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Jul 27 2020

If Your Car is Automatic and Does Not Start, It May be for These Reasons


If you have a car with an automatic transmission and it won't start, there could be many possible reasons. Anything from a dead battery to a faulty brake light connection can cause these kinds of symptoms. With a manual gearbox, you can do the odd trick, such as first gear, push the car and release the clutch at once to give power to the car, but with an automatic the problem is different.

It's frustrating when you're turning the key and… nothing happens, you just scream left and right how much you'd love to defecate on the car. Almost all vehicle owners have experienced this. There are many things that can go wrong, but there is no need to worry too much, as there is a solution to almost all problems. The process that takes place from the moment you put the key in the cylinder until the point in which the engine starts up involves a few steps.

What Happens When You Try to Start the Engine?

First, you try turning the key in the steering column, and it may or may not. In case of refusal, the problem is in the bowler hat. If activated, the first "click" has already made contact. Do lights come on in the instrument cluster? Does the key-shaped warning light or the one in the form of an engine block stay on or blink on the above? If either of these things happens to you, the problem is starting to get more serious. If nothing happens when you turn the key all the way, the engine does not start and there is no warning light, the uncertainty and distress is even greater.

What Reasons can my Automatic Car not Start?

Low or Low Battery:

A dead battery is the most common reason why a car, regardless of its transmission, won't start. The battery is what provides electrical power to the entire car and its electrical components, such as lights, radio, power steering, etc. While the vehicle is running, the alternator charges the battery. If it is not full enough, you will not be able to start the car or use any electrical components. And it is that a battery can die for several reasons:

  • The headlights or courtesy light in the passenger compartment have been left on at night or for too long.
  • One of the cables connected to the terminals is loose, or the terminals are too corroded.
  • The water inside the battery has evaporated, leading to low conductivity. The battery life has expired.

Some common symptoms may include, among other things, that none of the electrical components are working or that the battery warning light stays on in the instrument cluster. One way to find out if the battery is the problem is to find it at startup. If it's fast, it works. If not, chances are you're dealing with a dead battery or an alternator that only has trouble recharging it. If this circumstance occurs, with some logic you must replace one of the two components or both.

Damaged Starter Motor:

As we mentioned, an indication that your car battery is fine is when you turn the key and hear a click, courtesy of the starter. If instead, you hear a somewhat annoying clearing, you can try doing the "key cycling" technique. This consists of turning the key several times, about 10 times to be more exact. Then wait three to five minutes before trying to start the engine again. If you do, the next thing you should do is let a trusted mechanic check your car to avoid further damage.

Gear Selector Problem:

If the car does not move with the gear selector in “direct” mode (D), put it in the “neutral” position (N). With your foot on the brake, move the gear lever to this spot and try to start the engine. If that doesn't work, move it back to "parked" (P) and try again. Moving the gearbox selector from one position to another sometimes restores electrical contact within the so-called neutral safety switch. If the lever does not move or by much force, it is best to call a crane to take the car to the workshop.

Empty Fuel Tank:

You may feel a bit silly if this is the reason why your automatic car won't start, but the truth is that it happens more often than you think. When driving all the time, it is sometimes easy to forget that the machine also needs to quench its thirst. The solution here is simple: add fuel to the tank and try to prevent it from happening again, because the bad thing about this is that the fuel pump will be trying to suck up the little gasoline or diesel that is still at the bottom of the tank, where accumulates all the dirt and crap that then goes to the cylinders.


Temperature affects not only living things but also those pieces of metal that take us and bring us wherever we want, as long as they work clearly. In diesel mechanics, this factor is even more influential, since its density is higher and its freezing point comes earlier than in engines that run on gasoline. If it is too cold or too hot, a sensor may be missing, or the heaters (diesel) may not function properly. Temperature can also affect the viscosity of the oil because each one is a world and the person who uses your vehicle may not be prepared for extreme temperatures.

Clogged Fuel Filter:

If your fuel filter is clogged, gasoline/diesel cannot get to the engine. This makes it difficult for a car to burn the fuel it needs to get going. Fuel filters need to be changed every 15,000 to 20,000 kilometers, depending on the manufacturer's specifications, so consider changing your fuel filters the next time you maintain your car.

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