Ford S-Max Won’t Start? Here’s Quick Solutions to the Most Common Causes

Ford S-Max

Introduction

As a licensed Auto mechanic with over twenty years of experience, I’ve seen my fair share of S-Maxs that won’t to start. And I can assure you, I understand how frustrating it can be when you’ve got places to go, you hop in, turn the key, and … drum roll please … absolutely nothing!

But no need for concern, you’ve come to the right place. My name’s Robby and in this article, I’m going to walk you through the most frequent explanations why your Ford S-Max won’t start. I’ll discuss all the most common causes and you’ll learn how to identify each potential cause, as well as what to do in each case. I’ll provide useful troubleshooting tips and repair solutions based on my two decades of hands-on experience, so you can get your Ford S-Max starting and moving as quickly as possible.

Understanding Why a Ford S-Max Won’t Start

Ford doesnt start
Image Credit: MechanicAnswer.com

Before we get stuck into the causes and solutions it’s important to initially understand the issue. When you hop into your car and realize “My Ford S-Max won’t start”, this could be due to a multitude of things being wrong with your vehicle. Possibly the engine is not cranking at all, potentially it is cranking partially but then not starting, or possibly it’s making a clicking sound when you attempt to start the engine, but in the end nothing happens. Each of these scenarios can point to various issues with your car.

Common Reasons Why Your Ford S-Max Won’t Start

There are many reasons an S-Max will not start. These issues usually include a weak or dead car battery, a broken alternator, starter motor failures, fuel system failures, as well as electrical or circuitry issues. Every one of these problems can show up as a multitude of symptoms and require different solutions to identify and fix, so we can get your car back on the road as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Ford S-Max That Won’t Start

Being able to identify and diagnose these signs, will help you in finding the root cause of the issue. For example, when you turn the key in the ignition, and you hear a clicking noise however your car still won’t start, it can mean that there is an issue with the fuel or ignition system.

Analysis of The Reasons Why Your Ford S-Max Won’t Start

The very first step to figuring out a practical solution to the problem is figuring out the root cause of that issue, so let’s look into the most typical causes as to why your S-Max can’t start.

Ford S-Max Battery Issues

Auto mechanic replacing car battery

In most cases, the most common reason why your Ford S-Max will not start is, in many cases down to a bad battery, it’s either dead or weak, and you have to either charge up the battery or replace it. The car’s battery supplies the electricity required to start the engine, and power all the electrical parts in your Ford S-Max. Signs of a bad battery issue in a S-Max, are things like the vehicle being slow to crank the engine, poorly lit headlights, or a lit-up battery caution light on the dashboard. A portable jump starter allows you to jump start your car if the battery is dead without needing another vehicle. And a battery charger can help recharge a dead battery and diagnose battery issues.

Ford S-Max Alternator Problems

Ford wont start due to alternator issues

The alternator is tasked with charging the battery from the engine while the vehicle is running. A faulty alternator can certainly prevent your Ford S-Max from starting as it will not be able to charge the battery, from the engine, so it will be drained all the way down until it’s completely drained and you only realize it when you get into your beloved S-Max and it refuses to start. Symptoms that your S-Maxs alternator is faulty include a lit-up battery or alternator warning light on the dashboard, dim headlights when the engine is idling, and also a whining or grinding noise from the engine while it’s running.

Ford S-Max Starter Motor Failures

Ford wont start due to starter motor issues

The starter motor manages turning the engine over (cranking) when you start your Ford. If the starter motor is defective in some way then the engine will not crank, and your S-Max can’t start. You can find out if your starter motor has a problem or not often by listening for a clicking noise when you turn your key or a grinding sound during the start-up, or your vehicle can start, but only intermittently then the starter motor may very well be the problem.

Ford S-Max Fuel System Complications

my car wont start but clicks

We’re not talking about when you just run out of gas here, but the fuel system itself having complications. Your Ford S-Max uses a combustion engine, and because of this to start and run, it needs a mix of enough fuel and air. If your S-Max issues are because of a faulty fuel system, this might be a clogged fuel filter or a damaged fuel pump relay, which could suggest the engine might not be getting the fuel it needs to get the car up and running. Over time fuel injectors can also get clogged, so using a fuel injector cleaner like Red Line can help clean them and improve starting.

Ford S-Max Electrical System or Wiring Problems

can electrics be a reason a car wont start

Modern Ford S-Maxs rely greatly on electronics, which can mean there are lots of things that can potentially break and cause problems. Even in an older model, you can still have typical problems such as blown fuses, spark plug problems, a faulty ignition switch, or a broken sensor, and more. These can be some of the numerous electrical explanations as to why your Ford S-Max can’t start. Symptoms of a circuitry or electrical problem can differ vastly however can often include the engine not cranking, or your S-Max can start however just intermittently or various alert lights show on the dashboard. To properly diagnose and fix these kinds of issues, you will require the abilities of a knowledgeable car mechanic in your area or online.

Solutions & Repair Tips

As soon as you have figured out what the reason for your car¬† failing to start is. The next step is of course to attempt to repair it. Here are some pointers for the common issues we’ve covered previously.

