Car Struggles To Start But Runs Fine? – Cox Auto Service Centre

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There are few sounds more panic-inducing than your engine cranking over but not starting immediately. Sure, there’s relief when you finally hear that purr under the bonnet, but will you be able to get it started again at your next destination, or will you be stranded and embarrassed in the Dan Murphy’s carpark forever?! If your car struggles to start but runs fine, this article is for you.

Why your car struggles to start but runs fine

There are a number of reasons why your car might be slow to start but runs as-normal once it gets going. Causes can vary from weather conditions to battery health, wiring issues, starter motor concerns and fuel-pump health. If your car won’t start at all, check out our guide here. Let’s dive in and explore a few of the common causes for a slow start.

1. Wiring

Your car transfers power from one component to another through a series of wires. Loose connections or leaks can cause interruptions to important systems involved in starting your car. For example, your starter motor relies on 2 key wires to run properly:

  • A large wire supplies power, running straight from the battery
  • A smaller wire sends a signal from the ignition when you turn your key (or press start), instructing the starter motor to use that power supply and get started

If either of these wires is loose, or affected by corrosion, you may experience an interruption in power-supply or a delay in the delivery of the signal to start the motor. Often an issue like this will result in a slow start, but no ill-effects once you get going.

If a quick fiddle of the wires gets things running smoothly again, great! But if you’ve got an obvious leak or corrosion in play, bring your vehicle in so we can resolve the root cause before further damage occurs.

2. Starter relay and starter motor issues

If you hear a series of clicks when you engage the ignition before it fires up, this may be a sign of wear and tear in your starter relay or starter motor. The electrical contacts that provide power to the starter motor will wear down over time, transferring less and less power to your starter motor.

With less power, the starter motor will spin slower, causing that struggle you feel when starting your car. If you don’t have this repaired quickly, it can cause expensive damage to your starter motor, so don’t delay in bringing your vehicle into Cox Auto for early repairs – we’ll take care of you and your vehicle.

3. Battery problems

If your battery isn’t sending enough current towards the starter motor, your engine simply won’t fire up. So if engaging the ignition the first few times results in nothing (e.g. no sounds or no lights on your dashboard) before you finally get some action, then there’s a good chance that the problem is with your battery. A physical examination will quickly reveal if there’s any corrosion on the battery itself. If it looks okay, check that your battery cables haven’t come loose.

Still slow to start? It might just be the case that your battery is getting to the end of its lifespan. You might get away with a few slow starts, but it’s likely that a battery on its last legs will give out at an inconvenient moment, so don’t delay in seeing the experts and getting your battery issues sorted out!

4. Fuel issues

Another cause of a slow start can be a blockage or leak in your fuel lines. Fuel lines transport fuel from the tank to the engine; any blockage or loss of volume through a leak can result in lower pressure than is necessary to power the engine. It’s not uncommon for a blockage in a fuel line to slow the start of your vehicle, only to run fine after, but repeated slow starts might be a sign of something more systemic, such as a leak.

Don’t ignore the signs!

If you’ve noticed that your car struggles to start but runs fine time and time again – even if it then seems fine while it’s running – it’s time for some expert intervention. Bring your vehicle in and we’ll use our sophisticated diagnostic tools to identify and rapidly resolve the issue before more damage is done. We can keep you on the move with a loan vehicle, free of charge.

Call the workshop today on 03 9071 0166 to talk through the safest and most convenient option for you – we’ll take care of you and your vehicle, and have you starting smoothly first time, every time, in no time!

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