The car struggles to start but runs fine. This is often a starting problem with cars. If your car struggles to start but runs fine, it’s important to know what’s causing it. Because it can be more difficult to start in the winter and when the engine is cold, in many cases, the engine of the car will not start at all.
In this post, we will discuss the causes of “car struggles to start but runs fine” and how to fix it.
Causes of Car Struggles To Start But Runs Fine
If your car struggles to start but runs fine, the main causes could be extreme cold weather, battery issues or a faulty starter. However, a damaged engine head valve, engine compression issue, fuel system problem, bad sensor or electrical issue can also cause a car to struggle to start.
1. Starter Motor Issues
The starter motor is one of the important parts of starting the engine, which is operated by the power of the battery. The starter motor rotates the engine crank, which starts the engine.
But many times, due to the failure of any part of the starter motor, the starter does not rotate with full power and speed or gets stuck while rotating, due to which the engine of the car has to struggle to start.
Therefore, if this happens, you should get it checked by a qualified technician and get the fault rectified.
2. Low Battery Voltage
Sometimes, when the car battery is dead or discharged, it will struggle to start but run fine.
This happens because low battery voltage or a bad battery is unable to turn the starter motor, or because there is not enough voltage, the starter motor does not turn fast enough, causing the engine to struggle to start. So when this happens, the first thing you need to do is check your car’s battery.
3. Fuel System Issues
Sometimes one of the components used in the fuel system of a car may not work properly, and the car will struggle to start but run fine after starting.
Often, a clogged fuel filter, a bad fuel pump, or clogged or faulty fuel injectors can cause this problem. So if your car is struggling to start but runs fine, your car’s fuel system components should be examined and appropriately repaired or replaced as necessary by a qualified mechanic.
4. Electrical Issues
Whenever your car is struggling to start but runs fine, you should also check the car’s electric system to troubleshoot this problem.
Because electric power plays an important role in the operation of a modern engine, which supplies power to sensors and fuel injectors, So when this happens, the wiring related to all the sensors should be checked, as well as the spark plugs and cables. This problem can also be caused by a loose or corroded ground connection on the battery.
5. Bad Sensor
The engines of modern vehicles are equipped with various types of sensors. These sensors signal the functioning of various engine parts to the vehicle’s ECM, which in turn determines the proper amount of fuel mixture and ignition timing for efficient engine operation.
But sometimes a bad sensor or damaged wire can also cause a car to struggle to start. In the vast majority of cases, a failure of the crank shaft position sensor, throttle sensor, or camshaft position sensor causes this problem.
6. Engine Compression Issues
Compression plays a vital role in the operation of any internal combustion engine. Because engine compression ignites the fuel mixture and draws air from the air intake, the engine runs successfully.
But when the rings, piston, or sleeve of the engine get damaged due to any reason, it causes the compression leak of the engine, and the oil starts leaking into the oil chamber of the compression engine. This causes the car to struggle to start. But running is fine. Because more compression is created in the running engine.
7. Damaged or Bent Engine Head Valves
There are two main parts to any internal combustion engine: One is the engine block, and the other is the engine head. The engine head consists of camshafts, air intake valves, and exhaust valves.
These valves stop the compression created by the piston and allow air to come in and exhaust gases to come out with proper timing, which ignites the fuel combustion process of the engine efficiently and starts the engine successfully.
But damaged or bent head valves can leak the compression needed for engine operation, causing the car’s engine to struggle to start but run fine once it does.
8. Incorrect Timing of The Crankshaft & Camshaft
Every internal combustion engine has a timing chain or belt. However, many engines also use an attachment gear for timing. But the work of all these is the same.
In an engine, the timing belt or chain adjusts the timing of the crankshaft and camshafts, allowing the camshaft to open and close the engine head valves at the correct timing to position the crankshaft.
At times, the engine’s timing adjustments get slightly out of whack due to some reason, and this affects the operation of the engine as a whole. So the car struggles to start when the timing is out but runs fine when the engine is started.
Car Struggles To Start But Battery Is Fine
If your car struggles to start but battery is fine, the most common cause is a faulty starter or damage battery cables. However, in many cases, there could be other issues too, such as no fuel, engine internal faults, electrical issues, or fuel system problems.
What Happens When Car Struggles To Start But Runs Fine?
At times, the car struggles to start but runs fine, which can become a cause for concern for the driver. With this problem, the engine of the car starts with difficulty or does not start at all. But when started, the car runs fine. In many cases, the car engine starts with difficulty after prolonged cranking.
How To Fix A Car That Struggles To Start But Runs Fine
First, step by step, you should investigate the possible reasons why the car struggles to start but runs fine.
- Check Battery Voltage: The first thing you should do is check the battery voltage, as in most cases, low battery voltage is the cause of the car’s struggle to start. If the battery voltage is low, start the car with jumper cables from the other battery. If the battery is damaged, replace it with a new one.
- Check Starter Motor: After this, the starter motor and cables should be checked. A bad starter motor or damaged cables can also cause a car to struggle to start. If the starter motor is damaged, have it repaired by a qualified technician or replace it with a new one.
- Check The Fuel System & Components: Oftentimes, a failure of the fuel system is also responsible for a car struggling to start. Therefore, when this happens, the fuel filter, pump, and injectors should be checked, and replacement should be considered if necessary.
- Check The Electrical Wiring & Components: A car struggling to start can also be caused by damaged electrical wiring and components. Therefore, when this happens, the spark plugs and cables should be checked and replaced if necessary. However, you can also try cleaning the spark plugs and adjusting the gap first.
- Check Sensors: Sometimes a sensor failure can also cause a car to struggle to start. So the sensor should be checked. A warning light is displayed in case of any sensor failure, which you can check with the scanner as a trouble code. The sensor wiring associated with the trouble code must be repaired or the sensor replaced.
- Check Engine Timing Adjustments: Incorrect engine timing adjustments can also cause a car to struggle to start. So get the timing adjustment of the engine checked by a qualified mechanic.
- Check For Internal Engine Defects: Sometimes, engine rings, pistons, and sleeves can be damaged, or head valves can be damaged, which can cause a car to struggle to start. If the engine has internal defects, it will need to be overhauled, which will result in higher costs.
Banty is the owner of Autorepairszone.com & is also a vehicle mechanic by profession. We have almost 12 years of experience in the field of automotive repair, and we strive to provide you with accurate information about vehicle malfunctions and repairs based on our experience.