Is it the battery, alternator, starter or something else?

My car turns over but it doesn't start it sounds like it wants to start but it doesn't. The lights come on as well while trying to start the vehicle (the check engine light, the oil light, the battery light, od off light,). I dont have money to get a diagnostic test and fix whats wrong I only have enough to fix what's wrong so I'm just trying to weed out the problem. Thanks

9 Answers

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  • Joe
    Lv 6
    2 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    All the major electrical items sound good for the reasons Skoda John said.

    Cars don't start for 2 reasons: A fuel problem or an electrical problem.

    If anyone has done any work on the car recently, that is where I would start looking.

    For fuel problems, I would check the fuel filter and air filter are clean. There is little more you can do without a level of experience that your question suggests you do not have.

    For electrical problems, given that you have power and the engine turns over, I would look for a spark at the spark plugs and work backwards from there if there is no spark. If you don't now how to do that safely without giving yourself a huge electric shock or starting a fire, then I strongly suggest you leave it to an expert. Little problems can easily become big problems if we are not sure what we are doing.

    To give your car the best chance of starting, I'd always charge up the battery. It won't hurt. It is easy and it might make a small difference.

    On the vague possibility that you have flooded the engine (too much fuel stuck in the cylinders), it is always worth holding the accelerator full on and then try to start the car. It lets a lot of air through so the excess fuel evaporates and gets expelled through the exhaust system. Release the accelerator the moment it starts.

  • M.
    Lv 7
    2 years ago

    You have the money to fix the car, IF you want to drive the car.

    If the starter is turning the engine normally, then it is not the battery or starter and probably not the alternator.

    Connect a fuel pressure gauge to the fuel pressure test port on the fuel rail and turn on the ignition switch. The pressure gauge should show adequate pressure for your vehicle. You must find out the required pressure reading (specification).

    Please identify your vehicle for us.

    -Engine overhaul mechanic and general automotive mechanic since 1972

  • Anonymous
    2 years ago

    Get a spark KV meter tester and rent a fuel pressure gauge (or buy one). Check for spark and fuel pressure while cranking.

  • JetDoc
    Lv 7
    2 years ago

    Yes, it is...

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  • 2 years ago

    Trying to "weed out the problem huh"?

    Then try this....disconnect the tube that attaches to the throttle body. Then spray a short blast of starting fluid into the throttle body and then try starting the motor. If it starts and runs for a few seconds you probably need a fuel pump.

    Source(s): Mitsubishi Master Tech
  • 2 years ago

    You have the money for a can of starting fluid, so buy one. If it starts, fuel problem. If not, and OBDII code reader is a good start.

  • Anonymous
    2 years ago

    Not enough information. If the starter runs and the engine turns over easily but doesn't start, it's not any of those things. If the engine turns over very slowly, then the battery is weak. This could be a bad battery, it could be weak due to a failed alternator that isn't charging the battery, or the battery and / or starter cable connections are simply corroded and have high resistance which gets worse the colder the weather is. So clean your battery connections first to be sure there is good electrical contact. If that doesn't help and the battery is weak, get it charged and then tested. It isn't expensive and if it fails the test, replace the battery. If the car starts and runs, get it to any auto parts store and they will test the battery condition and alternator output for free.

    If the engine turns over ok but the car won't start, get a can of starting fluid (ether), remove the air filter, and have someone spray it in the intake while you crank the engine. If it starts and dies, keep trying but don't run the battery flat. If it doesn't start after a few attempts, you may have something as simple as water in the gas, or fouled spark plugs that need cleaning, or it could be a bad MAF sensor, a faulty cold start solenoid, or even a failed fuel pump, but not even knowing what kind of car you have it's impossible to say.

    Source(s): A basic clue about cars. Get one. Life will be easier and cheaper if you do.
    • M.
      Lv 7
      2 years agoReport

      This should be the first sentence in your question. "I have a 1995 Nissan Altima".

  • 2 years ago

    Something else.

    Car turns over.

    Therefore battery has power.

    Therefore it is being charged by the alternator.

    Since it turns over the starter is fine.

    Do NOT throw parts at it.

    Get the issue identified!

    Do you have sparks?

    Can you smell fuel?

    It is not hard.

  • 2 years ago

    If you take it to a auto parts, they will pull up the codes on it for free.

    It sounds like a lack of gas, to me.

    • M.
      Lv 7
      2 years agoReport

      through various sensors. Spray ether (starting fluid) into the intake manifold/plenum, and if you get some reaction, look for the fuel starvation problem. If you get no reaction, search for an ignition system problem, which starts with the crankshaft position sensor and the camshaft position sensor.

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