Hey, Why Is My Car Not Starting And Making No Noise?

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Four common causes for a no noise/no start from the vehicle and their related parts.
Do you have a car that fails to start and won’t even make a sound? When this occurs, it is time to look for some other clues. Turn on the dome light and see if it dims or goes out when trying to start the car. If it does, a jump start can get you going. Suppose the light is bright and does not dim. Ensure the car is entirely in the parking position, or the clutch is depressed when you have a manual transmission. If these steps do not help, it’s time to share what you have observed with the trusted shop.

Is Your Car Not Starting And Making No Noise?

The cause for no noise when starting the engine is usually a dead battery. However, it can also be a faulty starter, which is related to the electrical system that actually initializes the car. Alternatively, it might even be a problem with the key fob.

If your car makes no noise and fails to start, you must keep track of all evident symptoms. In this sense, note how the car behaves when you turn the key; does it make a click? Does it go completely silent? Any piece of information is vital at this stage. Remember that every detail helps the technician diagnose your car.

We'll share everything you need to know about communicating with the mechanic if your car won't start. We'll also discuss what specific issues your car might have according to its symptoms.

Let's Get To The Bottom Of It!

  • Q: Is any part of your car's lighting or electrical system remaining on after you turn off the engine?

    If the problem is happening because of a parasitic draw, check if the courtesy lights on the glove box, mirrors, and trunk are on even after turning the car off. This problem affects the car even if you've left it sitting in the garage for a few days — especially with modern vehicles. In this case, the car's been silently draining the battery. Still, you'll be able to jump-start it.

  • Q: Do you notice if the engine overheats quickly?

    Commonly, your car will display all the warning lights on the dash and gauges cycle if that's the case. Note that this problem usually appears when the engine warms up and heat soaks into the starter; your mechanic might know this problem as a "hot soak, no start failure.". You'll also notice no difference when switching between "Park" and "Neutral." Additionally, the dome light will turn on when you turn the car keys but won't dim as it usually does when the engine starts. Also, you won't be able to jump-start the vehicle even if it has a new battery until the engine cools completely.

  • Q: Have you tried turning the car on with a different key fob?

    In some cases, a specific key won't make the vehicle start even after you've put new batteries in it. But, when using a spare key, the car works as usual. So, the unresponsive key fob is behind the problem. This type of issue requires a visit to the shop; note that you'll have to bring all your vehicle's remotes along for testing and reprogramming.

  • Q: Was your car taking too long to start before having the problem?

    If it's a weak or dead battery, the car won't make any noise when you turn the key, but it'll work when jump-starting it. The symptoms you'll notice accompanying this problem are the lack of behavior when switching between "Park" and "Neutral" and the display of warning lights on the dash. Also, note that just because the radio plays and the lights switch does not mean the car battery has enough power to crank the engine. For instance, lights and radio systems require 10 amps to run, while the engine asks for 200.

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Vehicle Health Inspection Proof

Explore the following typical inspection results that show a potential cause for the symptom and select the one you believe is similar to your vehicle's issue.

Failed brake light switch

The mechanic noticed a brake light malfunction during the inspection. This clue directly relates to the car not starting. So, the mechanic will repair and retest this system to ensure it's the only failure.

Typically plaguing push button start systems, a failed brake light switch might require some detective work. So, remember to provide the technician with as much information as possible if your car's symptoms fit this issue.

Technicians assess this issue by running a series of tests on the car's electrical system. First, they'll do some testing on the brake light circuit. Then, they'll bypass the switch to see if the "start/power" is signaling the starter through a scan reading; if there is a signal, they'll replace the switch to continue testing. Now, if there is a lack of signal to the vehicle computer, the technician will run more tests to identify any hidden security codes blocking the signal.

In the case image above, the brake lights weren't working. So, even though the driver pressed the pedal, the system wasn't reading it. Most modern cars' computer systems expect you to press the brake while starting the car as a safety measure. Hence, a faulty brake reading can be the culprit.

Does the issue look like this? if not accessible your shop will document it
Failed key fob (wireless remote)

The mechanic noticed the key fob working properly, but the computer system wasn't reading it. In this case, program a new key to the car; it would be good to bring all the vehicle's remotes for service.

The service advisor usually detects key fob issues pretty quickly, especially after discussing the symptoms with the client. To assess this type of issue, the customer needs to drop the vehicle off at the shop with all the car's key fobs and remotes.

A proper inspection, in this case, consists of a vehicle health inspection, including tests that aren't part of the typical procedure. Then, the technician should test the fobs' batteries and ensure that the car's computer system is constantly receiving signals.

In the case image above, the problem was an aftermarket key fob that didn't match the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and wasn't communicating correctly.

