Monday morning. It’s around 7.30am. A bleary-eyed parent wends their way out to the car. Briefcase or handbag in one hand and key in the other, they open the creaky door, slide in and hears their teeth chatter as the cold winter air bites hard. Shaking fingers attempt to slide the key into the barrel. With a satisfied sigh they turn the key. Nothing. No whirr of the starter motor. No ker-wumph, blam of the engine as it fires up. Instead, that satisfied sigh is now a sigh of frustration.
It’s that nightmare scenario that happens. Just when we need the reliability of a car that normally starts first time, every time, something has gone awry and it means some pain.
Although increasingly rare as an occurrence thanks to today’s electronics alerting us, a flat battery from leaving the headlights on can still happen. Headlights are amongst the highest draining items electronically inside a car, even with the advent of LEDs. Even the humble work ute has something that will bing, chime, or buzz to advise the lights are on.
The alternator, the device that charges the battery whilst the engine is running is sometimes a likely cause. Although these too tend to have some form of alert for the driver, those alerts are generally a light on the dash that comes on when the car starts. If that light stays on, it’s a signal to say the alternator is slowly failing in its ability to charge. And there will be a point where there is no charge, and the battery, especially overnight, will lose any remaining charge.
But then there are the simple causes. People have been known to start a car with the foot on the brake, repeated attempts to extract live from the engine with a turn of the key or a push of the button, and all to no avail. Then there’s the shame-faced realisation that the car is in Drive, not Park, and the electronic nanny simply won’t pass the command to start through.
A final possibility is again simple. Has the battery terminal connection come loose?
We’ve checked we’re in Park or in Neutral for a manual. There are no lights on the dash, so the bonnet is popped, a torch sourced, and the terminal looks like it’s ok. A gentle wiggle and it’s moving. It shouldn’t.
These are only a few possibilities as to why the car won’t start. If your car has had a similar issue, or sounds more and more every morning that it’s struggling to come to life, give us here at Sommer Car Care a call on 3833 9600 or click here to book your next vehicle service today performed by our highly skilled and trained technicians.