Over the past several months, my car has had spells where it would not crank for short periods of time. There was plenty of battery and fuel in the tank. After a short time, it would crank. Last week, it refused to crank and I had to haul it home. I have gotten the fuel pump to pump twice since I brought it home, but when I tried to take it for a test run, it choked down and would not crank. The electricals are fine. It is a fuel issue. I don't want to replace the fuel pump if it is something else. What do you suggest?
Well, the engine not cranking has nothing to do with the fuel pump. If the engine won't start, but cranks when you turn the key, now that is another story.
However, if the engine will not crank, there are several key things to look for. The first and foremost is corrosion on the battery cables. Look at both the positive and the negative. Check and clean the battery terminals. Check and clean the negative ground post (where the negative cable attaches to the body and/or the engine block). Check and clean the positive battery cable where it attaches to the starter. If all those are good, I want you to carefully check battery voltage while attempting to crank (this will take two people). If the battery voltage is dropping below 10 volts while cranking and the engine is not doing anything, then there is a problem with the starter and it is jammed and needs to be removed and checked. If the battery does not change at all when you turn the key, then it is more of an electrical problem (starter relay, starter switch, starter solenoid, etc.).
Bob, The Auto Answer Man
If you have a question for Bob, send it to AskBob@stretcher.com. He's able to answer many of them personally and we'll include the best questions in future issues of The Dollar Stretcher.
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