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Why Car Dies While Driving And Cranks But Won’t Start?

Hi, I'm Azim Uddin, a student who loves cars. Visit carcaresite.com to learn about car maintenance for beginners and experts. In my studies, I found a cool connection between hosting and car care. Join me on this journey where every road has a story, and hospitality meets the thrill of cars. Explore, learn, and enjoy the ride with me!

Hi, I'm Azim Uddin, a student who loves cars. Visit carcaresite.com to learn about car maintenance for beginners and experts. In my studies, I found a cool connection between hosting and car care. Join me on this journey where every road has a story, and hospitality meets the thrill of cars. Explore, learn, and enjoy the ride with me!

Last Updated on May 10, 2024 by Azim Uddin

Your car’s engine needs the right mix of air, fuel, spark, mechanical timing, and electrical timing to start. If the components that provide your car with fuel and air and generate an ignition spark fail to operate properly, your car will crank and won’t start.

Now, you might be wondering why your car died while driving and cranks but won’t start. Well, there are several reasons behind this issue, such as:

  1. Poor condition of the battery
  2. The spark plug is out of order
  3. Fuel pump fails to work
  4. The crank sensor isn’t functioning properly
  5. The alternator is malfunctioning

In this article, we will discuss why your car cranks but won’t start. We will also explore solutions to this particular issue. So, let’s get started!

Your Car Died While Diving, Cranks But Won’t Start: Common Reasons & Solution

Trying to find out why your car cranks but refuses to start can be pretty tricky. Below, we have explained some common and recurring reasons that often lead to this problem.

Poor condition of battery

You should make sure that your car battery is in good condition and is fully charged so that it can provide enough current to turn the flywheel.

As per a study, when you start a car, it needs around 600 amperes of current for about 250 milliseconds. After that, it requires 150 to 300 Amps in the form of a sine wave for about 0.5 to 3 seconds.

If your battery is fully charged, make sure the battery cables are tightly connected. Loose cables can make your car crank but prevent it from starting.

To solve this problem, you need to ensure whether your car’s battery is dead or not. You can use a multimeter to check the battery voltage and figure out if a dead battery is preventing your car from starting.

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If the voltage is below 12.4 volts then your battery is dead. In that case, jump-start the car with jumper cables or replace your car’s battery. Typically, you should install a new one if you have been using the old one for 5 years or more.

As per researchers, your car’s fuel pump transfers fuel from the gas tank in your car to the fuel injector or carburetor. Plus, it generates the right amount of pressure to make sure the engine gets the correct fuel supply.

Car dies while driving and cranks but won't start happens due to fuel pump fail to work

When you turn the key to start your car, you should hear the sound of the fuel flowing through the pump for about 2-3 seconds. If your car is not starting, it might be because your fuel pump isn’t working properly.

You should look out for these signs in your car to identify if you have a faulty fuel pump:

  1. Surging.
  2. Your car loses power while you try to accelerate.
  3. Your car’s temperature gauge rises when you are driving.
  4. Your car’s engine makes a sputtering sound.

To solve this issue, you should follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Locate the fuel tank underneath your car.
  • Step 2: Take a rubber mallet.
  • Step 3: Tap the fuel tank gently 2-3 times while someone cranks your car.
  • Step 4: If fuel still doesn’t flow to the engine, check for loose connections to the injectors.
  • Step 5: If the connections look all okay but the fuel pump still isn’t working, you need to install a new fuel pump.
  • Step 6: Take your car to a good mechanic and ask them to replace your faulty fuel pump with a new one.

In your car, the spark plug is a device connected to the engine’s cylinder head. It has two electrodes with an air gap between them. The high-tension ignition system sends current across these electrodes. So, a spark is created to ignite the air-fuel mixture.

If your car has a malfunctioning spark plug, it cannot ignite the fuel. Thus, your car will crank but will not start.

