My RV Won’t Start: 20 Causes & Fixes!

Ask an RV Mechanic

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If your RV won't start and you need to get somewhere quickly, it might be annoying and stressful. Though certain reasons for an RV not starting are simple to figure out and correct, some need an expert mechanic's assistance. In this write-up, we'll address a few typical causes of why your RV doesn't start and provide tips for diagnosing and fixing these problems independently. Let's have your RV up and running again!

Chat with an RV Mechanic

Prior to diving in, if you'd rather skip to the end and directly obtain the solution, you're welcome to have a direct conversation and ask an RV Mechanic about why your RV won't start and how to fix it. Located at the bottom-right section of this webpage, there is a real-time chat function that puts you in touch with experienced mechanics accessible round-the-clock to respond to your questions and provide guidance. Thus, if you require quick, affordable assistance from an RV, it's an excellent option in which you can ask mechanics as many questions as you like. So with that out of the way, let's dive in!

1: Dead Battery

Dead battery

A frequent issue your automobile refuses to start is a drained battery. Signs that your battery might be drained consist of no engine turnover and a clicking sound as you turn the ignition key. To resolve this issue, jump-starting your RV, or replacing the dead battery might be required – maintain jumper cables handy for such situations!

2: Neglected Alternator

Car alternator causing battery to drain

The alternator is responsible for charging your RV's battery as it runs. If it malfunctions, there could be a lack of sufficient power to get your RV started. Symptoms that something may be amiss involve a glowing battery light on the dashboard, weaker headlights, or even possibly absolutely no power. Fixing this situation correctly necessitates professional diagnosis and repair. The cost of this is to assess and fix hinges on the mechanic and parts needed. Should you require guidance concerning this, you are welcome to chat with one of our online mechanics anytime.

3: Clogged Fuel Filter

Clogged Fuel filter

A fuel filter serves a vital purpose in filtering unwanted particles from gasoline prior to reaching your RV's engine, so, when it gets blocked, it could decrease efficiency or stop your RV from starting entirely. Symptoms that your filter might be clogged include lack of power, engine stalling, or a complete inability to start. Addressing an obstructed fuel filter on your own or aided by an experienced mechanic shouldn't take long. You can receive advice and a thorough walkthrough on fixing this issue through a chat with a skilled mechanic via the Internet.

4: Malfunctioning Starter Motor

car starter motor faulty

Your RV's starter motor is responsible for cranking up the engine as you turn the key in the ignition. In case it fails, it's likely the reason why your RV won't start or you may hear grinding noises when turning the key. The answer to a defective starting motor is a replacement; this calls for expert assessment and service. The price of this can greatly vary relying on your individual circumstances. You can consult a mechanic via the internet for guidance on pricing for your individual case, so you're ready while going to your neighborhood mechanic's place.

5: Neglected Ignition Switch

Faulty ignition switch

An ignition switch is responsible for initiating and maintaining your vehicle's engine functioning well. In case it fails, it can hinder your automobile from starting or lead to stalling during driving. Indications that there's an issue with the ignition switch consist of no response while turning the key within the ignition and the engine not turning over. To address this issue, expert mechanic assessment and resolution might be all you need. Speak to an online or local mechanic to get this diagnosed and settled.

6: Damaged Spark Plugs

faulty spark plugs car

Spark plugs ignite the fuel inside the cylinders of an engine. If they become worn or become impaired, they might not produce a spark and this can stop the engine from starting. Indications of faulty spark plugs include bumpy idling, reduced acceleration, or challenges as you attempt to start your automobile. To fix this issue, replace them with fresh ones – either by a skilled professional or a person who prefers to handle it them themselves. This shouldn't be an overly expensive or complex repair; if you prefer handling it on your own, you can obtain recommendations and be guided through the procedure at any time by speaking to a mechanic online.

