air filter provides oxygen for combustion. It keeps debris, dirt, and pollutants from the engine, so your air filter may be dirty, preventing your car from starting.
Incomplete combustion causes spark plug soot where the spark plugs choke and can’t generate sparks for the engine, requiring several restarts.