My Car Won't Jump But All the Lights Work

by Si Kingston

If the lights in your car are working, but the car still won't turn over or start, there could be a variety of reasons why. Since lights in the car are powered by the battery, we can eliminate the battery as the source of the problem. It is likely to be a problem with spark or fuel. Spark encompasses ignition-related parts, and fuel refers to gas and parts that pressurize and distribute gas.

Check to see if the car has oil in it. Open the hood and check your oil dipstick. Lack of oil could cause the vehicle to seize.

Look on the dashboard for a security or key-shaped light. This light represents the immobilizer, which allows the car to run only if the correct key is inserted. If this light is present, there could be a problem with the immobilizer or the key. Use a spare key or get another key from the dealer.

Put the gear shifter in neutral and try to start the car. If the vehicle turns over, the safety neutral shift could be bad. The neutral safety shift allows the vehicle to start when in neutral or park. If the vehicle turns over in neutral but not in park, the switch could be bad.

Turn the car key in the ignition to see if it cranks. If it does not crank, go to step six. If it cranks but does not start, then the problem is either spark or fuel. This means it is not getting gas, which could be the result of a faulty fuel pump or clogged fuel filter, or spark, which could result from problems in the ignition system, such as bad spark plugs, bad wires or a bad distributor cap, rotor or ignition module. If it is an electronic ignition and there is no distributor cap, the coil pack could be bad.

Turn the car key again and listen for the fuel pump to come on. You should hear the fuel pump build up pressure. If not, you might need a new fuel pump.

Put the car firmly in park. Turn the key in the ignition and if there is no crank, the electronic key pad in the ignition could be bad.

Turn the key and listen for a loud click. If you hear a click, the starter solenoid, starter cable or starter could be bad.

About the Author

Si Kingston has been an online content contributor since 2004, with work appearing on websites such as MadeMan. She is a professional screenwriter and young-adult novelist and was awarded the Marion-Hood Boesworth Award for Young Fiction in 2008. Kingston holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.

Photo Credits

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