Why Is My Car Cranking But Not Starting? (11 Reasons Why)

Your car is cranking, but it isn’t starting. Wondering why? Most of the time, these vehicles aren’t starting because there’s no spark. But what if that wasn’t the case?

It’s not always a sign that your engine is broken. The engine may be connected to another component, causing it to crank but not start. We’re going to expose why your vehicle cranks but doesn’t start at all!

Why Is My Car Cranking But Not Starting?

If your car doesn’t start but is cranking, you might have a defective spark plug, which will keep it from operating normally. If your fuel flow is insufficient, your car won’t receive enough air or could even explode. Low compression levels are also a significant concern when insufficient air is forced into the cylinders during each firing cycle.

Let’s uncover why your vehicle cranks up and prevents you from driving, so keep reading!

1. Deficit Spark Plugs

An engine’s oil flows into the combustion chamber, significantly contributing to spark plug issues.

In addition, if oil seeps into the combustion chamber, the spark plug’s tip may become greasy and unclean, leading to an early failure.

Meanwhile, if your car starts to burn oil, pay attention because this could mean that your spark plugs are broken and need to be replaced.

As a result, spark plugs in your car may not function even if the engine maintains compression, leading to an undrivable vehicle.

2. Inadequate Fuel Flow

Limited fuel flow can cause engine stalls, choppy idle, low acceleration, and misfires. With that, you can check the dipstick or gas cap for any signs of water or dirt on it.

Also, a fuel pump needs to deliver enough fuel to the engine for it to run, and if the car has a low fuel level in its tank, it won’t have enough fuel to do so.

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However, if there are any signs of water or dirt present, you will need to let the engine sit overnight so it can drain itself and refill with more gas.

Accordingly, check the fuel pressure. Is it high enough? If it isn’t, then it’s likely why your car is turning up but not starting.

3. Low Engine Compression

If your cylinders are losing compression, a burst head gasket is one potential cause.

As it happens, there will be a space between the cylinder and the head if there is a glitch, and gas will escape the barrel, resulting in poor compression.

That said, this is yet another serious issue that can prevent your vehicle from starting with an overheated engine.

4. Power Supply Technicalities

Your car’s electrical system comprises the alternator, starter, and battery. While the battery powers the starter, the alternator gives it the power to start your vehicle.

Further, the battery is usually the first thing to go when it feels like your car is not starting.

Therefore, if this is the case, you might notice that the starter makes an odd noise when you try to turn up the ignition switch.

5. Obstructed Fuel Injectors

Fuel injectors and their filter baskets clog due to old fuel, carbon, and residue inside the fuel.

Apart from this, if the debris inside the filter basket has accumulated, the injector is said to be blocked.

As an effect, if these components are obstructed, the fuel injectors might not properly fuel the cylinders, and the car might not even start.

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6. Unreliable Fuel Pump

Unreliable Fuel Pump

Electrical issues, aging, or gasoline impurities can all lead to fuel pump failures and losses.

Still, faulty fuel injectors aren’t frequently the issue because most gasoline from chain service stations is flawlessly clean and kept in a safe environment.

For that reason, your vehicle won’t be able to run on its own if the fuel pump malfunctions since gas won’t be able to flow from the tank to the engine.

7. Failing Crank Sensors

Crankshaft position sensor issues may cause a crankshaft signal to be interrupted while the engine is running, resulting in an engine stall.

From there, the system in your engine receives information from this sensor about the current positions of all the valves and pistons.

Then, this data is used by the ECU to decide when to ignite the spark. If this sensor fails, the ECU won’t know when to ignite the sparks, and the engine may not start.

8. Clogged Engine Air Intake

Air must also be present for fuel to reach the engine. Otherwise, it could run irregularly if sufficient fresh air cannot get through.

Additionally, as your engine takes in a lot of ventilation, it may eventually become clogged with any floating dust and debris.

Consequently, it can result in issues like engine stalling and stuttering, causing trouble starting the car.

9. Tangled Connections To Starter Motor

An electric motor is a starting motor that “cranks” or rotates the engine; it is made up of the starter solenoid connected to the motor’s potent DC electric motor.

In line with this, a low battery voltage or an issue with the starter motor solenoid are the two most frequent causes of a starter not engaging.

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Because of that, the engine will start to crank initially, and there might be a lot of odd noises while this happens.

10. Battery Dilemmas

If your lights and your radio work, but nothing else functions, there’s probably something wrong with the battery.

If this happens often, you may want to replace your battery with one with more wattage to generate more power when needed.

In the end, when your battery is low on energy, it won’t hold a charge and may not be able to crank the engine over when you turn the key.

11. Sophisticated Security System

Advanced security systems, such as anti-theft systems, can be very messy when a glitch occurs.

Under those circumstances, it is possible your car won’t start. Or, while driving, the system can suddenly turn off the ignition, causing your vehicle to stall.

As an outcome, a flaw in this technology could prevent the ignition from working with its high-tech security immobilizers.

To know more, you can also read our posts on why your car won’t start with a new battery, why your car won’t jumpstart, and why your car won’t accelerate.


Car troubleshooting can be challenging, especially if you are unfamiliar with the parts and functions of your vehicle.

With that, poor compression, insufficient fuel flow, and insufficient spark plugs could all be to blame if your vehicle is cranking and fails to start.

By all means, you could determine it on your own by being aware of these causes to watch out for!

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