Sitting in your idle Chevy, turning the key, and hearing nothing but silence can be very aggravating. A Chevy that fails to start will leave you stranded and clueless about the issue. Fortunately, there are several well-known issues that can cause a Forester to not start, and you can repair many of them on your own or with a mechanic's help.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the top 14 reasons your Chevy Forester doesn't start and offer useful tips to get your car started again.
The most common reason a Chevrolet doesn't crank is a dead or drained battery. Your battery provides the initial burst of electricity to turn over the engine and get it started.
Indications of a dead battery:
- Silence upon turning the key – no engine cranking
- Electronics not powering on
- Difficulty starting in cold weather
The Fix: Keep jumper cables on hand in case of a dead battery situation. Jump starting your Chevy Forester using another vehicle or jump box can supply enough juice to get it cranked.
You can also clean corroded battery terminals if they prevent a good connection. If problems persist, have your battery tested – it may need replacing if old.
If your battery tests fine but your Chevy Forester still won't turn over, the issue may be a bad alternator. This vital part charges your battery while driving and energizes the electrical system.
Clues of a bad alternator:
- Battery warning indicator illuminating
- Lights dimming
- Hard time starting, especially after 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.
Bad or Fouled Spark Plugs
Spark plugs ignite the air/fuel ratio in the cylinders to power your car. When they are dirty, bad, or corroded, your Forester may not start due to no spark.
Clues of bad spark plugs:
- Poor fuel economy
- Rough idle
- Engine misfiring
The Fix: Spark plugs need regular replacement as they wear out. Most last 30k+ miles. Have your plugs inspected and change any bad ones. Using quality gas prevents buildup.
Issues with parts like the switch, lock cylinder, fob, or wiring can prevent your Chevrolet from cranking.
Symptoms of ignition trouble:
- No noise upon turning key
- Dashboard flickering
- Key won't turn
The Fix: For fob issues, replace 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 damaged, your Chevy Forester may not turn over.
Symptoms of a bad starter:
- No noise upon turning key
- Clicking but no cranking
- Unusual grinding or whining
The Fix: Have your starter tested and repaired if faulty. This requires the help of a professional mechanic to diagnose and repair.
Not in Park or Neutral
If your transmission isn't in Park or Neutral, your Chevrolet's safety features will prevent it from starting.
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 restrict fuel flow to the engine, preventing your Chevrolet Forester from turning over.
Signs of a clogged filter:
- Difficulty starting
- Engine sputtering
- Decreased fuel economy
The Fix: Replace the filter per your schedule or if suspected clogged. Use quality gas and replace regularly. 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 delivers gas from the tank to the engine. If it fails, your Chevy won't start due to no fuel.
Symptoms of a bad pump:
- No pump noise upon turning key
- Hard time starting
- Stalling when running
The Fix: Have your pump tested. If faulty, a mechanic near you will need to replace it.
Proper compression is needed to combust the air/fuel mixture. Low compression from damage can lead to a no start.
Symptoms 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.
Broken Timing Belt
The timing belt synchronizes the camshaft and crankshaft. If it snaps, the valves and pistons won't be timed properly and your Chevrolet Forester won't start.
Signs of a bad timing belt:
- No start
- Unusual ticking noise
The Fix: Have your belt inspected and replaced immediately if broken. This requires a local professional mechanic to replace the timing belt of your Chevy Forester.
Detached or Loose Battery Cable
Signs of a bad cable:
- Corroded terminals
- Power loss from moving 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 Forester 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 completely empty 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 pinpoint the exact problem yourself. In some cases, using 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 Forester|Chevrolet Forester starting again ASAP.
3. Chat with a Chevy Mechanic Online
This is a great choice for most DIYers or car buff. It's frequently a straightforward repair you can do on your own, like changing or powering up the battery. In these situations, if you understand what to do step by step, you can do it yourself, you are not required to pay a mechanic in person. Well, it's your lucky day, an online mechanic can provide all the help, advice, and advice you require, right away by online chat. You can then execute the straightforward mend on your own.
The best online mechanic we recommend is JustAnswer, and through our link, you can get a free trial of their assistance for just $5, request unlimited questions for a week, get the help you need, and you do not need to continue the service after that. We love JustAnswer for this reason, expert auto mechanic assistance for just $5 is an unmatchable price.
The certified mechanics at JustAnswer's Ask a Mechanic service are accessible 24/7 to provide online analysis and advice. The advantages of asking a mechanic online include:
- Convenience: Get help from home without having to schedule an appointment or wait at a shop.
- Fast answers; Mechanics reply rapidly with possible causes 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 knowledge; Experienced licensed mechanics have the know-how to troubleshoot Chevy Forester|Chevrolet Forester 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 Forester or your Chevrolet Grand Vitara 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 “why my Chevrolet wont start“, consider our talk to a Chrevrolet mechanic online service. In just minutes, you can leverage expert Chevrolet knowledge to help get your beloved Forester started again.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Why is my Chevy car not cranking but I have power?
If your Chevrolet won't start but the accessories and dashboard come on, the most likely culprits are issues with the starter system, ignition switch, or neutral safety switch. Defective ignition components prevent the engine from turning over 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 cause my Chevy car unexpectedly not start?
Unexpected no-start issues can occur from disconnected battery cables, fuel pump or relay failure, broken timing belt, or an empty gas tank. These urgent 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 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 symptoms your Chevy starter is bad?
Signs of a bad starter include no noise upon turning the key, a single click but no turnover, unusual grinding sounds, and slow/labored cranking. These indicate starter failure and the need for replacement by a local mechanic.
Why doesn't my Chevy car start but battery and alternator are good?
If the battery and alternator check out, common culprits are bad spark plugs, clogged fuel filter, blown fuse, immobilizer problem, and starter relay failure. Complete diagnostics of all electrical and fuel systems are needed by a qualified local mechanic.