The silence that fills your inactive Chevy when you turn the key and it won't start can be extremely annoying. A Chevy that won't start leaves you immobilized and uncertain about the cause. Fortunately, there are several well-known issues that can cause a Silverado 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 Silverado doesn't start and provide helpful tips to get your car started again.
Drained or Dead Battery
The most common reason a Chevrolet doesn't crank is a dead or weak battery. Your battery supplies 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 engine cranking
- Electronics not powering on
- Difficulty starting in cold weather
How to Fix It: Keep jumper cables available for a dead battery emergency. Jump starting your Chevrolet Silverado using a good battery or portable charger can deliver enough charge to get it cranked.
You can also try cleaning dirty 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 Chevy Silverado still won't crank, the culprit may be a faulty alternator. This vital part charges your battery when running and powers the electronics.
Clues of a bad alternator:
- Battery warning indicator illuminating
- Lights fading
- 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 run your car. When they are fouled or worn out, your Silverado may not start due to no spark.
Clues of bad spark plugs:
- Poor fuel economy
- Rough idle
- Engine hesitating
The Fix: Spark plugs need periodic replacement as they wear out. Most last 30k+ miles. Have your plugs checked and swap any faulty ones. Using quality gas prevents buildup.
Issues with parts like the switch, lock cylinder, fob, or wiring can prevent your Chevy from cranking.
Signs of ignition trouble:
- No noise upon turning key
- Dashboard 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 start the engine. If it's damaged, your Chevrolet Silverado may not turn over.
Symptoms of a bad starter:
- No noise upon turning key
- Clicking but no turnover
- Unusual grinding or whining
The Fix: Have your starter inspected and repaired 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 cranking.
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 constrain fuel delivery to the engine, preventing your Chevrolet Silverado from starting.
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 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 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 sound 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 worn parts 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 keeps the camshaft and crankshaft. If it snaps, the valves and pistons aren't synchronized properly and your Chevy Silverado won't start.
Signs of a bad timing belt:
- No start
- Unusual ticking noise
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 Silverado.
Detached or Loose 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 Silverado 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 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 potential issues for a no start problem, it can be tough to determine the exact issue 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 Silverado|Chevrolet Silverado starting again ASAP.
3. Chat with a Chevy Mechanic Online
This is a superb option for most DIYers or car buff. It's frequently an easy repair you can do yourself, like switching out or charging the battery. In these cases, if you know what to do in a stepwise fashion, you can do it on your own, you are not required to pay a mechanic locally. Well, it's your fortunate day, an online mechanic can provide all the assistance, advice, and advice you require, immediately by online chat. You can then perform the easy mend on your own.
The best online mechanic we recommend 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 help you require, and you don't have to continue the assistance after that. We adore JustAnswer for this reason, professional auto mechanic help for just $5 is an unbeatable price.
The certified mechanics at JustAnswer's Ask a Mechanic service are accessible 24/7 to provide online analysis and advice. The benefits of querying a mechanic online are:
- Convenience: Get help from the comfort of your residence without having to schedule an appointment or wait at a shop.
- Fast answers; Mechanics respond in minutes 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 help; Experienced licensed mechanics have the expertise to troubleshoot Chevy Silverado|Chevrolet Silverado 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 Silverado or your Chevrolet Sonic 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 with jumper cables“, consider our just ask Chrevrolet mechanic service. In just minutes, you can leverage expert Chevrolet knowledge to help get your beloved Silverado 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 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 lights and accessories but won't crank when turning the key, 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 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 symptoms 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 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 causes are bad spark plugs, blocked fuel filter, blown fuse, immobilizer issue, and starter relay failure. Thorough diagnostics of all electrical and fuel systems are needed by a qualified local mechanic.