When we get into our vehicles, we often are in a hurry and put our complete trust that they will do their jobs and take us to our various destinations; we often forget that we are relying on a piece of machinery to ease our lives. When the opposite occurs, and we find ourselves in a panic due to our vehicles not starting, we forget how much we take for granted with our vehicle starting systems. Many components and functions can cause the system to fail or perform a “hard start,” adding unnecessary stress into your life. To determine if your vehicle is performing a hard start: keep in mind that your engine should begin to run within 1-3 seconds of turning the ignition key; if not, a hard starting condition is to blame. Hard starting can turn into costly repairs when not taken care of swiftly.
Why Does Hard Starting Happen?
Unfortunately, normal wear and usage of any vehicle is a reason for hard starting. Thankfully, given technological advances, it’s easier than ever to pinpoint the direct cause of the hard starts. Below are just some of the potential reasons that your vehicle’s starting system is failing.
- Torn Air Intake Boot: A critical part of the system, if there is a failure in the air intake system, can cause the system to stall from debris contaminating it. A cracked tube may supply insufficient air or excess air to the engine, failing to achieve the perfect air-fuel ratio. The outcomes of a torn intake boot will cause the engine to stall or hesitate.
- Weak fuel pump: A weakened fuel pump can cause the vehicle to take more cranks and turns of the key than usually required, and in the most severe cases, it may need multiple turns of the key before it starts the system (cue the anxiety over your vehicle). Dirty throttle body: When this part is dirty, you may notice your vehicle stumbling or struggling in the initial acceleration, or even stalling can occur.
- Worn out spark plugs: Your vehicle’s spark plugs work together to ignite the air-fuel mixture and start your vehicle. When the spark plugs dull or gets worn out, one can imagine the effect of their effectiveness. Your vehicle’s acceleration and overall speed will be compromised with failing spark plugs.
- Dead Battery: One of the best places to begin your search; most batteries should last for 3-5 years, but when worn down, the battery loses the power to send voltage to your system’s motor. When your battery is low or dead, it cannot produce enough voltage to start your vehicle. Some symptoms of a bad battery include a slow crank or a “clicking” noise when you turn on the vehicle.
- Bad Starter: Over time, starter motors can wear out if nothing happens when the key is turned; the problem could be the starter. Another indication that your starter is failing is if the car turns over very slowly and the dash lights dim while it is cranking. We can pinpoint a lousy starter to wiring issues, resulting in no engagement with your vehicle’s motor.
- Failing Alternator: The alternator is a critical component in your car’s electrical system; it’s a machine that turns energy into electricity to power the system’s electrical system and aids the battery. Your vehicle doesn’t just run on gas; it also runs on electricity produced from the alternator. Without the alternator doing its job, there may not be enough power to keep your engine alive, resulting in stalling or a hard start. If one ignores an alternator issue, eventually, your vehicle won’t start at all.
Now that we’ve explained a few of the most common reasons for hard starting, it can help you pinpoint what area of your vehicle may need some TLC & where to begin the search for which part is not performing. It’s your vehicle’s job to take you to your destination and ease your life. If you feel like your vehicle isn’t starting as solid and easy as it used to, it’s time to give it to the professionals at Foothill Auto Service. Our auto repair technicians, Scott, Tim, and Hector, have extensive experience in preventative maintenance and auto repair for all makes and models of cars. Our team prides itself on keeping you updated throughout the entirety of your service.
Customers from Lake Forest, Foothill Ranch, Portola Hills, Rancho Santa Margarita, Coto De Caza, Mission Viejo & Trabuco Canyon have come to trust our commitment to quality auto repair. If your vehicle needs preventive maintenance or repairs, call us today (949) 770-5956 or schedule an appointment online to take great care of you and your vehicle or with us today to experience the Foothill Auto Service difference. We are located at 26911 Vista Terrace, Lake Forest, CA 92630. We look forward to seeing you soon!