Car Hesitates To Start – All Possible Reasons With Solutions

When your car hesitates to start the causes are the first things you need to figure out. Failure or damage in the spark plugs, ignition coil, car battery, air filter, engine sensor, fuel pressure regulator, and even a worn-out timing belt can cause starting problems.

Low Voltage Battery Can Cause Starting Problems

Learn how to fix starting issues in this guide before your engine stalls.

Why Does a Car Hesitate To Start?

A car hesitates to start because of a clogged air filter, failing spark plugs, a bad ignition coil, or a bad or discharged battery. Other common reasons for starting problems include a bad starter, fuel delivery issues, dirty fuel, and a faulty fuel pressure regulator.

– Failing Spark Plugs and Ignition Coil

Spark plugs develop issues as they get older, such as misfiring or a rough idle. The performance issues are fewer and less frequent if you change spark plugs often. Bad spark plugs make starting the engine hard.

Dirt, carbon, and fuel may also cover spark plugs, limiting their capacity to produce enough power to burn the fuel and air mixture. Ignition coils send the power to the spark plug. Old or failing ignition coils cause a weak spark.

– Clogged Air Filter

The starting process requires a specific combination of air and fuel. The air filter protects the engine from impurities such as dirt, debris, and dust. A clogged air filter reduces the amount of air delivered to the engine.

What if your car hesitates to start first time? Your car won’t start immediately after turning the ignition key fob if the engine lacks enough air. Hence, cleaning and changing the air filter regularly are important to ensure a sufficient air supply to the engine at all times.

– Problems With Fuel Delivery

Wondering, “Car hesitates to start after I put gas in it, why?” Several issues cause poor fuel delivery even if the car has enough gas, and these include a bad fuel pump, clogged fuel injectors, and faulty fuel filters. A bad fuel pump cannot push enough gas through the fuel lines. In addition, a broken, dirty, or clogged fuel filter delays the start process.

A working fuel injector sprays fuels into the engine at a specific angle. When fuel injectors are clogged or have broken valves, the fuel and air mixture is insufficient to generate a strong spark.

– A Bad Starter

If your starter is failing, you will notice that the interior lights work but will not burn bright when you start the engine. Other electrical features will also malfunction, warning you to replace the bad starter motor immediately.

If your car hesitates to start, push button start issues can also be to blame. The car will hesitate to start after turning the ignition switch if you fail to replace the starter in time. In addition, the engine will crank when the starter dies. Tapping the starter sometimes allows you to start the car, but you need to drive straight to a mechanic shop for a starter motor replacement.

– A Broken Fuel Pressure Regulator

The fuel pressure regulator controls how much fuel the pump delivers to the fuel injectors. The valves in the regulator allow fuel back into the fuel tank. When you start the car, the regulator pumps the fuel in the gas tank to the injectors.

Why Does a Car Hesitate To Start

If the valves of the fuel pressure regulator are stuck or damaged, they allow fuel in the gas lines to flow back to the gas tank. Consequently, your car lacks enough fuel pressure to start the engine.

– A Bad Battery

If your car hesitates to start, no check engine light appears, and you have no idea what’s causing it, you might have a bad battery to blame. The car battery supplies the power the engine needs to start and run. A weak battery cannot provide enough voltage to start the engine. The voltage supplied reduces when the battery gets old.

Your car hesitates to start after sitting in cold temperatures for a long time. If the battery is working properly, you may have a problem with the connection. The battery cannot supply power with corroded posts or cables.

Mechanics recommend that you inspect the battery regularly and replace it before it fails. You can use water and baking soda to clean it. In addition, ask a mechanic to check the battery’s health periodically to avoid sudden failures.

– Bad Fuel

If your car hesitates to start but runs fine, you may have filled your gas tank with poor fuel quality. Many drivers do not think much about fuel quality. Cheap fuel may save you money but damage your car engine.

Poor quality fuel also leads to failing spark plugs, clogged injectors, and other mechanical issues. You will require an additive to start your car if you suspect the fuel quality is the problem.

– A Failing Engine Sensor

If your car struggles to start but the battery is fine, you may be dealing with a faulty engine sensor. A failing engine sensor causes the engine control module to pump too little or excessive fuel, affecting the fuel and air mixture.

