Reasons Why a Car is Hard to Start After Sitting for a Few Hours - Service Questions Answered by the pros at Carlsen Subaru

May 17, 2019

Why won't your car start? Well, there are a variety of things that could cause this frustration, and we want to help in our authorized dealership service center at Carlsen Subaru. Below, our experts have put together five of the more common reasons for why a car won't start after it's been sitting for a while. This could relate to your weekend car that's been sitting in the garage for weeks, or your daily driver that's only been sitting in the parking lot for a day.

If any of the following things sound like what your car is doing, your ride won't be reliable until the matter is fixed properly. That's where expert, factory-trained technicians come in to solve the problem. These are exactly the kind of mechanics you'll find in our dealership service center at Carlsen Subaru. If you have any questions, please reach out to us online or over the phone. Of course, we also invite you to stop by in person any time we're open at 480 Veterans Blvd, Redwood City, CA 94063.

Closeup of a hand operating a red nozzle to fill a blue car with gas

6. You May Have Bad Gas In The Tank

Today, you can typically count on good quality gas form any reputable filling station. After all, the gas at most stations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area likely came from the same refinery. However, it's also important that the fuel be stored correctly and kept free of water and other contaminants. It's why the cheapest gas in town may not always be the best for your vehicle.

You may have also seen those stickers at the pump that explain how the gas may contain ethanol. While this isn't typically an issue for the gas coming out of the pump, allowing this gas to sit for an extended period can cause it to go bad and not work as well. While rare, bad gas does happen and might make it hard to start your car.

Assortment of new engine head gaskets on white background

5. A Bad Head Gasket Might Be Why Your Car Won't Start

The fabled blown head gasket isn't something anyone wants to deal with. Among serious problems like blowing smoke from the tailpipe and leading to the engine overheating, a bad head gasket can also make it difficult to start your car. You see, the head gasket not only prevents the coolant and engine oil from mixing, it also keeps these things out of the combustion chambers. If water or oil gets in there, it may prove difficult to start the car

4. Have You Checked The Engine's Air Filter Recently?

This is another rarity that still happens when basic maintenance is overlooked. You see, the gas-powered engine in your car needs clean air to run. That's why it's equipped with an engine air filter. As this filter collects dust, dirt, and other debris from the air before it goes to the engine, the filter will become clogged to the point of allowing less clean air by. If the engine is struggling to pull air through an expired filter, it may prove hard to start.

Complete engine starter with various internal components next to it.

3. Perhaps The Engine Starter Is Bad

When you turn the key to start your car, the battery powers an electric starter motor that turns the engine over so that it may run on its own. When the starter goes bad, not only will your car not start but you'll likely hear something very different from what you're used to hearing when turning the ignition key. You may hear little more than a click, which could point to the battery or the starter. Sometimes, when a starter goes bad, you'll hear a loud screech or other noise other than the normal sound of your engine cranking over.

2. Is Your Car Battery Good?

As we mentioned in #3, the battery is a common reason for a vehicle that won't start. Today's automotive batteries will last a good long while if everything else is doing what it should. However, the time will come when a car battery simply goes bad and needs to be replaced just like any other battery. When this is to blame for your car not starting, you'll either hear little or nothing when turning the ignition key in your car, or the engine will sound sluggish when turning over. A jump start may get the car up and running. Though, if you do have to jump start it, we strongly recommend having an authorized service center inspect the battery, starter, and charging system so you can avoid the problem going forward.

1. Fuel Pump Has Gone Bad

The most common reason for a car not to start after it has been sitting for a period is that the fuel pump isn't doing its job. That's because modern fuel injection systems operate under high pressure that must be maintained. Once a fuel pump starts going bad, it may not be able to maintain the pressure the fuel system needs. So, once the fuel pressure has dropped while the car sits, the engine won't be getting enough fuel when you try to start it. A bad fuel pump may also allow air into the fuel lines, which can result in the same difficulty when trying to start the car.

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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