A dead battery, bad starter, burnt fuse or fusible links, faulty battery cables, ignition switch issues, or fuel pump failure could be one of the many reasons your car won’t start even as the radio and lights are working.
Let’s have a look at a few reasons why your car won’t start and what signs to look for to identify the problem.
Reasons why your car won’t start even though the lights and radio are working:
When the battery is out of power and dying, it can’t provide the 300 amps current required to start the car, but it can still supply current at low amperage – 20 amps to 30 amps, to a few devices like the headlights, radio, dashboard, and so on. Since these devices are working, you might incorrectly assume that the problem isn’t with the battery. But, it’s in your best interest to check the battery status. Your car won’t start if your batteries are dead.
A starter motor, or the starter solenoid, helps your car crank or turn over when you turn the ignition key. This electronic motor draws a substantial current charge from the batteries to start the engine.
If this motor malfunctions or fails to draw power from the batteries, your car won’t start. This doesn’t mean the battery is dead; it means the starter motor needs checking.
Sometimes it makes a screechy noise when you turn on the ignition before dying, but not always. This would be your cue to check for the fault in the starter solenoid rather than charging the batteries.
Other indicators that the starter motor is malfunctioning is a clicking sound when you turn the key before the car stops, smoke coming out of the vehicle, or an oil leak.
Fusible links protect the wiring in the car. Burnt fusible links or fuses are difficult to zero in on. If you can smell burning plastic, it could be an indicator that the fuse is blown or the links are burnt, breaking the power circuit, which results in power not reaching the engine.
Faulty Battery Cables
The primary battery cables, separate from the fusible links, could be at fault if your car won’t start. Damaged battery cables need to be replaced in order to fix the problem. Indicators that the battery cables are the reason behind a non-starting car are dimming interior lights, a slow to crank engine, engine stalling when the car isn’t on the move, and loss of electricity.
Malfunctioning Ignition Switch
The ignition switch works in three positions and is responsible for turning on the lights in the first position, switching on the fuel and ignition system in the second position, and cranking the engine in the third. If there’s a problem with the circuitry of the ignition switch, especially in the third position, it could be the reason why the lights and the radio work but the car won’t start.
Fuel Pump Failure
A fuel pump failure could be triggered by overheating, gear wear and tear, or contamination. If your car makes a whining noise, engine keeps getting stalled, there’s a decrease in fuel efficiency, and general starting problems before the engine goes dead, a fuel pump failure might be the reason behind the starting problem.