Monterey Collision & Auto Repair

Robert's Collision & Repair(831) 373-1535
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Why Won't My Car Start?

Blog updated on October 23, 2023:

Why Your Car May Not Start: A Comprehensive Guide

It's been over a decade since we originally penned this informative guide on common reasons your car may not start. In our commitment to providing our customers with up-to-date and relevant information, we are proud to revisit this topic. However, there have been significant changes at our establishment since 2012. We've evolved into CARSTAR Robert's Collision, specializing exclusively in collision and auto body repair. While we no longer handle general automotive repairs, we want to ensure you understand how these insights remain connected to what we now do. Join us as we update this blog and explore the world of car non-start issues.

Common Reasons Your Car May Not Start:

Over the years, we've seen countless cars facing starting issues, and while we no longer address these concerns at CARSTAR Robert's Collision, we believe it's essential to remain informed about what could go wrong under the hood. These are the top reasons why your car might refuse to start:

1. Electric Fuel Pump Failure / Fuel Filter Restriction: One of the most prevalent culprits is the electric fuel pump's failure, often stemming from inadequate maintenance. Regularly changing your fuel filter is essential to prevent clogs and ensure proper fuel flow. Running on a near-empty tank or letting it run dry can swiftly damage the pump.

2. Timing Belt Failure / Timing Belt Tensioner Failure: Timing belts are designed to last a specific mileage, typically between 40,000-60,000 miles under regular use. Neglecting to replace your timing belt in time can lead to costly engine damage.

3. Distributor Failure / Including Ignition Control Modules: Distributor failures, particularly in Honda vehicles, often result from bearing issues.

4. ECM/PCM Failure (computer): Computer failures are rare but can happen. Our diagnostic tests at CARSTAR Robert's Collision can swiftly identify these issues.

5. Alternators: A failing alternator can lead to a dead battery. Regular inspection is vital to avoid this scenario.

6. Cam Sensors: Cam sensors play a crucial role in spark timing and fuel delivery. A malfunctioning sensor can result in rough running or no start.

7. Batteries / Cables / Clamps: Neglected or corroded batteries are common culprits in non-start scenarios. Proper maintenance is key.

8. Electrical Problems: Voltage variations can cause day-to-day drivability issues, given the prevalence of computerized controls in modern vehicles.

9. Miscellaneous: Issues like inaccurate fuel gauges, engine lock-ups due to oil depletion, and clogged exhaust systems (catalytic converters) can all lead to non-starting problems.

Reinforcing Our Commitment to Your Safety

At CARSTAR Robert's Collision, we've transitioned into a specialized realm of collision and auto body repair, where we prioritize the structural integrity and appearance of your vehicle, ensuring it meets the highest safety standards. When faced with a non-starting engine, don't jeopardize your safety; reach out to us immediately to your trusted mechanic. If you do find yourself in an accident, you can trust CARSTAR Robert’s for collision repair services that not only restore your vehicle.

Need Collision Repair? Give Us A Call!

While our services have evolved from general automotive repair to collision and auto body repair, the principles of responsible maintenance and vehicle care remain as vital as ever. We're CARSTAR Robert's Collision, dedicated to restoring your vehicle's aesthetics and structural integrity. When you need help restoring your vehicle, come to CARSTAR Robert's Collision in Monterey, CA, to learn more about why our community continues coming to us year after year. Please schedule an appointment with us today, and see what makes us so unique in the Monterey community!

Blog from 3/26/2012:

There are many reasons why a car may not start. To really know, you’ll want to bring your vehicle in to Robert’s Auto Repair for a thorough inspection, but here are some of the top reasons your car may be unable to start:

Electric Fuel Pump Failure /Fuel Filter Restriction

One of the most common no-start problems we have seen is the failure of in-tank electric fuel pumps, primarily due to lack of proper scheduled maintainance. If the fuel filter is not changed at the proper intervals, they may clog up and not allow fuel to get where it needs to go. Another cause for premature fuel pump failure is allowing the fuel level to get to below ¼ tank and below for extended periods or running completely out of fuel running out of fuel allows the electric fuel pump to run “dry” which nearly immediately ruins the pump.

Timing Belt Failure / Timing Belt Tensioner failure

Timing belts are designed to last approx. 40,000-60,000 miles under normal use. Not changing the timing belt before it “breaks” can result in expensive engine damage in some vehicles, such as Honda, Acura, Nissan, and Mitsubishi. Always have the timing belt changed a little before the recommended change interval, and check the tensioner. Replace it if questionable. Timing belt tensioner failure is common.

Distributor Failure / Including Ignition Control Modules

We have seen many distributor failures on Hondas, especially due to bearing failure.

ECM/ PCM Failure (computer)

Unfortunately, computer failure happens. The good news is that our diagnostic tests can detect these issues fairly quickly.


Alternators are used in modern automobiles to charge the battery and to power the electrical system when its engine is running. If your alternator is not working, chances are your battery is dead, too.

Cam Sensors

The cam sensor tells the computer where your cam is in it's rotation. The info is used to determine spark timing and fuel delivery. if it's bad, you'll run rough or not at all.

Batteries/ Cables /Clamps

Many neglected corroded Batteries find their way to our facility. Batteries do not last forever! Poor Maintenance practices cause many battery failures which often lead to other problems.

Electrical Problems

Many problems associated with day-to-day drive-ability are caused by voltage variations and must be the first step in troubleshooting any problem. This is due to the use of computerized controls in most cars these days and even quite minor voltage changes can alter the controls. Your car's electrical system must be load tested to certain standards, which can be simulated by turning on all the accessories and lights for simple voltage drain but that is not an all-inclusive test.


Vehicles out of fuel due to inaccurate fuel gauges.
Engines locked up due to lack of oil.
Plugged Exhaust systems (catalytic converters).

If your car won’t start, contact Robert’s Auto Repair immediately at 831-373-1534. We’ll be happy to bring your vehicle in for repair, and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. We’re here to help!


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