Car Hesitant to Start (Possible Causes)

Are you familiar with a situation where you are sitting in your car for an extended period of time and, despite cranking the key to give it another try, there is no sign of life?

No matter how much you wait, you cannot get your car started. and finally, after some hesitating, it finally starts and you wonder what might have caused it, fortunately, this article will shed some light on the possible causes of the vehicle hesitation.

What Causes a Car to have a Delayed Start?

Bad Battery:

The first possible cause is the battery that has gone bad. It could have been drained to the point of no return, so if it can start at all, it may not be able to hold its voltage for a long period of time.

Listen to what sound your car makes when trying to start and if you hear a clicking sound, the battery may be bad needs replacing or drained and needs some charging.

If you hear a snapping sound, the battery unit may have gone bad. If you are not sure about the condition of your car battery, it would be best to have it checked by a certified mechanic from your local auto parts store.

Ignition switch:

The ignition switch is mainly used to start and engage the starter mechanism of your automobile’s engine. With its help, most of your vehicle’s electrical components will be powered up and running as well. If this switch is faulty, it could leave you stranded for a considerable time.

The ignition switch is designed to engage the starter and the fuel pump at one slip of the key. When this does not happen, or when it happens so late that your car has cut out on you, then there may be a problem with the ignition switch.

Failing Starter:

The Starter is meant to engage the crank in a vehicle, which in turn, powers up and runs the electrical systems. However, if this starter is faulty, it can leave you stranded and not let your car start at all.

If you have checked this and it was not at fault you may want to have the problem fixed just in case. The good news is that it does not take much time or money to fix a faulty starter; Also even if it does need repairing it will still run smoothly

Bad Coolant temperature switch:

When you are trying to start your car and there is no sign of life, it may be due to a faulty coolant temperature switch. When this component fails, its role of sending a signal to the computer that your engine is hot is taken over by another component in the system which will send an opposite signal.

Not having the right signal will keep the vehicle engine from starting up. The coolant temperature sensor might actually not be faulty itself but temperature extremes may have caused it to go bad.

Malfunctioning Fuel Pump:

If the fuel pump is faulty, it will not be able to send fuel to the engine’s cylinders. In other words, this component will not have a job and may break down. If your car has started and then stopped as soon as you try to accelerate, or if you hear a rattling noise when you try to start, this is a sure indication that your fuel pump needs servicing.

Faulty Alternator:

The alternator is responsible for charging the battery and supplying the power to all of your electrical systems. If this component fails, you can be left stranded on the side of a road with nothing working, not even your instruments and lights. In most cases, the reason why a car fails to start is that the battery and alternator are not receiving enough juice to work properly and run the engine.

Water in Fuel:

If there is water in your fuel tank, you will have trouble starting up your car. This is because water does not allow a fuel-efficient engine to get enough oxygen and must be removed from the tank. Some cars have an overfill protection system that will shut off the engine if water is detected.

What to do if Your Car is Hesitant to Start?

If you are having trouble starting up your car and the problem is not with the battery or ignition switch, then you have to determine what is causing the hesitation.

If your car has been hesitating for some time and you have already checked everything else on this list, then it might just be a matter of refilling fuel and fixing the problem with any other failing component.

It is also recommended that you take your car to the nearest repair shop that can diagnose the problem and fix it. The most important thing to do if your car will not start is to not panic. The first thing you need to do is turn your ignition key as far as it goes and try to start the engine.

If that does not work, then try depressing the pedal on your brake several times, then turn your key again and see if the car starts. If it still does not start, then you will have to call a tow truck or contact a friend or family member for help.


Now that you are familiar with the possible causes of car hesitation, it will not be hard for you to figure out what is wrong with your vehicle. Try out the steps listed above and hopefully your car will startup. If you still have trouble after doing all of these things, then you should definitely take it to an auto shop for diagnostics diagnostic testing, and repair.

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