Turning the ignition and getting only silence instead of the engine cranking over is incredibly frustrating when you're sitting in your motionless Chevy. A Chevy that won't start leaves you stranded and clueless about the issue. The good news is that a number of familiar culprits make an El Caminos fail to start, and you can fix a lot of them yourself or with a mechanic's assistance.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the fourteen most common reasons your Chevy El Camino doesn't start and provide helpful tips to get your car running again.
Drained or Dead Battery
The most common cause a Chevrolet won't start is a dead or weak battery. Your battery supplies the initial jolt of electricity to turn over the engine and get it running.
Signs of a dead battery:
- Silence upon turning the key – no engine cranking
- Electronics not powering on
- Difficulty starting in cold weather
How to Fix It: Keep jumper cables on hand for a dead battery emergency. Jump starting your Chevy El Camino using a good battery or portable charger can deliver enough charge to get it cranked.
You can also try cleaning corroded battery terminals that are blocking a good connection. If problems continue, have your battery tested – it may need recharging if old.
If your battery checks out but your Chevrolet El Camino still won't turn over, the culprit may be a faulty alternator. This vital part charges your battery when running and energizes the electrical system.
Signs of a bad alternator:
- Battery warning light coming on
- Lights dimming
- Hard time starting, particularly following short trips
The Fix: Get your alternator checked ASAP by a mechanic. A bad alternator can rapidly deplete 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 fouled or worn out, your El Camino 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 Chevrolet from starting.
Signs of ignition trouble:
- No noise upon turning key
- Instrument panel flickering
- 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 start the engine. If it's damaged, your Chevrolet El Camino may not crank.
Signs of a bad starter:
- No noise upon turning key
- Clicking but no turnover
- Unusual grinding or whining
The Fix: Have your starter tested and replaced if faulty. This requires the help of a professional mechanic to diagnose and repair.
Transmission Not in Park/Neutral
If your gearbox isn't in Park or Neutral, your Chevrolet's safety features will prevent it from starting.
The Fix: Shift into Park/Neutral and try once more. 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 blocked fuel filter can restrict fuel delivery to the engine, preventing your Chevrolet El Camino from starting.
Signs of a clogged filter:
- Difficulty starting
- Engine sputtering
- Decreased fuel economy
The Fix: Change the filter when due or if suspected clogged. Use quality gas and replace 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.
Faulty Fuel Pump
The fuel pump draws 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 when running
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 leaks can lead to 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 keeps the camshaft and crankshaft. If it snaps, the valves and pistons aren't synchronized properly and your Chevrolet El Camino won't start.
Symptoms of a bad timing belt:
- No start
- Unusual clicking sound
The Fix: Have your belt inspected and fixed right away if broken. This requires a local professional mechanic to replace the timing belt of your Chevy El Camino.
Detached or Loose Battery Cable
Symptoms of a bad cable:
- Corroded terminals
- Power loss from moving cables
- Frayed wiring
The Fix: Clean 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 El Camino from starting or running right.
Identifying 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.
Empty Gas 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 flush 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 potential causes for a no start issue, it can be tough to determine the exact cause yourself. In some cases, using aid 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 El Camino|Chevrolet El Camino starting again ASAP.
3. Chat with a Chevy Mechanic Online
This is a fantastic option for most DIYers or car enthusiasts. It's often a straightforward mend you can do on your own, like replacing or powering up the battery. In these situations, if you are aware of what to do step by step, you can do it on your own, you don't need to pay a mechanic locally. Alright, it's your fortunate day, an online mechanic can offer all the assistance, advice, and recommendations you require, instantly by online chat. You can then carry out the straightforward fix on your own.
The finest online mechanic we suggest is JustAnswer, and through our link, you can get a trial of their service for just $5, inquire endless inquiries for a week, get the help you need, and you do not need to continue the assistance after that. We love JustAnswer for this purpose, specialist auto mechanic help for just $5 is an unbeatable price.
The certified mechanics at JustAnswer's Ask a Mechanic service are ready 24/7 to provide virtual troubleshooting and recommendations. The perks of consulting with a mechanic online include:
- Convenience: Get help from your house without having to schedule an appointment or wait at a shop.
- Fast replies; Mechanics respond 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 recorded in writing, providing helpful reference.
- Expert knowledge; Experienced licensed mechanics have the know-how to solve Chevy El Camino|Chevrolet El Camino 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 an El Camino or your Chevrolet Enjoy 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 turning over but wont start“, consider our chat with a Chrevrolet mechanic service. In just minutes, you can leverage expert Chevrolet knowledge to help get your beloved El Camino starting again.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Why is my Chevy car not cranking but I have power?
If your Chevrolet won't start but the lights and electronics power on, the most likely causes are problems in the starter motor, 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 lights and accessories but won't crank when trying to start, the problem is often a bad starter system or related wiring problem. 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 occur from disconnected battery cables, fuel pump or relay failure, broken timing belt, or an empty gas tank. These critical issues can arise without warning and prevent your Chevy's engine from starting.
Why won't my Chevy car start but the battery is fine?
With a good battery, the culprit may be a faulty alternator not charging the system, bad spark plugs providing no ignition, or a fuel flow problem preventing combustion. Your Chevy's engine needs air, fuel, compression and spark to run.
What are signs your Chevy starter is bad?
Symptoms of a bad starter include no noise when turning the key, a single click but no turnover, unusual grinding noises, and difficult 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 is 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 are needed by a qualified local mechanic.