Does the issue look like this? if not accessible your shop will document it
Parasitic draw

During additional testing, the mechanic used a thermal camera to verify a shut-off car's heat signature. The hot spot confirms an issue and isolates one problematic circuit.

A parasitic draw is a faulty electronic component on the car that's constantly draining the battery. This issue persists even if the vehicle sits in the garage with the engine turned off. Also, keep an eye out for constantly-lit courtesy lights in the glove box, mirrors, and trunk since they're common culprits.

In addition, since modern vehicles have a complex computer network, they'll often require some "rest." So, constantly engaging this system causes an unhealthy battery draw. Part of the inspection to track this kind of issue consists of inspecting the vehicle's fuse box for any electrical problem.

The mechanic usually gets this diagnosis after pinpoint-checking the car's electronic system. In the case image above, the typical vehicle health inspection didn't lead to a direct cause. But, when performing the pinpoint test, the mechanic found an air condition compressor relay constantly draining the battery. More specifically, the plastic case on the relay was engaging it continuously; the mechanic changed this part and did more testing to ensure proper behavior.

Does the issue look like this? if not accessible your shop will document it
Failed starter

After lifting the vehicle with a cooled-down engine for an inspection, the mechanic saw that the starter was receiving a start signal but wasn't operating. In this case, the technician will replace and retest the part.

If the car's symptoms match this problem, the mechanic will run a series of tests on the vehicle's starting system.

At first, the mechanic will run a battery test. Then, they'll run a scan tool to see if any code issues intercept the power from the ignition switch to the starter motor. For example, this type of interception can occur because of the vehicle's security system.

The scan reads all the car's electrical systems and provides an accurate "diagnosis" of the vehicle's electrical components. So, if, for some reason, a random electrical component isn't receiving power, the scanner points that out.

For example, the scanner's circuitry reading reveals if the car has faulty battery terminals, a blown fuse, lousy jumper cables, a faulty ignition switch, a broken starter relay, a damaged starter solenoid, and more.

Usually, the scanner requests the technician for an ignition switch crank when diagnosing modern vehicles. In the case image above, the scanner notified that the electrical system sent a command to the starter. But, after more testing, the mechanic found that the starter's current draw was incorrect, defining a failed starter.

The mechanic's ideal approach to fix this issue is to replace the faulty starter motor and run another test. The primary goal of a re-test is to ensure a perfect voltage flow on the car's electrical cables and terminals. Then, after fixing everything up, review your Vehicle Health Inspection to ensure your vehicle is reliable.

Does the issue look like this? if not accessible your shop will document it
Overheated starter

During the inspection, the mechanic noticed that the starter's heat shielding no longer protects it from the hot exhaust.

An overheated starter is typically tough to detect. But, by sharing precise symptom information with your mechanic, they'll track it more effortlessly. In the case image above, communication was key in helping the mechanic find the overheated starter.

First, after discussing the symptoms with the client, the mechanic did a vehicle health inspection on the car. As the technician was already suspecting of a problem with the starter after communicating with the client, they quickly spotted the issue. In this case, it was a missing heat shield on the starter, causing extra engine cranks when trying to turn the vehicle.

Then the mechanic did pinpoint testing and concluded that the starter had developed severe damage. Consequently, they'll need to replace the starter and install a heat shield.

Does the issue look like this? if not accessible your shop will document it
Weak battery

Mechanics always perform Digital vehicle inspections on clients' cars. During the process, they perform battery tests. In this case, it is an obvious failure. They'll replace and test the charging system to verify no other damages evolved.

A vehicle health inspection always includes a battery check, especially when considering the symptoms our article discusses. The mechanic needs to ensure that the car doesn't have a weak or completely dead battery.

In the case image above, the battery failed the test. More precisely, the test indicated that the battery wasn’t filling the power supply needs of the starter motor to crank the engine. So, the technician replaced the battery.

Fortunately, in the case we're discussing, the battery damages didn't take the time to affect the alternator. So, it was a partially discharged battery situation. Hence, replacing car batteries saves customers from an extra headache.

Does the issue look like this? if not accessible your shop will document it

Typical Makes

That need No Noise/No Start significantly more often than average vehicle makes

  • Make:


  • Model:

    Accord, Civic, Element

  • Starter, Battery, Air Compressor Relay

Is this the make you are driving?
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Typical Fixes to Address the Cause(s)

The following chapters bases themselves on experiences from our auto repair shop; we'll describe related problems' causes and fixes.

"Starter replacement" fixes "failed starter"

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Hey, Why Is My Car Not Starting And Making No Noise?
Sometimes a problem is more challenging to describe than it initially looked like. If you are not sure your problem is described by this article, please find below similar vehicle symptoms, which might describe better the issue you are experiencing.

Other things your auto repair shop might talk about:

Clogged fuel filter, faulty fuel pump, gas tank, fuel tank, spark plug, bad ignition switch.