Car Sputtering and Failing to Start? 4 Causes and Their Solutions

One of the most frustrating and often scary occurrences with a car happens when you step on the brake, twist the key and the car refuses to start. Instead, you may hear a sputtering sound that never leads to the engine actually starting like it should. While this can certainly be annoying, you shouldn’t give up hope. You may still be able to solve the problem. Below are some suggestions for what could be going wrong and how to fix it.

Your Battery Is Drained

One of the most common causes for a car that sputters and won’t start is a drained battery. There can be many reasons why a batter may drain. You may have done something like leave the headlights on without realizing it. Whatever the case is, you need to either charge the battery or jump start the car with a battery in another car. If you jump start the car, the battery will charge via the alternator as long as the engine is running.

Your Air Filters Are Dirty

Air filters need to be replaced for a car on a routine basis. Follow the suggestions in the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual. When these filters get clogged with dirt and debris, air cannot easily pass through them. This can cause the sputtering you hear when trying to start your car. Thankfully, replacing your air filters is rather easy and can be done on your own for little expense.

Your Transmission Needs Maintenance

Odd sounds coming from your car that sound similar to sputtering could also have another origin. If you hear humming, clunking or whining from your car, this could be a sign of transmission issues. If your car seems to hesitate before accelerating, this too could be a sign that you need to take your car into a transmission shop.

Your Spark Plugs Need to Be Cleaned or Replaced

Another very common source of the sputtering problem originates from the spark plugs. If the spark plugs cannot produce a spark, your engine will not start. This could mean they are dirty and need to be cleaned. Alternatively, you may need to replace them all together. Cleaning or replacing your spark plugs is something you can do on your own. Use an online tutorial to learn how.

Having your engine sputter when you turn the key can be an extremely frustrating experience. However, there are some very common reasons why this may be the case. In all likelihood, the problem is probably very fixable.

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