How to Troubleshoot and Fix Battery Issues in a Ford S-Max

my car wont start i think its the battery

If it’s a battery issue you suspect is the cause of your troubles, then the first thing you should do is examine around the battery and check the battery terminals. You want them to be clean, not corroded, and securely connected. If you find that the terminals are corroded you can try to clean them up with a mix of baking soda and water.

Once you have checked the battery terminals, you can check to see if the battery is just out of charge, or worse, it’s old and weak, or dead and needs to be replaced. For this, you can charge the battery in a few different ways:

If the battery charges up and works fine, great, problem solved! However, if the battery is old or weak, you will have to replace it. Otherwise, even if you charge it up enough to start the Ford S-Max, it will probably die again in the near future. You can make use of a multimeter or OB2 scanner as a way to test the life of the battery to see if it‚Äôs worth saving or if it needs replacing. You can get a replacement car battery for your exact Ford model by visiting Amazon here, and selecting “enter a new vehicle” to filter the results for your Ford S-Max, and choose a suitable one, from a seller with great reviews.

If charging your S-Max’s battery does not resolve your issues, and problems like frequent draining and needing frequent charges persist even after replacing the battery, there is likely a more complex underlying issue causing excessive battery drain. In that case, you will need a professional mechanic to inspect and diagnose the root cause. You can also ask the advice of a mechanic online through us, or get an instant free quote on a mechanics comes to you.

How to Diagnose Alternator Problems in a Ford S-Max

car wont start, jumped and started alternator

If the alternator is what you think is the offender, you can test it. If you can get the car to start up temporarily (you may need to jump-start the car for that), but once it‚Äôs going, let the vehicle run, and while it’s running, disconnect the positive terminal of the battery. If you discover your Ford S-Max dies right away, then it’s most likely because of an issue with your car’s alternator. However, be warned this test can be risky and dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, and may damage the sensitive electronic elements in your vehicle, so in this case best to talk to a reliable mechanic in your area or online, prior to ever attempting this.

How to Identify Starter Motor Failures in a Ford S-Max

starter motor issues in a ford

If you suspect the starter motor is the cause of your Ford S-Max not being able to fire up, listen for a clicking noise when you turn the ignition key. In these cases, the solution is to have the starter motor changed for a new one by a professional mechanic.

How to Fix Fuel System Problems in a Ford S-Max

clogged fuel filter car wont start

If you suspect the issue to be due to a fuel system problem, try and listen for the fuel pump when you turn the key to the “on” position, before starting the vehicle. You should be able to hear a humming sound for a few seconds. If you are unable to hear this sound, then it might be there is a problem with the fuel pump. If you notice your Ford is hard to start, it stalls, or it has poor acceleration, it might be down to a clogged fuel filter. Both of these will likely require a professional car mechanic in order to properly fix. This is because may require a fuel pressure test kit and mechanic’s tool set to fully diagnose and repair fuel system problems.

How to Repair Electrical or Wiring Problems in a Ford S-Max

fuses to check when car wont start

If you think it’s a circuitry or electrical system issue, first check the fuses associated with the ignition system, and change any that have actually blown. If your Ford S-Max starts after this, then it was an effective, easy and cheap fix! Nevertheless, if the car refuses to start, even intermittently it might be an issue with the ignition switch itself. It might be a faulty sensing unit if numerous warning lights are lit up on the dash. These issues can be really complicated and a professional car mechanic is likely required to identify and have it properly repaired. They will probably need tools like a multimeter and OBD2 scanner to test wiring and pinpoint electrical gremlins.

Preventive Steps

As my dad always stated “Prevention is better than cure”, so here are some preventative measures to ensure you can avoid any Ford S-Max starting pains ever again!

Regular Upkeep of Your Ford S-Max:

Regular maintenance on car to prevent starting issues

Regular maintenance of your Ford S-Max is of the utmost importance to avoiding future problems. This consists of things like routine oil changes, inspecting your car battery, cleaning up the terminals, changing the fuel filter as recommended/required, and of course having your vehicle checked by a professional car mechanic routinely. If you are uncertain about routine maintenance tasks needed for your specific automobile, you can speak with a mechanic in your area or online.

Drive Your Ford S-Max Frequently:

drive regular to avoid car troubles

If you happen to leave your Ford S-Max in your garage for long durations of time without taking it for a spin now and again, the battery will drain as it’s not getting any charge from the engine being used. Try to drive your car frequently to keep the battery from draining. If you remember you haven’t driven your car in a while, take it for a spin to ensure there is still a charge in the battery. Worth noting: letting the battery totally drain, is also damaging to the long-term life of the battery, try not to do this.

Pay Attention to Warning Signs:

Check Engine Control Light on a Vehicle Dashboard

If you observe anything weird like uncommon sounds, a difference in driving and performance, or alert lights lit up on your Ford S-Maxs dashboard, do not ignore them. These are usually early indications of an issue and it’s best to be dealt with ASAP so that they don’t become bigger problems down the line. Speak with a car mechanic in your area or online about these warning lights and get advice on if they need to be dealt with.

