The silence that fills your inactive Chevy when you turn the key and it won't start can be extremely annoying. A Chevy that fails to start will leave you immobilized and uncertain about the cause. Fortunately, there are several well-known issues that can cause a Sail 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 fourteen most common causes your Chevrolet Sail doesn't start and offer helpful suggestions to get your car started again.
The most common reason a Chevy won't start is a dead or drained battery. Your battery delivers 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
- Hard time starting in cold weather
How to Fix It: Keep jumper cables on hand in case of a dead battery emergency. Jump starting your Chevy Sail using a good battery or portable charger can deliver enough charge to get it cranked.
You can also clean dirty battery terminals that are blocking a good connection. If problems continue, have your battery tested – it may need replacing if old.
If your battery tests fine but your Chevy Sail still won't crank, the culprit may be a faulty alternator. This vital part charges your battery while driving and energizes the electrical system.
Clues of a bad alternator:
- Battery warning indicator illuminating
- Electronics fading
- Hard time starting, particularly following short trips
The Fix: Get your alternator checked immediately 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 fire the fuel/air mixture in the cylinders to power your car. When they are fouled or worn out, your Sail 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 inspected and change any bad ones. Using quality gas prevents buildup.
Issues with ignition components like the switch, lock cylinder, fob, or wiring can prevent your Chevy from cranking.
Signs 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 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 start the engine. If it's damaged, your Chevy Sail may not crank.
Signs of a bad starter:
- No noise upon turning key
- Clicking but no turnover
- Unusual noises
The Fix: Have your starter inspected and replaced if faulty. This requires the help of a professional mechanic to diagnose and repair.
Not in Park or Neutral
If your gearbox isn't in Park or Neutral, your Chevy'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.
Clogged Fuel Filter
A clogged fuel filter can restrict fuel delivery to the engine, preventing your Chevrolet Sail from turning over.
Symptoms of a clogged filter:
- Hard time 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.
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 pump noise upon turning key
- Hard time 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 needed to combust the air/fuel mixture. Low compression from damage can cause 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.
Timing Belt Failure
The timing belt keeps the camshaft and crankshaft. If it breaks, the valves and pistons aren't synchronized properly and your Chevy Sail 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 Sail.
Detached or Loose Battery Cable
Signs 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 Sail 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.
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 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 issues for a no start problem, it can be difficult to identify the exact cause yourself. In some cases, getting help from an experienced mechanic can save you time 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 Sail|Chevrolet Sail starting again ASAP.
3. Chat with a Chevy Mechanic Online
This is a wonderful choice for most DIYers or car buff. It's many times an easy repair you can do on your own, like changing or recharging the battery. In these cases, if you are aware of what to do in a stepwise fashion, you can do it on your own, you don't need to pay a mechanic on-site. Well, it's your fortunate day, an online mechanic can supply all the help, guidance, and advice you require, immediately by online chat. You can then execute the straightforward repair on your own.
The best online mechanic we propose is JustAnswer, and through our link, you can get a trial of their service for just $5, request endless inquiries for a week, get the assistance you need, and you do not need to continue the assistance after that. We love JustAnswer for this reason, expert auto mechanic help for just $5 is an unbeatable price.
The licensed mechanics at JustAnswer's Ask a Mechanic service are available 24/7 to provide virtual troubleshooting and recommendations. The benefits 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 answers; Mechanics reply 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 logged in writing, providing helpful reference.
- Expert knowledge; Seasoned licensed mechanics have the know-how to troubleshoot Chevy Sail|Chevrolet Sail 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 Sail or your Chevrolet Silverado 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 clicks once but wont start“, consider our ask a Chrevrolet mechanic questions service. In just minutes, you can access expert Chevrolet knowledge to help get your beloved Sail fired up again.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Why is my Chevy car not starting 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. 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 doesn't start when trying to start, 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 unexpectedly not start?
Sudden no-start issues can happen 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 faulty 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?
Symptoms of a bad starter include no noise when 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 doesn't my Chevy car start but battery and alternator are good?
If the battery and alternator check out, common causes are bad spark plugs, blocked fuel filter, blown fuse, immobilizer issue, and starter relay failure. Thorough diagnostics of all electrical and fuel systems is needed by a qualified local mechanic.