The air and fuel combination will be rich if the control module injects too much fuel and lean if the module injects too little fuel. A sign of a bad engine sensor is that your car struggles to start when the engine is either cold or warm.

Other related issues that may cause starting problems are a faulty camshaft position sensor and a failing MAF sensor.

– A Faulty Alternator

The alternator charges the car battery when the engine is running. A bad alternator will not charge a dead battery as required. Consequently, the battery will lack enough power to crank the engine.

You may not realize the alternator has a problem until you install a new battery, but the starting issues persist. It is advisable to test the alternator regularly for malfunctions. In addition, test the alternator and battery voltage before replacing the car battery.

How Can You Fix a Car That Hesitates To Start?

You can fix a car that hesitates to start by eliminating battery problems and then testing other parts. Check the voltage and battery connection. A dysfunctional or old battery requires immediate replacement. The next step is to test other parts that support the starting process for malfunctions or wear.

– Test and Replace the Battery

If you have used the same battery for years, it might be time to replace it. Before you replace it, use a tester or voltmeter to check its voltage. The voltage should be more than 12.6 volts if it is fully charged.

Check the connections for any rust and tighten any loose connections. Inspect the alternator as well. If all the connections are fine, but the starting problems continue, consider replacing the battery.

Replacing the battery is easy. Disconnect the old battery starting with the negative terminal and then the positive terminal.Connect the new battery starting with the positive terminal followed by the negative terminal.

Test the car with the new battery. If the starting problems persist, inspect and repair or replace other parts that cause starting issues.

– Replace Broken Parts

Several parts cause a failed car start, including a faulty starter, air filter, spark plugs, engine sensor, and fuel pressure regulator. You need to test each part at a time to know the problem source and replace the broken part.

You can replace the starter, spark plugs, and fuel filter with your manual and the right tools. For instance, you need a socket wrench or ratchet to remove and reinstall corroded or damaged spark plugs.

Fix a Car That Hesitates To Start


The easier solution is to allow a mechanic to check and replace the failing parts. Mechanics can locate the problem source easily because they have solved similar issues. In addition, you will avoid repair mistakes, such as poor-quality parts and loose connections.

– Clean the Air Filter

Locate the air filter and inspect it for dirt or debris. A car manual will help you locate and remove the air filter for cleaning. Use the recommended cleaner and allow it to dry before reinstalling it.

Jumpstart the car after reinstalling the clean air filter to determine if the engine cranks or starts smoothly. It is advisable to eliminate small issues, such as dirt or debris on the engine components, before replacing other parts.

– Perform Regular Service and Maintenance

Some mechanical issues are avoidable with regular car service. Your mechanic will share maintenance tips that will prevent starting issues. For instance, you can learn how to inspect the engine compartment and replace some parts at home.

Ensure that expert mechanics offer you repair and maintenance services. The right car service should guide you to buying high-quality parts and choosing the best cleaners, oil, and fuel for your car model.

Car Hesitates to Start Problem

Why Does My Car Hesitate to Start but the RPMs Go Up?

When experiencing car acceleration issues like hesitation to start with increasing RPMs, several reasons could be at play. It may be due to a faulty fuel pump or clogged fuel injectors, hindering the proper delivery of fuel to the engine. A malfunctioning ignition system, such as worn spark plugs or a faulty ignition coil, could also cause this problem. Additionally, issues with the air intake system or a failing mass airflow sensor might lead to this hesitation.


Getting behind the steering wheel and realizing that your car hesitates to start should no longer frustrate you. Here is the information you have gained from this article:

  • Low voltage and rusted terminals in the car battery can cause starting problems.
  • Replacing failing spark plugs, a bad fuel pump, bad fuel filters, the alternator, and a bad fuel pressure regulator solves starting problems.
  • Dirt and clog on the air filter and fuel injectors can cause your car to struggle to start.
  • Poor fuel quality contributes to starting issues, so you shouldn’t cheap out on gas.

It is advisable to work with qualified mechanics for regular car maintenance and replacing failing components for the best results.


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