Registered: 24th Dec 99
Location: West Midlands
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Please note that this thread is in no way exhaustive, and anything that is recommended that you try is completely at your own risk!
The engine won't start
The engine makes a sound while starting known as cranking. If you don't hear that sound when the ignition key is turned on to start the car, this generally means that there could be something wrong with the starter motor or the battery (assuming you are not out of petrol). A simple way to check if your battery is weak or completely flat is to test the windscreen wipers, lights, radio or fan. If they do not work then the battery may be completely flat or may have faulty connections.
1. Check the battery connections at the terminals. Make sure that the connections are clean, tight and free from corrosion.
2. Check the battery is in good condition
A lot of modern batteries have status indicators that tell you the 'health status' of your battery - there are usually three status 'colours' - green means OK, yellow means partially discharged, and white means completely discharged
The starter motor makes a loud 'click' sound but the engine doesn't start
Turn your headlights on and then try to start the engine. Do the headlights dim when you hear the 'click'?
YES = You may have a partially or fully discharged battery, or faulty battery connections. Refer to the section above for more information.
NO = You may have faulty connections between the battery and the starter motor (common problem) or in the worse case scenario, the starter motor/solenoid may be faulty. If you know the location of your starter motor, you could try tapping it lightly with a hammer and then try starting the engine, or push-start the car (manual transmission cars only).
Engine takes a long time to start
While starting the car, if the engine stops cranking after you release the key or if you hear the engine crank very slowly, you may have a partially or fully discharged battery - refer to the first section in this thread for more information. You can also get your car to start by push-starting it (manual transmission cars only) or by connecting jump leads from a known working battery to your battery and then starting the engine.
[Edited on 29-02-2012 by Ian]