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 leaves you stranded and clueless about the issue. Luckily, some common problems lead to Chevy Vitara not starting, many of which can be fixed DIY or quickly by a mechanic.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the top 14 causes your Chevy Vitara won't start and offer useful 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 burst of electricity to crank the engine and get it started.
Indications of a dead battery:
- Silence upon turning the key – no clicking or turnover
- Accessories not powering on
- Hard time starting in cold weather
How to Fix It: Keep jumper cables on hand for a dead battery situation. Jump starting your Chevrolet Vitara using another vehicle or portable charger can deliver enough juice to get it started.
You can also clean corroded battery terminals that are blocking a good connection. If problems persist, have your battery tested – it may need replacing if old.
If your battery tests fine but your Chevrolet Vitara still won't crank, the issue may be a bad alternator. This vital part charges your battery when running and energizes the electronics.
Signs of a bad alternator:
- Battery warning indicator illuminating
- Electronics dimming
- Hard time starting, especially after short trips
The Fix: Get your alternator checked right away 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 fire the air/fuel ratio in the cylinders to run your car. When they are dirty, bad, or corroded, your Vitara 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 inspected and swap any faulty ones. Using quality gas prevents buildup.
Problems with ignition components like the switch, lock cylinder, fob, or wiring can prevent your Chevrolet from cranking.
Signs 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 inspected 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 Vitara may not turn over.
Symptoms of a bad starter:
- No noise upon turning key
- Clicking but no cranking
- Unusual noises
The Fix: Have your starter tested and replaced 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 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 blocked fuel filter can restrict fuel delivery to the engine, preventing your Chevy Vitara from turning over.
Symptoms of a clogged filter:
- Hard time starting
- Engine sputtering
- Decreased fuel economy
The Fix: Change the filter per your schedule or if suspected 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 delivers 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
- Hard time 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 leaks can cause 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 synchronizes the camshaft and crankshaft. If it snaps, the valves and pistons aren't synchronized properly and your Chevy Vitara 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 Vitara.
Detached or Loose Battery Cable
Symptoms of a bad cable:
- Corroded terminals
- Power loss from wiggling 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 Vitara 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 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 situation, it can be challenging to pinpoint the exact problem yourself. In some cases, seeking 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 Vitara|Chevrolet Vitara starting again ASAP.
3. Chat with a Chevy Mechanic Online
This is a fantastic option for most DIYers or car aficionados. It's often a straightforward mend you can do on your own, like changing or powering up the battery. In these cases, if you are aware of what to do one step after another, you can do it yourself, you don't need to pay a mechanic in person. Alright, it's your fortunate day, an online mechanic can supply all the help, guidance, and recommendations you need, instantly by online chat. You can then carry out the simple fix yourself.
The top online mechanic we propose is JustAnswer, and through our link, you can get a free trial of their service for just $5, request unlimited questions for a week, get the assistance you need, and you do not need to continue the service after that. We love JustAnswer for this reason, specialist auto mechanic assistance for just $5 is an unbeatable price.
The certified mechanics at JustAnswer's Ask a Mechanic service are ready 24/7 to provide remote diagnostics and recommendations. The benefits of querying a mechanic online are:
- Convenience: Get help from your house without having to schedule an appointment or wait at a shop.
- Fast answers; Mechanics respond 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 recorded in writing, providing helpful reference.
- Expert assistance; Experienced licensed mechanics have the expertise to solve Chevy Vitara|Chevrolet Vitara 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 Vitara or your Chevrolet Viva 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 lights work“, consider our Chrevrolet mechanic live chat free service. In just minutes, you can access expert Chevrolet knowledge to help get your beloved Vitara started again.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Why is my Chevy car not cranking but I have power?
If your Chevrolet doesn't crank but the lights and electronics 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 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 won't crank when trying to start, the problem is often a bad starter system or related wiring problem. This prevents the starter from engaging to turn the engine over for starting.
What would cause my Chevy car unexpectedly not start?
Unexpected no-start issues can occur from loose 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 doesn'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 upon 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 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. Complete diagnostics of all electrical and fuel systems are needed by a qualified local mechanic.