Basic Overview of Automotive Spark Plugs

If the spark plug in your vehicle is out of order, your automobile will display these signs:

  1. Your car will run roughly for a couple of days.
  2. It will take a long time for your car to start.
  3. The car engine starts to shake.
  4. It will be difficult for you to accelerate your car.
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New Spark Plug

To detect if you have a faulty spark plug in your car, you should use a spark tester and test for spark. For more information, check out these steps.

  • Step 1: You should insert the spark tester between the coil and the spark plug.
  • Step 2: Check if the spark tester lights up or not. If it doesn’t, the spark is not reaching the spark plug.
  • Step 3: Remove the spark plug.
  • Step 4: Check if dirt, corrosion, and fluid have accumulated in the spark plug.
  • Step 5: Install a new spark plug.

The crankshaft sensor in your car figures out where the engine’s crankshaft is while it is spinning. Thus, the crank sensor helps the computer in your car figure out where and when to send the spark. If the crankshaft position sensor in your car is not working properly, your car will crank but won’t start.

Overview of Crank Sensor

To check if the crank sensor in your vehicle is faulty, you should look out for these signs:

  1. Your car uses more fuel than usual.
  2. The check engine light comes on your dashboard.
  3. Your car jerks or stalls while you are driving.
  4. Your car cranks, but it won’t start.
Crank sensor
Install New Crank senor

If your car doesn’t start due to a faulty crank sensor, you should consult with a good mechanic. You should ask the mechanic to install a new crankshaft position sensor in your car.

Do not try to do it yourself because this process can be a bit complicated. Let the mechanic handle this procedure.

Alternator

The alternator in your car basically works like a generator and supplies electric energy to the various electronic components in your car. It charges your car’s battery and powers various electrical components such as:

  • Indicator lights.
  • Ignition.
  • Fuel injection.
  • Wipers.
  • Heated seats.
  • Electric steering.

Now, if you have a malfunctioning alternator in your car it obviously cannot charge your car’s battery. Plus, it cannot provide enough electrical energy to run the ignition system and the fuel injection system.

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So, without sufficient power, your car’s engine will crank but won’t start. This is because it just doesn’t have enough energy to ignite the fuel and keep the engine running.

Below, I have listed some signs that you might notice if your car has a malfunctioning alternator.

  1. A warning light will flash on your car’s dashboard.
  2. You will hear a grinding noise from the bearings of the faulty alternator.
  3. Your headlights will flicker or appear dimmer than usual.
  4. Your car will stop while you are trying to accelerate.
  5. You need to recharge  your car’s battery frequently.

You should talk to a mechanic and get the faulty alternator in your car fixed promptly. Take it to a reliable workshop that handles electrical repairs so they can figure out what’s wrong.

If it is just the brushes, rotor bearings, or the reflector that are worn out, you can easily replace them without spending too much money. But, if the whole alternator needs to be replaced it might cost you around $25,000.

For more detailed information, you can watch this YouTube video.

FAQs

To learn more about why your car cranks but won’t start, you can read the frequently asked questions we have given below.

Q: If I drive with low fuel, will my car crank and eventually die?

If your car has a really low fuel level, the fuel pump won’t be able to transfer enough fuel to keep the engine going. So, if you drive with very little fuel, your car will eventually die. Thus, you should always keep your fuel tank at least a quarter full.

Q: How can I make sure that my car does not experience any cranking or starting issues?

You should regularly take your car to a mechanic and get the fuel pump, fuel injectors, spark plugs, crank sensor, and battery checked. Ask your mechanic to inspect these parts properly and replace parts that look damaged. Moreover, always keep enough fuel in your car.

Final Words

Overall, many car owners have faced cranking and starting issues with their vehicles. Thus, it is not a new problem that you should be worried about. If your car cranks but won’t restart, you should check the fuel level, condition of the battery, and the main relay and fuel pump relay.

After that, make sure the fuel pump, crank sensor, spark plugs, and camshaft sensor are all in good condition. If any of these parts are not functioning properly, your car will crank but won’t start.

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