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3 Possible Reasons Your Engine Turns Over but Doesn't Start

An engine
When it comes to automotive problems, few issues create as much stress for owners as a car that won't start. To make matters worse, this problem may stem from a variety of different underlying issues, which vary greatly in terms of severity and cost. Regardless, you will almost certainly need professional assistance to get your car running again.

Nonetheless, car owners can reduce their anxiety by better understanding the sorts of problems that may be at play.

The first step involves noticing whether your engine turns over or not. If your engine does turn over, but your car won't start, keep reading. This article outlines three possible causes of this relatively common problem.

1. Engine Flooding

Your car's engine generates power by combusting a mixture of air and gasoline. This process takes place inside the engine's cylinders. First, however, the piston must press the air-fuel mixture into as small a size as possible. This process goes by the name of compression. 

Unless your engine achieves adequate compression, it won't start. A common reason for a lack of compression involves a flooded engine. A flooded engine simply has too much gasoline in it. This excess gasoline makes it impossible for the pistons to achieve an air-tight seal against the cylinder walls. As a result, when the piston presses down, the mixture of gas and air escapes around it.

In addition, excess gasoline coats the spark plugs and prevents them from generating the spark necessary for combustion.

Engine flooding often occurs if you pump your gas pedal too many times when trying to start your car. In some cases, you can resolve the issue simply by raising your hood and allowing excess gas fumes to evaporate from your engine for several minutes.

Chronic engine flooding can lead to the formation of deposits on your spark plugs. These deposits only make the problem more likely to recur. As part of a long-term solution, your mechanic may suggest installing all new spark plugs.

2. Bad Fuel Pump

Engine flooding also happens when too much gasoline gets into your engine. Yet your car may also fail to start if it receives too little gasoline. This issue often occurs as the result of a faulty fuel pump. As you can probably guess, the fuel pump's job involves pushing gasoline from your gas tank to your engine.

To diagnose a faulty fuel pump, a mechanic begins by checking the appropriate fuse. A blown fuse can prevent a fuel pump from working, even if it remains in sound mechanical condition.

Next the repair technician will test your fuel pump relay. If the relay works properly, then the fault almost certainly lies with the pump itself. In most cases, you will need to install a new fuel pump.

3. Faulty Mass Airflow Sensor

Virtually all cars with electronic fuel injection systems contain a component known as the mass airflow sensor, or MAF. An MAF monitors the amount of air entering your engine. This information allows your system to regulate the amount of fuel it sends to your engine, thus maintaining an ideal air to fuel ratio.

Yet when a mass airflow sensor develops problems, it may no longer accurately measure the rate of airflow. As a result, your car won't have the appropriate data to regulate fuel usage. In some cases, a faulty mass airflow sensor won't detect airflow at all. In that case, the MAF instructs your fuel pump not to deliver any fuel to your engine.

This issue can prevent your car from starting up properly. For more information about diagnosing the source of your non-starting car, please contact the auto pros at Walnut Creek Import Service and Sales.  
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