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 fails to start leaves you stuck on the side of the road trying to figure out the problem. The good news is that a number of familiar culprits make a Malibus 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 causes your Chevrolet Malibu won't start and offer useful tips to get your car started again.
The most common cause a Chevrolet doesn't crank is a dead or weak battery. Your battery supplies the initial jolt of electricity to crank the engine and get it started.
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 available in case of a dead battery emergency. Jump starting your Chevy Malibu using a good battery or portable charger can supply enough juice to get it started.
You can also try cleaning corroded battery terminals that are blocking a good connection. If problems persist, have your battery tested – it may need recharging if old.
If your battery tests fine but your Chevy Malibu still won't turn over, the culprit may be a bad alternator. This vital part charges your battery while driving and energizes the electronics.
Clues of a bad alternator:
- Battery warning light coming on
- Lights fading
- 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.
Faulty Spark Plugs
Spark plugs ignite the fuel/air mixture in the cylinders to run your car. When they are fouled or worn out, your Malibu may not start due to no spark.
Clues of bad spark plugs:
- Poor fuel economy
- Rough idle
- Engine misfiring
The Fix: Spark plugs need periodic replacement as they degrade. Most last 30k+ miles. Have your plugs checked and change any bad ones. Using quality gas prevents buildup.
Ignition System Issues
Problems with ignition components like the switch, lock cylinder, fob, or wiring can prevent your Chevy from starting.
Symptoms of ignition trouble:
- No noise upon turning key
- Instrument panel malfunctioning
- Key won't turn
The Fix: For fob issues, replace the battery. For other problems, have the system diagnosed and repaired 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 Chevrolet Malibu 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 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 Chevy'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 restrict fuel flow to the engine, preventing your Chevy Malibu from turning over.
Symptoms of a clogged filter:
- Hard time starting
- Engine misfiring
- Decreased fuel economy
The Fix: Change the filter per your schedule 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.
Bad or Failing Fuel Pump
The fuel pump draws gas from the tank to the engine. If it fails, your Chevrolet won't start due to no fuel.
Signs of a bad pump:
- No sound 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.
Proper compression is needed to combust the air/fuel mixture. Low compression from worn parts can cause a no start.
Symptoms of compression issues:
- Difficulty 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 keeps the camshaft and crankshaft. If it snaps, the valves and pistons aren't synchronized properly and your Chevy Malibu won't start.
Symptoms 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 Malibu.
Loose or Detached Battery Cable
Symptoms 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 Malibu 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 potential issues for a no start problem, it can be challenging to pinpoint the exact cause yourself. In some cases, getting 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 Malibu|Chevrolet Malibu 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 cases, if you understand what to do step by step, you can do it on your own, you are not required to pay a mechanic on-site. Well, it's your fortunate day, an online mechanic can provide all the assistance, advice, and recommendations you need, immediately by online chat. You can then carry out the easy fix on your own.
The top online mechanic we propose is JustAnswer, and through our link, you can get a trial of their assistance for just $5, ask unlimited questions for a week, get the assistance you require, and you don't have to continue the assistance after that. We adore JustAnswer for this purpose, expert auto mechanic assistance for just $5 is an unbeatable price.
The licensed mechanics at JustAnswer's Ask a Mechanic service are available 24/7 to provide remote diagnostics and recommendations. The advantages of consulting with a mechanic online include:
- Convenience: Get help from the comfort of your residence without having to schedule an appointment or wait at a shop.
- Fast answers; Mechanics reply quickly 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 logged in writing, providing helpful reference.
- Expert assistance; Experienced licensed mechanics have the expertise to solve Chevy Malibu|Chevrolet Malibu 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 Malibu or your Chevrolet Master 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 “Chevy wont start clicking noise lights work“, consider our Chrevrolet mechanic advice online service. In just minutes, you can get expert Chevrolet knowledge to help get your beloved Malibu going again.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Why is my Chevy car not cranking but I have power?
If your Chevrolet doesn't crank but the accessories and dashboard come on, the most likely culprits are issues with 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 lights and accessories but doesn't start when turning the key, the problem is often a bad starter system or related wiring issue. This prevents the starter from activating to turn the engine over for starting.
What would cause my Chevy car suddenly 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 urgent problems 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 problem may be a faulty alternator not charging the system, bad spark plugs providing no ignition, or a fuel delivery 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 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 is good?
If the battery and alternator check out, common culprits are bad spark plugs, blocked fuel filter, blown fuse, immobilizer problem, and starter relay failure. Thorough testing of all electrical and fuel systems is needed by a qualified local mechanic.