Turn Key And Nothing Happens: Culprits And Viable Measures

You turn key and nothing happens – have you ever gone through such a dilemma? It’s a deflating feeling, but you’re not alone.

Many reasons can make a car not start when the key is turned, from something as simple as a dead battery to a serious issue with a bad starter or alternator.

In any case, you must spot problems with turning key and nothing happens before conducting any necessary repairs to get your car back up and running. Embark on the journey to see why!

Turn Key And Nothing Happens: What’s Wrong?

turn key and nothing happens
Turn Key Nothing Happens

In this section, we will reveal why nothing happens when turning key with 8 culprits: a dead battery, a battery with a corroded connection, an empty gas tank, bad spark plugs, engine overheating, a clogged fuel filter, a low coolant level, and a faulty starter.

Bad Battery Or Dead Battery

Why does turning the key and nothing happens? The battery dead or a weak battery will be most likely to blame. Batteries can quit functioning at any time and with no prior notice.

You need a car battery replacement every 3 years. Other primary reasons a car won’t start include a bad ignition switch, loosened battery terminals, or the starter motor failure

In another case, a car can fail to start even after an alternator change due to the dead battery.

Bring your auto for a professional checkup if you need clarification about the triggers.

Try jump-starting your auto from another car in the interim, or get help from a towing service to haul your car to a repair shop.

Loose Battery Terminals

One day, you notice no sound from the ignition, and nothing happens when I turn my car key. Nothing at all; neither is there any clicking sound nor a roar of life.

Many assume that their batteries are dead at this time. Still, it isn’t always the case.

A poor battery connection between the battery and the starter or bad battery cables can be the matter.

Your four-wheeled vehicle won’t start if this occurs since this electrical current from your automotive battery can’t pass to your starter.

In this case, you may also receive the battery saver active message with lousy battery cables.

The good news is that it’s pretty simple to repair. Just tighten all loose connections. Request a technician or repair shop for assistance if you don’t know how to undertake it.

Empty Gas Tank

If everything above has no matter, the gas tank is the next destination. When you turn the key and nothing happens, an empty fuel tank is among the most frequent culprits.

Your vehicle won’t start with a low gasoline level.

An empty gas tank must be replenished as soon as possible to ensure the auto’s typical operation.

Hauling your vehicle to a specialist may be a necessary evil when the hurdle gets more complicated. If in doubt, it’s always wise to err on the side of safety and ask for assistance.

Bad Spark Plugs

turn ignition key and nothing happens
Spark Plugs Failed

When I turn the key nothing happens, poor spark plugs could be one trigger.

A car cannot start with a faulty or fouled spark plug since it ignites the air/fuel combination.

Spark plugs might get clogged or ruined over time. One example is oil contamination, hindering the sparks from bridging the gap.

Also, the carbon buildup over time might act as an insulator and halt sparks from igniting.

To this end, have your car serviced by a mechanic or perform some self-troubleshooting for your defective spark plugs.

A multimeter is essential to check whether the plug is carrying current. If not, you may have to get a new one.

Engine Overheating

Another root cause is engine overheating, making you turn the ignition key and nothing happens.

When you flip the key, your starting may not engage smoothly when your vehicle has been operating hot due to the starter’s damage.

Your car may also not ignite because of transmission faults. The starter may become overworked and break when the auto has issues changing gears.

The last symptom of the battery running short of power is when the headlights are flickering or dimming.

It is frequently challenging for the starter to engage when this occurs, hindering the auto from starting.

Clogged Fuel Filter

Starting an automobile requires both the ignition key and a great deal of complexity. The starter motor is turned on by the starter relay, receiving a signal from the ignition key.

After the starter motor starts the engine, the combustion process begins accordingly.

The vehicle won’t start when any of these tasks go wrong. A clogged fuel filter is one factor that could cause this, and fuel can’t reach the engines.

The effect will be that you turn ignition key and nothing happens. At this point, clean the gasoline filter at once.

Coolant Level Low

When I turn my key nothing happens, it’s annoying only to get a clicking sound. In this case, the level of coolant could be low.

There might be an insufficient spark to start the engine if it has yet to receive sufficient coolant. The immobilizer not functioning correctly is another scenario.

When a key is not detected, an immobilizer disables the vehicle from starting.

The immobilizer can only complete its work once there is a good connection. Locate the root of the issue by consulting an expert.

Faulty Starter

My car does nothing when turning key, despite having power. This is likely the inquiry you will question yourself if you have automotive trouble.

One theory among many is that the starter is dysfunctional from time to time.

To start your engine, the starter must first deliver sufficient power. You can’t move when it isn’t fully functional.

Turning on the headlights is a way to see whether your starter is the culprit. The battery is low and requires replacement once the lights are dim or don’t function.

Meanwhile, the starter is most likely the problem when your lights are bright with the failed car start-ups.

Thankfully, changing starters is simple and affordable. Inspecting your starter before calling a tow truck if you face such a problem can save you time.

Diagnosing Why Your Car Isn’t Starting

When you turn ignition and nothing happens, you must inspect the current battery terminals for tightness and corrosion.

If they move as your hand wiggles around them, they are still not tight enough. This is a basic tip to determine how tight they are. To begin with, tighten them.

A rust buildup on terminals should not exist, and the battery should be appropriately placed.

Thus, once you see the battery terminals are corroding with white powder appearing there, remove it. On top of that, call an expert for help if needed.

Change The Battery To Tackle This Issue

when i turn my key nothing happens
Change The Battery

Getting a new battery for the car comparable to the original is critical to restoring its functionality. Don’t put the faulty battery in the vehicle.

Otherwise, it may lead to the alternator overheating, reducing the unit’s lifespan and causing significant harm to an engine block.

Consider these factors when choosing a replacement battery to assist you in making your final decision:

  • Technology: The batteries typically fall under one of 2 categories: deep cycle or starting.
  • Reverse capacity (RC): A car battery’s average operating time in the event of an alternator failure.
  • Size: The battery must fit your battery bracket.
  • Cold-cranking amps: The battery’s capacity to start when it is chilly outside.

After buying a new battery, ensure the car’s engine is off before proceeding with these steps:

What You Need

  • The new battery
  • A socket extension
  • A socket wrench
  • The wire brush

Steps To Do

  • Remove the nut from the battery’s negative terminal while wearing gloves. Next, disconnect the cable and put it away for later reassembly.
  • Do the same with the positive terminal.
  • Take off the brackets and clamps holding your current battery in place.
  • Remove the outdated/defective battery from your bracket and swap it for the new one.
  • Connect the terminals and cables precisely.
  • Turn your ignition key and try to start the automobile after closing the hood.
  • These terminals may entail sealing with an anti-corrosion sealant and cleansing using a battery cleanser. If they are unclean or have rust on them, use such products. Once you notice significant rust on the terminals, change them, as stated.

Final Words

You are filled with frustration and confusion as you try to figure out why the car is not starting.

You think you have done everything correctly, but the car remains stubbornly silent. This can be a daunting experience, but do not despair! 

Now, you should understand why you turn key and nothing happens. With the proper knowledge, you can diagnose the problem and get your car running again quickly.

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