Sitting in your idle Chevy, turning the key, and hearing nothing but silence can be very aggravating. A Chevy that won't start will leave you stranded and clueless about the issue. The good news is that a number of familiar culprits make a Cruzes fail to start, and you can fix a lot of them yourself or with a mechanic's assistance.
In this comprehensive guide, we will examine the top 14 causes your Chevy Cruze doesn't start and offer useful suggestions to get your car running again.
Drained or Dead Battery
The most common cause a Chevy won't start is a dead or weak battery. Your battery provides the initial burst of electricity to turn over the engine and get it running.
Indications of a dead battery:
- Silence upon turning the key – no clicking or turnover
- Electronics not powering on
- Hard time starting in cold weather
How to Fix It: Keep jumper cables available in case of a dead battery emergency. Jump starting your Chevrolet Cruze using a good battery or jump box can deliver enough charge to get it cranked.
You can also clean corroded battery terminals that are blocking a good connection. If problems persist, have your battery tested – it may need replacing if old.
If your battery checks out but your Chevrolet Cruze still won't turn over, the culprit may be a bad alternator. This vital part charges your battery when running and powers the electrical system.
Clues of a bad alternator:
- Battery warning indicator illuminating
- Electronics dimming
- Hard time starting, especially after short trips
The Fix: Get your alternator inspected immediately by a mechanic. A bad alternator can quickly drain your battery. This will need to be replaced by an experienced mechanic.
Faulty Spark Plugs
Spark plugs ignite the air/fuel ratio in the cylinders to power your car. When they are dirty, bad, or corroded, your Cruze may not start due to no spark.
Signs of bad spark plugs:
- Poor fuel economy
- Rough idle
- Engine sputtering
The Fix: Spark plugs need periodic replacement as they wear out. Most last 30k+ miles. Have your plugs checked and change any bad ones. Using quality gas prevents buildup.
Ignition System Issues
Issues with parts like the switch, lock cylinder, fob, or wiring can prevent your Chevy from cranking.
Symptoms of ignition trouble:
- No noise upon turning key
- Instrument panel malfunctioning
- Key won't turn
The Fix: For fob issues, try the battery. For other problems, have the system diagnosed and fixed professionally. If you need a new Chevy key fob you can get one online here.
The starter motor engages when you turn the key to crank the engine. If it's worn out, your Chevrolet Cruze may not crank.
Symptoms of a bad starter:
- No noise upon turning key
- Clicking but no cranking
- Unusual grinding or whining
The Fix: Have your starter inspected and replaced if faulty. This requires the help of a professional mechanic to diagnose and repair.
Transmission Not in Park/Neutral
If your transmission isn't in Park or Neutral, your Chevrolet's safety features will prevent it from cranking.
The Fix: Shift into Park/Neutral and try again. If it only starts in one gear, you may have a faulty neutral safety switch needing repair. This will need to be repaired by a local mechanic near you.
Blocked or Clogged Fuel Filter
A clogged fuel filter can constrain fuel delivery to the engine, preventing your Chevrolet Cruze from turning over.
Symptoms of a clogged filter:
- Difficulty starting
- Engine sputtering
- Decreased fuel economy
The Fix: Replace the filter when due or if suspected clogged. Use quality gas and change often. You can have a local mechanic repair this for you, or repair it yourself, maybe with the help and guidance of an online mechanic.
Bad or Failing Fuel Pump
The fuel pump transfers gas from the tank to the engine. If it fails, your Chevy won't start due to no fuel.
Signs of a bad pump:
- No pump noise upon turning key
- Difficulty starting
- Stalling after starting
The Fix: Have your pump tested. If faulty, a mechanic near you will need to replace it.
Low Engine Compression
Proper compression is required to combust the air/fuel mixture. Low compression from damage can cause a no start.
Signs of compression issues:
- Hard time starting
- Rough idle
- Lack of power
The Fix: Testing can confirm low compression. For diagnostics and carrying out this repair, a local mechanic is usually needed and will have to replace the worn engine components.
Timing Belt Failure
The timing belt synchronizes the camshaft and crankshaft. If it breaks, the valves and pistons won't be timed properly and your Chevrolet Cruze won't start.
Signs of a bad timing belt:
- No start
- Unusual clicking sound
The Fix: Have your belt checked and replaced immediately if broken. This requires a local professional mechanic to replace the timing belt of your Chevy Cruze.
Loose or Detached Battery Cable
Signs of a bad cable:
- Corroded terminals
- Power loss from wiggling cables
- Frayed wiring
The Fix: Scrub corroded terminals and tighten loose connections. Damaged cables need replacement. You can get expert Chevy mechanic advice and guidance online or with a local mechanic.
Relays control power to components like the starter, fuel pump, and computer. Failure can prevent your Chevy Cruze from starting or running right.
Diagnosing relay problems:
- Swap relays to test
- Have relays checked by a mechanic
The Fix: Faulty relays must be replaced, often after a larger diagnostic. You will likely need a local mechanic to diagnose if the faulty relay is preventing your Chevy from starting.
