July 13, 2018 at 1:51 PM


The term "turning the engine over" refers to the literal turning of the crankshaft which then in turn allows the other necessary parts including the pistons and cam shaft to start moving in a domino effect.

When you turn the key or push a button to start a car, the battery sends electricity to the starter motor which signals the crankshaft to start turning.

By saying that the engine "won't turn over" means that the crankshaft isn't turning, so the other parts won't be able to move to start the car.

If your car refuses to start, there are a few tricks you can try first to turn your engine over before you call a mechanic.

We've explored a few of the common symptoms below that you might experience and what you can do to try and get your car started yourself.


If you turn the key and can hear the starter motor trying to turn the engine over, the lack of power is likely caused by electrical issues such as a weak battery, dirty battery terminals or a worn starter motor. Let's look at some ways to try to fix them.

If the ignition is on, but the internal lights are dim or flicker when you turn the key, the battery is probably out of charge. You can try turning the key a dozen times in a row, leaving it ten minutes, then trying it again.

If you're still not having any joy, it may be a problem with the battery terminals. Corrosion over time can interrupt the flow of electricity from the battery to the rest of the car. Giving them a good clean, or even just a good jiggle, could sort out any connection problems.

Assuming that you've tried both of these steps and you haven't had any success, you could try getting a jump start from another car.

If this isn't an option and there are some strong volunteers around, ask them to help give you a bump start.

However you get the car moving, you should take it to a garage immediately to have the problem checked out by a professional. If there's no one around to get you started, you will need to call your breakdown company.


If there is definitely power in the battery, but nothing is happening when you turn the key, there are a couple of quick things to try.

In a manual car, make sure you're pushing the clutch all way to the floor and nothing has rolled behind it to obstruct movement.

In an automatic, make sure you have fully selected park, or move it out of park and back again, then try the ignition. Alternatively, you could try starting it in neutral.

If nothing happens still, then it could be a problem with the starter motor or ignition switch. Both problems will need a mechanic to take a look at them so you should take your car to your preferred garage immediately. 


This is your classic coughing and spluttering but never starting. The first thing to check is the fuel level - you may have just made it home on your last trip and not realised that the tank was down to a couple of drips.

If lack of fuel is not to blame, then it could be the fuel pump. The pump delivers fuel to the engine and without it you're not going anywhere.

If you can't hear it running when you first turn the key, it's time to look in the owner's manual for the location of the relays. Changing the relay could restore power to the pump and get the fuel flowing again.

A flooded engine could also prevent the car coming to life. Just keeping the accelerator hard to the floor while continuing to crank the engine until it has flushed through should solve this quickly.

If you can get the car started, it's probably a good idea to get it to a local garage as soon as you can to get the problem looked at.


Most people don't have the knowledge, skills or tools to fix a car when it goes wrong. As we've outlined above, there are some simple tricks you can perform to try and get a car started, but ultimately, there is a bigger problem that needs to be solved by a professional.

Ensuring that you have breakdown cover that comes out to your home and covers you nationwide is essential in preventing you from being stranded with a vehicle that doesn't work.

All the cars that we sell come with a three month RAC warranty and breakdown coverSearch our stock today to buy and drive with confidence.


Category: Tips