5 Ways to Start a Car That Won't Turn Over | Auto Care Tips from Carlsen Subaru

Reasons Why Car Won't Start

There are a lot more than five things that could go wrong under the hood of your car and prevent it from starting up in the morning. But, with these helpful tips, you'll be able to address almost all of them. So the next time your engine just won't turn over, work your way down this list. If you get to the bottom and your car still won't start, that means it's definitely time to visit your local authorized Subaru dealer for an expert analysis of the situation.

There are few things more stressful than your car not starting when you need it!

5: Clean The Battery Posts

First, take a look at the battery posts. Are they covered with a silvery-white powder? That's corrosion that builds up on the battery posts over time due to chemical reactions from the battery acid. Too much corrosion can actually interrupt the flow of electricity from the battery, so your car doesn't start up properly when you turn the key.

If you're comfortable doing a little tinkering under the hood, remove the battery cables from the battery posts and clean them, removing as much corrosion as you can with a dry wire brush. Then, try again. You might find your vehicle starts up just fine!

Our certified Subaru Service professionals at Carlsen Subaru can help keep your car starting every day!

4: Check the Battery Charge

Failure to turn the dome lights off overnight can slowly drain your battery until there's just not enough juice to start your car in the morning. If you left the lights on or any accessory was operating without the help of the engine, your battery might be in good shape, but it'll need a boost to get going.

With special tools, or the help of an authorized Subaru service expert, you can have the condition of your battery checked. If it's just low on charge, it can be charged using a battery charger - or, if you really need to get going now, a jump start using a donor charge from another car will start the engine. Then, your car's alternator can begin using power generated by the engine to recharge the battery.

3: Strike the Starter

As you try to start your car, give a close listen to the noises your car makes. If you turn the key and hear lots of electrical whirring and clicking, but the engine doesn't turn over, then you know the battery is fine. It's likely that the starter motor is going bad. If your starter stops working, here's a handy trick that can get you going:

If you're able to locate the starter on your car - sometimes it's accessible from the hood but often it's only accessible from underneath the car - striking it gently but firmly with a hammer a few times while a friend tries to start the car might jolt the starter into action just long enough to turn over the engine! It's a tip only for those who know their way around an engine bay, but it just might save you from getting a costly tow.

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2: Manual Transmission Push Start

Still rocking a stick-shift? There's one more thing you can try if your manual transmission car won't start: A push start. AKA a "bump start" or "popping the clutch," a push start should be considered a last resort to get your car running. There are a few different methods you could use to accomplish this, but the principle is the same: With the clutch engaged, get a friend to help you push the car to the fastest speed you can manage before quickly releasing the clutch and throwing the car into gear. The momentum of the car can often turn over the engine and get it going when the ignition system just isn't working.

1: Replace the Ignition Fuse

If turning the key in your ignition doesn't accomplish anything - no response from the engine and no electrical noises that tell you the starter is working - you might have a bigger electrical problem on your hands. The first step is to check the ignition fuse.

If you can locate the fuse box where the ignition fuse is in your car, open it up. Find the diagram of the fuses, letting you know which fuses are which. Often, you'll find this diagram right on the inside of the fuse box cover, or in the owner's manual. Find the ignition fuse using the diagram, and remove it. If the metal filament inside has melted, replacing this fuse could restore the circuit and get you back on the road in no time!

Most cars have a few spare fuses stored near the fuse box for just such an occasion. Just replace the ignition fuse with a fresh fuse of the same color and amperage rating.

But let's say you don't have any spare fuses. If you're really desperate, you could find a matching fuse from another component of your car and "borrow" it. For example, if the fuse for the heated seats is the same color as the ignition fuse, you can take out the heated seat fuse and install it as the new ignition fuse. Then, try to start the engine. If it starts, you're good to go! You'll just need to install a new fuse for the heated seats, or they won't work.

We hope this information helps you get a jump on starting a car that won't turn over! If you're still in need of assistance, or if you have any questions, consult with one of our factory trained service professionals at the Carlsen Subaru service center. Just call the number at the top of this page, or stop by: 480 Veterans Blvd, Redwood City, CA 94063

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Carlsen Subaru

480 Veterans Blvd
Directions Redwood City, CA 94063

  • Sales: 650-365-6390
  • Service : 650-365-6390
  • Parts: 650-365-6390
  1. Carlsen Subaru

    480 Veterans Blvd
    Redwood City, CA 94063

    • Sales: (888) 520-5916

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