You get into the car and turn the key, only to find that nothing happens.
Maybe the dashboard lights come on.
There might even be a clicking sound that comes from the starter motor, but the car is slow to start and won’t start on that first try.
After a few more tries, however, your car fires up and runs perfectly fine.
How come my car struggles to start but runs fine?
This is a relatively common problem that might not cause too much concern right away, but fail to attend to the issue and you could soon find yourself with damaged parts that need replacement.
Read on to find out what the problem could be.
Car Struggles To Start But Runs Fine
If your car is slow to start it is generally a sign of an underlying problem.
There are cases where this is related to the starter, the battery, or even certain parts of the engine.
You should ensure you understand all of the causes, educate yourself on the symptoms, and take action before more damage develops.
We will be discussing some of the most common reasons why a car struggles to start but runs fine.
We help you diagnose car starting problems, and provide symptoms that may signal specific problems.
1. Problems With Wiring
If you take a closer look inside the hood of your car, you’ll notice there are quite a few cables and wires.
Many of these cables connect to the starter system.
This includes the batteries and the starter motor.
If there is a problem with the wiring in the car, then the battery may not be able to send sufficient power to the starter motor when you turn the key.
This often results in a clicking sound as you turn the key.
The same clicking sound can often be heard in cars that use a button for ignition.
People think that wiring problems will cause their car not to start at all, but there are cases where the car starts sometimes.
This happens when wires touch each other for a short period of time but are too loose to remain in position.
If this is the case, there may be ignition after turning the keys in the starter a couple of times.
It should be noted that the wires can wear out over time as well.
If this is the case, corrosion may affect the inside of the wires.
The connectors that link the wires between parts in the car can also experience corrosion.
This damage leads to a reduction in power being sent to the starter motor, which makes it harder for the car to start up.
2. Starter Is Wearing Out
When it comes to looking at reasons a car struggles to start up, then the starter is a good point, to begin with.
Investigating the starter in your car can often reveal the reason behind the vehicle failing to start.
Since your car is starting after a few tries, it means that the starter is not completely broken – but there might be issues with its internal parts.
A relatively common reason for a starter to give you problems is due to its structure wearing out over time.
As the starter wears out, you may run into a number of issues over time.
These issues do not develop suddenly in most cases. Instead, you first find that you need to turn the key two times for the car to start.
Later on, you have to try four or five times before the starter will fire up the engine.
Note that when the car turns over but struggles to start, then your starter is likely not the problem.
When there are issues with the starter, you may hear one of two sounds.
A grinding noise usually indicates problems with the drive gear.
This gear turns when you start the engine – if it is not positioned properly or has started to wear out, it comes into contact with metal parts in the starter motor.
This may cause the ignition to fail. It can also lead to an unpleasant grinding noise.
Some people report a clicking sound when they turn the key.
This often happens when the battery terminals have suffered corrosion.
The corrosion makes it hard for power to run from the battery toward the starter motor.
The clicking sound indicates that there are insufficient levels of power being sent to the starter motor.
If you want to know how to start a car with a bad starter, this post HERE will help.
3. Battery Is Faulty Or Weak
The moment you turn a key in your ignition, the battery sends out a current toward the starter motor.
Without this current, it is not possible for your car to start or the engine to fire up.
When turning the key yields no results the first few times (no dashboard lights and no sounds), then there is a chance that the problem lies with your battery.
A bad battery is a common reason behind a slow-starting car.
The battery may have faulty connectors or the power could be drained.
It is also possible that your battery is closing in on its expected lifespan.
Even though car batteries are resilient, they should generally be replaced on a regular basis. After some time, recharging or reconditioning batteries may no longer yield effective results.
The reduction in power from daily wear will cause gradual problems.
It may take a few tries to start up the car, but after a while, you’ll have to turn the key more and more.
Get a voltage meter that is appropriate for car batteries.
Check the functionality reading of the battery.
It is a good idea to get a replacement if the functionality falls under 70%.
4. Battery Charger Is Faulty
It is common to check the battery for faults when a car won’t start properly.
When the battery has a weak power rating, then you would usually get a new one or have your current battery recharged.
If this is the issue, do not forget to consider the battery charging system in your car.
Your car is fitted with a charging system that helps the battery stay powered over a long period of time.
This charging system primarily consists of the alternator.
If the alternator is faulty, then it cannot charge your battery properly.
The battery will continue to drain every time you use the car. Eventually, there will be insufficient power to fire up the starter motor and engine.
A bad alternator will usually require replacement.
Be sure to check the connections that run between the battery and the alternator first, however.
There is a possibility that the wires or connections are faulty.
These are more affordable to replace.
Your car’s battery, starter system, engine, and several other parts work together to get the vehicle started.
When these parts run into problems, then you may find your car won’t start properly.
A few cranks later, and your car may be good to go.
Even if your car starts eventually, it’s important to understand the causes and rectify the source of these problems.
Eventually you will find the will not ever start and you could be in the worst possible place with no access to some immediate road side assistance.