Any problems with your car ignition system can not only be frustrating and annoying, but also a major inconvenience. If your car won't start, try a few of the following tips before you spend money on an expensive mechanic.
Key Doesn't Turn - Steering Lock
If the key doesn't turn when you put it in the lock, this is probably caused by the wheel lock in your car. This typically happens because the wheels are turned to one side when you park and pressed against the curb. This means that there is too much pressure on the steering lock, which will mean that the key can not be turned.
Fixing this problem isn't too difficult: you just need to slightly move the steering wheel in both directions. Don't put too much force on the steering wheel, just try gently turning the wheel and the key at the same time. This should release the pressure on the steering lock, making it easier to turn the key.
Strange Sounds When Starting Car - Battery
If you've been driving for some time, you are probably aware of the different sounds that cars can make. If you experience a cranking sound or something different than normal, this is probably caused by the battery. The battery may need topping up, or the connections might be corroded.
Experiencing this symptom means that you should check the condition of your battery and test it. This could be something as simple as trying out the lights in your car. If the lights are very dim, this indicates that the battery is weak.
If the battery seems fine, then the problem could also be caused by the clutch, starter motor, starter solenoid, neutral switch, transmission or ignition switch. This may be quite difficult to diagnose, and you will need to get help from a specialist.
Engine Cranks but Doesn't Fire - Lack of Fuel
If the engine cranks when you turn the key, but it doesn't fire correctly, it could be because there's not enough fuel in the car. Other problems that cause this could be spark plugs or compression problems. This problem needs specialist attention, unless it's just that you haven't got enough gas in your car.
Car Won't Move When in Gear - Transmission Problems
When you car is in gear, it might not move. This means that your car will start OK, but it is unable to move off. The cause of this is related to the transmission or clutch damage.
You must check the fluid levels in your car. If the fluid level of the transmission system is OK, take the car to a garage and get the transmission checked. It could be caused by a disconnected gearshift. If the fluid level is low, then top it off, but also find out where the leak is.
If the car doesn't move when the clutch is lifted up, this could be a result of clutch problems. You will need to get the clutch changed as soon as possible.