My car won’t start. Went to lunch came back out and When I crank it nothing happens.

My car won't crank. Thought it was the battery but my lights and everything come on. Car has been driving fine no problem starting my car. Today it won't crank. When I turn the key it doesn't do nothing the lights on the dash come on but it doesn't turnover. How do I know if it's the alternator or if it's the starter?

My car has 172540 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
It sounds like what you are describing may be related to a faulty starter relay. The starter relay directs power from the battery to the starter solenoid which then engages the starter when you turn the key. When this is not working properly, you may notice intermittent starting problems including no response when turning the key to start. Generally, when this does fail, it does so very randomly and usually without warning other than intermittent starting. The power from the battery will still power other accessories such as radio, horn, etc., but you may not have any power to the starter.

A faulty starter solenoid will generally produce a clicking sound when turning the key. The starter solenoid is located on the starter and has internal electrical contacts that transmit electricity to the starter. As electricity is supplied to the starter a small gear comes out and engages the flywheel to spin the engine over as you turn the key. When this fails, it may cause a clicking sound and will not allow the starter to engage the flywheel when you turn the key. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your vehicle.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

Lack Of Fuel

The most common and obvious reason your car may start then die is the fuel shortage in your engine. This happens because there`s not enough fuel in the fuel rail, and there`s no fuel pressure to keep the engine alive.

The most common reason cars don`t start is a dead or faulty battery. Even though most cars run on gasoline, they all require electrical power to function. The starter that cranks your engine to start requires an electrical signal to fire. If something`s wrong with your battery, your car engine won`t turn over.
Typically when your electrical accessories are working well, but it takes a few cranks for the engine to start, the issue is with the fuel or ignition system. In most cases, clogged or dirty fuel injectors, throttle body or mass air flow sensor will be the root source of this problem.
Connected to the battery is the alternator, which works to generate power for your vehicle`s electrical components. When you have a brand-new battery but still can`t start the car, the alternator might be the issue. Cold and damp climates may increase wear on an alternator, causing it to fail.
The reason for your car taking longer to start can depend on a variety of conditions including weather, battery health, starter health, fuel pump health, and other factors. If your vehicle is slow to start, or if something seems to be wrong with your vehicle, it can be tricky to find the cause.
In most cases when a starter goes bad, it`s completely random with no warning signs or symptoms of mechanical failure.
So can a bad starter drain your battery? The short answer is: Yes, it can. It could also drain the battery even faster if you repeatedly try to start your car with a faulty starter. A faulty starter is also one of the leading causes of battery overcharging.
Signs of a Bad Alternator

Some of the things to look for are no-starting and trouble starting, dimming lights and problems with stereo system output. If your car starts but stalls when you`re underway, your battery is probably not being recharged due to a faulty alternator.

The car will be able to run on battery power for several hours and restart a few times before the voltage gets too low to keep things working. Usually you will see a warning light when the charging stops, but not always. If the battery is dead replacing the alternator will not make the car start.
When you attempt to start the vehicle, is there a clicking sound, but it won`t turn over? That may be a good sign. If a jump gets the car running, but won`t turn over again once it`s shut off, a dead battery is likely the cause.
If you do have a blown engine, whether or not it can be fixed depends upon the extensiveness of the damage. If the damage is minimal, and a few parts can be replaced, the problem can be fixed. However, if the damage is great and impossible to repair, you may need a complete engine replacement.
If your engine is sputtering or stalls in the middle of your drive, your fuel pump is likely the issue. The low pressure caused by a faulty fuel pump means that your engine isn`t getting the fuel and air mixture it needs to initiate combustion and power the car.
CAUSES OF FAULTY STARTERS: CAUSE OF FAILURE

Electrical connections faulty. Solenoid switch (engaging relay) stiff or faulty. Electric motor damaged electrically. Single-pinion gear, starter pinion or freewheel damaged.

If the starter engages but does not disengage when you let go of the key, the solenoid is likely bad and the starter may suffer significant damage as a result. Sometimes your car starts, sometimes it doesn`t. Intermittent operation can be a sign of a failing starter solenoid.
Unfortunately, if the starter motor has completely gone there`s no way to get your car going again. However, when a vehicle doesn`t start, it`s typically to do with the battery`s insufficient voltage to start the motor.
A brand-new starter can range from $80 to over $350. For a qualified mechanic to replace or rebuild your starter, you can expect to pay between $150 and over $1,100. These estimates vary dramatically depending on the particular issue and the make, model, and year of your vehicle.
In theory, it`s possible that your original starter will last for most of the vehicle`s life, but there`s really no set lifespan. They can fail at almost any point.
One of the symptoms of a bad starter is a single clicking noise when you turn the key or push the start button. Tapping the starter can sometimes get it going again, but no guarantees. Most likely, you`ll need to get your starter repaired or replaced.
Electrical devices or lights left running, a defective charging system or alternator, and extreme weather are some common reasons but maybe it`s just time to get a new battery.”
Most alternators will last between 80,000 and 150,000 miles — or about seven years.
An effective method to determine whether it`s your battery or alternator that`s gone bad is to connect jumper cables from a running vehicle`s battery to yours. After a few moments, try starting your vehicle. Once it`s started, remove the jumper cables — if your engine stalls, your alternator has probably gone bad.
While you can technically still drive with a bad alternator, it is not advised. This is especially true in newer vehicle models. This is because there is more electricity involved compared to an older model.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

My car won’t start. Went to lunch came back out and When I crank it nothing happens.
ANSWER : It sounds like what you are describing may be related to a faulty starter relay. The starter relay directs power from the battery to the starter solenoid which then engages the starter when you turn the key. When this is not working properly, you may notice intermittent starting problems including no response when turning the key to start. Generally, when this does fail, it does so very randomly and usually without warning other than intermittent starting. The power from the battery will still power other accessories such as radio, horn, etc., but you may not have any power to the starter.