Low Fuel or Empty Tank
Running your tank bone dry can cause a no-start due to lack of fuel. This seems obvious however it often happens because of an inaccurate or broken fuel gauge.
The Fix: Keep your tank at least 1/4 full to avoid unexpected emptying. If issues persist, have your fuel sender unit checked by a professional mechanic.
Sometimes an engine can flood with too much fuel, preventing starting due to wet spark plugs. This is most common in older carbureted engines.
The Fix: Press the gas pedal fully and crank briefly to clear the system so the plugs can spark. If problems continue, have the carburetor adjusted by a professional local mechanic.
Top 3 Ways To Get a Mechanics Help
With so many possible reasons for a no start problem, it can be difficult to identify the exact cause yourself. In some cases, getting assistance from an experienced mechanic can be time-saving and give you peace of mind.
These are the 3 ways to get a mechanic's help in starting your Chevy again.
1. Local Auto Repair Garage Near You
This is the regular way to get it repaired, however, it can be very wasteful in time and money, transporting your vehicle to them, plus expensive garage fees as they often have expensive overhead costs etc, that they have to pass on to the customer.
2. A Mobile Mechanic Near You
Having a qualified mobile mechanic come to your Chevy and repair it on-site can be a great time and money saver. The best mobile mechanics we can recommend in the USA are RepairSmith and YourMechanic. We have recommended them thousands of times, and they both have great prices, services and coverage across most of the USA.
In the UK the best mobile mechanic we can recommend is Fixter, they will come pick up your car, take it get repaired, and deliver it back to you. You can get an instant free quote on their official websites by clicking the name. We have tested, vetted, and can heartedly recommend each of these services to get your Chevy Cruze|Chevrolet Cruze starting again ASAP.
3. Chat with a Chevy Mechanic Online
This is a superb possibility for most DIYers or car enthusiasts. It's many times a straightforward mend you can do yourself, like replacing or charging the battery. In these situations, if you know what to do step by step, you can do it yourself, you are not required to pay a mechanic in person. Alright, it's your fortunate day, an online mechanic can offer all the help, guidance, and advice you require, instantly by online chat. You can then carry out the straightforward repair yourself.
The best online mechanic we recommend is JustAnswer, and through our link, you can get a free trial of their service for just $5, request endless inquiries for a week, get the help you need, and you are not obligated to keep going with the service after that. We love JustAnswer for this purpose, professional auto mechanic assistance for just $5 is an unmatchable price.
The licensed mechanics at JustAnswer's Ask a Mechanic service are available 24/7 to provide virtual troubleshooting and recommendations. The advantages of asking a mechanic online include:
- Convenience: Get help from your house without having to schedule an appointment or wait at a shop.
- Fast answers; Mechanics answer back in minutes with potential reasons and solutions based on your description.
- Cost savings: Pay per question rather than full diagnostic fees – great for basic troubleshooting.
- Documentation: All conversations are saved in writing, providing helpful reference.
- Expert help; Experienced licensed mechanics have the know-how to troubleshoot Chevy Cruze|Chevrolet Cruze no starting issues with ease.
You will get matched with the best auto mechanic for your particular case, it doesn't matter if it's a Cruze or your Chevrolet CSV CR8 won't start, the expert Chevy mechanic you are paired with, will be the best for the job.
So next time you find yourself searching online for something like “Chevrolet wont start then starts later“, consider our live Chrevrolet mechanic service. In just minutes, you can access expert Chevrolet knowledge to help get your beloved Cruze going again.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Why is my Chevy car not starting but I have power?
If your Chevrolet doesn't crank but the accessories and dashboard come on, the most likely causes are problems in the starter system, ignition switch, or neutral safety switch. Faulty ignition components prevent the engine from cranking even when battery power is present.
Why does my Chevy have power but doesn't crank?
When your Chevy has power to the electronics and dashboard but won't crank when trying to start, the problem is often a bad starter motor or related wiring issue. This prevents the starter from activating to turn the engine over for starting.
What would make my Chevy car unexpectedly not start?
Sudden no-start issues can happen from loose battery cables, fuel pump or relay failure, broken timing belt, or an empty gas tank. These critical problems can arise without warning and prevent your Chevy's engine from starting.
Why doesn't my Chevy car start but the battery is fine?
With a good battery, the culprit may be a bad alternator not charging the system, bad spark plugs providing no ignition, or a fuel flow issue preventing combustion. Your Chevy's engine needs air, fuel, compression and spark to run.
What are signs your Chevy starter is bad?
Signs of a bad starter include no noise upon turning the key, a single click but no cranking, unusual grinding sounds, and slow/labored cranking. These indicate starter failure and the need for replacement by a local mechanic.
Why won't my Chevy car start but battery and alternator are good?
If the battery and alternator check out, common culprits are bad spark plugs, blocked fuel filter, blown fuse, immobilizer issue, and starter relay failure. Complete diagnostics of all electrical and fuel systems is needed by a qualified local mechanic.