8 Reasons Why Your Car is Struggling to Start

Engines tend to have a little harder time starting up in the cold winter months, but as long as there are no problems they should fire up just fine. If your car is struggling to start or stalls out when you come to a stop, it's probably more than just the cold temperatures outside. You may have an automotive problem that needs attention.

According to the Fairbanks auto repair experts at Simard Automotive, here are some of the most common culprits when it comes to an engine that's struggling to turn over:

1. Dead/Low Battery

This is definitely something that can be impacted by freezing temperatures as the battery tends to drain more quickly or can lose some power while the vehicle is turned off. You may have a dead battery or low charge that is making it hard for the engine to start up.

2. Bad Spark Plug

Another common cause is that one or more of your spark plugs can be failing. If the engine sputters or pops, then there's a good chance it's a bad spark plug.

3. Failing Alternator

Your alternator is what keeps your battery recharging as the vehicle runs. If the alternator is damaged or not working smoothly, you may find yourself with a weak or dead battery.

4. Damaged Starter

It is very rare for a starter to last the entire lifespan of a car. They sometimes fail and need to be replaced. If your engine isn't making any sound or effort when you turn the key in the ignition or hit the start button, then it's probably a dead battery or the starter itself is shot.

5. Worn Timing Belt

The timing belt can become worn or damaged over time, or it can slip if excess moisture gets into the engine compartment. A vehicle that is struggling to start or run consistently could be the result of the timing belt not working correctly.

6. Out of Gas

Of course, you should always check your fuel gauge when the engine won't start. You may be out of fuel. You may even have a faulty fuel gauge if it shows you have gas in the tank when it is actually empty.

7. Other Fuel System Issues

You could have a fuel leak, a clogged fuel filter or some other fuel system problem that is preventing the proper amount of gas from getting to the engine.

8. Engine Problems

Last but certainly not least, you could have some sort of problem within the engine itself. You may not be getting proper combustion and this will cause issues.

At the first sign of any engine problems or other issues that are making it hard to get your car started (or keep it running after it is turned on), you should get your vehicle looked at by a professional mechanic. In Fairbanks, you can call Simard Automotive for a professional diagnosis and repairs. We have two shops in town to serve you. Call (855) 690-0889 for our Airport Shop on Aeronca Ave. or (855) 639-5001 for our Chevron Shop on Gaffney Rd. You can also schedule your service appointment online.


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