A faulty starter solenoid will generally produce a clicking sound when turning the key. The starter solenoid is located on the starter and has internal electrical contacts that transmit electricity to the starter. As electricity is supplied to the starter a small gear comes out and engages the flywheel to spin the engine over as you turn the key. When this fails, it may cause a clicking sound and will not allow the starter to engage the flywheel when you turn the key. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your vehicle.

Car won’t start. The check engine light, battery light, and oil change light are coming on. I tried jumping the car and nothing happened. Why won’t my car start?
ANSWER : Hi and thanks for contacting Your Mechanic. If sometimes your vehicle will start with the new alternator and sometimes it won’t, then there is a loose connection in your charging system. Check all of the wires to the alternator and to the battery. Make sure that the battery cables are clean and tight. Make sure that the wires to the starter are clean and tight. A loose ground to the ignition system will cause the vehicle to not crank over. Check all of the ground wires from the battery to the starter. Make sure that they are clean and tight. If you need further assistance troubleshooting your no start situation, then seek out a technician, such as one from Your Mechanic, that can assist you.

My car got hot and it stop starting but i let it sit in the location it stop working at thrn came back crank it up and it worked
ANSWER : Hello, thanks for writing in. These types of issues can be frustrating and hard to diagnose. Most of the time though this will be caused by a fuel system problem. It can either be a failing inertia switch, a failing fuel pump, or a fuel relay issue. These are by far the most common causes of this on your engine. It can take some time and some testing to find this problem if it is not occurring while it is being tested. If you are planning on having this fixed, consider YourMechanic, as a certified mechanic can come to your home or office to inspect, diagnose, and make or suggest repairs for this.

The car crank but won’t start
ANSWER : Hi there. This does sound like an issue with the wiring. If the check engine light is coming on every now and then this means that when it does not come on there is no power to the computer. This can be the wiring harness issue or an ignition switch problem. I would have to test for voltage to the computer when the problem is occurring to be able to find where the issue lies. If you need assistance, a certified YourMechanic technician can be dispatched to your location to inspect your vehicle’s non-start issue and suggest any necessary repairs.

Car won’t crank when it’s cold and now won’t start at all
ANSWER : Hi there:

Usually this issue is cased by low cranking amps inside the battery. If you’ve recently had the battery replaced, it’s possible that an electrical component that makes up the charging system might be damaged or faulty. It’s also quite possible that the main electrical relay or the starter relay is giving you fits. To know for certain what the exact issue might be on your 1989 Toyota Camry, you should have a professional mobile mechanic complete a car is hard to start inspection, so they can pinpoint the source of your issues and recommend the right repairs.

My car will not start Intermittently. I purchased a new battery 2 weeks ago and yesterday the car wouldn’t start. Got a jump and
ANSWER : The issue you are having is probably due to an intermittent fault in the starter motor itself or a deficiency in the starter electrical circuit, for example a large voltage drop due to a poor ground or a high resistance connection. These issues can be readily diagnosed and resolved on a mobile basis if you request a hard starting diagnostic. If you request that diagnostic, the responding certified mechanic will get this resolved for you promptly. Based on Toyota’s Factory Service Manual, the battery should not be disconnected if the vehicle engine is running. The battery acts as a large resistive voltage sink and consequently taking the battery out of the circuit, while the alternator is still running, can create a voltage spike on the car’s electrical system which is not good for voltage sensitive components such as the engine computer. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

Map sensor car won’t start up good ?
ANSWER : Your MAP sensor is an important input for your computer. It helps determine the load on the engine to calculate the correct amount of fuel to inject. It sometimes takes a few seconds for the vehicle to realize that the sensor is not producing a good signal.

At that point, it will use other methods to determine the fuel rate, such as pre-programmed fuel maps, throttle position, etc. I would suggest replacing the MAP sensor and retesting. If you would like to have it checked first, a certified technician from YourMechanic will be able to scan your vehicle and test components to determine the root cause of your starting issue before making a repair.

Car won’t start after seeing engine hot turn a/c off warning light.
ANSWER : Hi there. Check the battery cables and make sure that they are tight and clean. Then check the battery voltage and see if it has a voltage of 12.6 or 12.4. If the battery is less than that, then the battery needs charged. If the battery has 12.4 volts or higher, then place a load tester on the battery and see if the battery can hold a charge when a load is applied. If the battery drops under 9.6 volts, then the battery is no good and needs replaced. If the battery drops to 11.5 volts, then there is a dry cell and possible a burned cell and the battery needs replaced. If you need further assistance with testing your car battery, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.