When to Ask a Ford Mechanic Online

If you’re either limited on time, would like a specialist Ford mechanic on hand assisting and advising you, or you’ve attempted to resolve it for yourself, however in spite of your best efforts your Ford S-Max fails to start, then talking with a Ford mechanic online can be a terrific option. It certainly beats googling things like “Ford clicks once but wont start” all day and still getting no where.

Advantages of an Online Ford Mechanic

Happy mechanic repairing car looking at camera

Online mechanic services, like ours in the bottom right of this page, offer numerous benefits. You can get skilled Ford mechanic recommendations 24×7 and without leaving your home, which is especially beneficial if your car won’t start and is stuck in the driveway. You can also save money as online mechanic consultations are much cheaper than a physical visit to a local mechanic near you. Plus, you can get the answer rapidly, which is excellent if you’re in a hurry, need a 2nd opinion, or you just prefer having a professional Ford mechanic on hand.

How Services Like MechanicAnswer.com Can Help You

Ask a mechanic online about my car not starting

MechanicAnswer.com connects you with accredited expert mechanics who can provide instantaneous aid, guidance and advice with all issues and all Ford models. So it doesn’t matter if your Ford Puma won’t start or it’s your S-Max that you’re having issues with, we’ve got the mechanics online that with a little bit of information over a chat box, can solve anything for you.

You’re able to describe the problems you are having with your car, ask Ford mechanics limitless questions, and even upload images and videos so you are able to show the mechanic what you mean. You can speak with them via online chat or by phone call, whichever you prefer. The Ford mechanic will help you diagnose the issue, advise you on what are the best options for your specific situation and even assist you through simple maintenance and repairs every step of the way.

So feel free to try out our free Ford mechanical advice service and see for yourself!

Conclusion

To sum it all up, when your Ford S-Max is unable to start, it can be a major downer and a massive hassle. However, knowing what might be triggering the issues, being able to troubleshoot them, and knowing what actions are needed in each case, and where to get help if required, will be a big help. Keep in mind that regular maintenance is key to preventing all kinds of vehicle problems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What should I do if my Ford S-Max will not start?

To start with, don’t panic. Try to identify any signs that might indicate an issue, such as unusual noises, warning lights on the dash, or changes in performance. The reason for the problem is likely among the main causes talked about in this guide. You will need the assistance of a mechanic in your area or online if you can’t find the problem yourself.

 

How to tell if my Ford S-Max won’t start because of the battery?

Indications of a battery problem in a S-Max consist of the engine being slow to crank, dim headlights, and lit battery warning lights on the dash. You can also check the battery terminals to see if they are clean, not corroded, and tightly connected. It may be best to simply swap it out for a new one if the battery is weak or old.

 

How can I prevent my Ford S-Max not starting issues?

In order to ensure this inconvenience never ever takes place once again, routine upkeep is crucial. This consists of things like oil changes, inspecting the battery and cleaning its terminals, replacing the fuel filter as recommended/required, and getting your Ford S-Max inspected by a mechanic routinely. It’s also an excellent idea to drive the car frequently so the battery stays charged.

 

Can I ask a mechanic online if my Ford S-Max fails to start?

Yes, you can. An online mechanic service like ours can offer instant expert Ford mechanic assistance and advice, without you needing to leave your house. If your Ford S-Max can’t start and is stuck in the driveway, this is particularly helpful.

 

How can services like MechanicAnswer.com help if my Ford S-Max is unable to start?

We link you with licensed professional Ford mechanics who can offer recommendations on your particular situation. You can tell them about your vehicle problems, ask unlimited questions, and even submit images and videos so you can correctly demonstrate the issue and describe it fully. The mechanic will have the ability to assist, troubleshoot, diagnose the problem, suggest the best course of action and guide you along the way.

Chat With a Mechanic?

24/7 Expert Mechanics To Help Solve Any Issues Your Having.

 

Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just $5.
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Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just £5.
  2. Get help from a¬†Mobile Mechanic. We ¬†recommend Fixter. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. Instant free quote online below. We recommend the online mechanic first, as it’s cheaper for you, and you may not need an in-person mechanic.

Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just $5.
  2. Get in-person help from a Mobile Mechanic Near You. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. If there are none near you, you will be redirected to the online mechanic.

Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just $5.
  2. Get in-person help from a Mobile Mechanic Near You. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. If there are none near you, you will be redirected to the online mechanic.

Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just £5.
  2. Get help from a¬†Mobile Mechanic. We ¬†recommend Fixter. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. Instant free quote online below. We recommend the online mechanic first, as it’s cheaper for you, and you may not need an in-person mechanic.

Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just $5.
  2. Get in-person help from a¬†Mobile Mechanic. We recommend YourMechanic. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. Instant free quote online below. We recommend the online mechanic first, as it’s cheaper, and you may not need an in-person mechanic.

Where Can I Find My VIN?

Your vehicle’s unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) can be found on the title document, the vehicle registration, and the insurance policy. It is a series letters and numbers like this as example: WAUGC0896JA235262. The VIN can also be located on the following locations on the vehicle itself:

how to find VIN on vehicle