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 will leave you immobilized and uncertain about the cause. Luckily, some common problems lead to Chevrolet Van not starting, many of which can be fixed DIY or quickly by a mechanic.
In this comprehensive guide, we're going to look at the fourteen most common reasons your Chevrolet Van won't start and offer useful tips to get your car started again.
The most common cause a Chevrolet 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 clicking or turnover
- 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 Van using another vehicle or jump box can deliver enough charge to get it started.
You can also clean 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 Chevrolet Van still won't turn over, the issue may be a bad alternator. This vital part charges your battery when running and energizes the electrical system.
Clues of a bad alternator:
- Battery warning light coming on
- Electronics fading
- Hard time starting, particularly following short trips
The Fix: Get your alternator inspected ASAP by a mechanic. A bad alternator can quickly drain your battery. This will need to be replaced by an experienced mechanic.
Faulty Spark Plugs
Spark plugs fire the fuel/air mixture in the cylinders to run your car. When they are fouled or worn out, your Van may not start due to no spark.
Signs of bad spark plugs:
- Poor fuel economy
- Rough idle
- Engine misfiring
The Fix: Spark plugs need regular replacement as they degrade. Most last 30k+ miles. Have your plugs checked and swap any bad ones. Using quality gas prevents buildup.
Issues with parts like the switch, lock cylinder, fob, or wiring can prevent your Chevy 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 inspected 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 Chevrolet Van may not crank.
Signs of a bad starter:
- No noise upon turning key
- Clicking but no cranking
- 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.
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 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 clogged fuel filter can restrict fuel flow to the engine, preventing your Chevrolet Van from turning over.
Signs of a clogged filter:
- Difficulty starting
- Engine misfiring
- Decreased fuel economy
The Fix: Change the filter when due or if thought clogged. Use quality gas and change 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 transfers 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 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 damage can lead to a no start.
Signs 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 won't be timed properly and your Chevy Van won't start.
Signs 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 Van.
Loose or Detached 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 Van 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 challenging to identify the exact issue yourself. In some cases, getting aid 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 Van|Chevrolet Van starting again ASAP.
3. Chat with a Chevy Mechanic Online
This is a fantastic possibility for most DIYers or car enthusiasts. It's many times a simple fix you can do yourself, like changing or charging the battery. In these instances, if you are aware of what to do step by step, you can do it on your own, you are not required to pay a mechanic in person. Alright, it's your fortunate day, an online mechanic can provide all the assistance, advice, and advice you need, right away by online chat. You can then carry out the simple fix yourself.
The best online mechanic we suggest is JustAnswer, and through our link, you can get a trial of their service for just $5, request unlimited questions for a week, get the assistance you require, and you are not obligated to keep going with the service after that. We love JustAnswer for this purpose, expert auto mechanic help for just $5 is an unbeatable price.
The qualified mechanics at JustAnswer's Ask a Mechanic service are accessible 24/7 to provide remote diagnostics and recommendations. The perks 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 quickly with likely issues 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; Seasoned licensed mechanics have the expertise to solve Chevy Van|Chevrolet Van 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 Van or your Chevrolet Vectra 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 just clicks but lights work“, consider our Chrevrolet help online service. In just minutes, you can get expert Chevrolet knowledge to help get your beloved Van going again.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Why is my Chevy car not starting but I have power?
If your Chevrolet doesn't crank but the lights and electronics power on, the most likely causes are problems in the starter motor, 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 system or related wiring issue. This prevents the starter from engaging to turn the engine over for starting.
What would make my Chevy car unexpectedly not start?
Sudden no-start issues can occur 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 flow 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 turnover, unusual grinding sounds, and slow/labored 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 are good?
If the battery and alternator check out, common causes are bad spark plugs, clogged fuel filter, blown fuse, immobilizer issue, and starter relay failure. Complete diagnostics of all electrical and fuel systems is needed by a qualified local mechanic.