7: Fuel Pump Failure

faulty fuel pump

Your RV's fuel pump handles delivering fuel to an engine, and should it fail, your vehicle won't start or function as it should. Indications that there might be a problem comprise a lack of response while turning the key in the ignition, the engine coming to a stop or erratic firing. The sole solution for a faulty fuel pump involves changing it – this requires skilled evaluation and service by knowledgeable mechanics.

8: Faulty Distributor Cap

faulty distributor cap

A distributor cap is responsible for transmitting electrical current from the coil to the spark plugs. If this piece malfunctions, the engine may not achieve proper ignition. A faulty distributor cap can hinder the engine from starting as it should, causing misfiring, sluggish acceleration, and challenges starting it. The answer to a bad distributor cap is changing it, which can be achieved by either an experienced mechanic or DIYer with basic skills and tools to cut costs. For live stepwise instructions on completing this process and cutting costs, you can speak to a mechanic online and obtain guidance.

9: Ignition Coil Failure

faulty ignition coil car

The ignition coil takes care of producing the electric current that sets off fuel in the engine's cylinders. If it malfunctions, your engine might not start or misfire. Indications of a malfunctioning coil include a lack of response when turning on the ignition, engine misfiring sounds, and slow acceleration. To handle this issue expert assessment and service are usually necessary; swapping an ignition coil usually resolves all these issues. The cost of this hinges on the technician and your unique case. Feel free to request a cost estimate or an alternative viewpoint on cost from an online mechanic to assist with the course of action.

10: Broken Timing Belt

broken timing belt car

Your RV's timing belt takes care of synchronizing the actions of an engine's valves and its pistons. If it breaks, it's likely the reason why your RV's not starting, because the engine could fail to start or run correctly. Symptoms that there might be a concern include a lack of response when activating the ignition, misfiring, or stalling of the engine. To resolve this situation, expert assessment and fixing are required; swapping the belt requires both. If you would like a quote on your individual case, you can get the advice of an online mechanic, to be more prepared as you visit a nearby garage.

11: Failed Camshaft Position Sensor

camshaft position sensor.

Your RV's camshaft position sensor handles observing a camshaft's position and sending that data to the engine's control module. If it breaks down, when you attempt to start your RV, the engine might not start or run correctly. Signs may include no response when turning the ignition key, misfiring engine sounds, or weak acceleration. A professional diagnosis and fixing for a broken camshaft position sensor typically require replacing it with a new part. This cost depends on your specific case, you can get an estimate from a local repair shop or an online mechanic.

12: Failing Crankshaft Position Sensor.

Car mechanic hands replacing a camshaft position sensor.

Your vehicle's crankshaft position sensor handles observing the position of your engine's crankshaft (crank) and relaying that data to its control module. If the sensor fails, your vehicle may not start or run correctly, with issues cranking; signs encompass no response when using the ignition key, misfiring engine sounds, or weak acceleration. The exclusive remedy to a failed crankshaft position sensor is a replacement, which necessitates an expert mechanic to diagnose and repair it. You can get guidance on your individual situation from a nearby garage or online.

13: Faulty Mass Airflow Sensor

faulty air flow sensor

The mass airflow sensor takes care of calculating the volume of air going into an engine and transmits that data to the RV's engine control module. If it malfunctions, chances are the reason your RV is experiencing starting or running issues. Signs of a failing mass airflow sensor encompass poor acceleration, engine misfiring sounds, or trouble starting the RV. To address this problem, you need an expert mechanic to evaluate and resolve the defective mass airflow sensor. Consult a nearby garage or an online mechanic to get advice and cost estimates specific to your case.

14: Computer System Malfunction

faulty computer system in car

Modern RVs rely heavily on their onboard computer for various important tasks, such as starting and running the engine and managing transmission and emissions. If this element breaks down, it may lead to various issues such as a non-responsive engine, warning lights on the dashboard, poor acceleration, or challenges in starting the engine. To resolve a problem with the engine control unit, it's best to get it checked and fixed by a skilled automotive expert.

15: Blown Fuses

blown fuse in car

A burnt-out fuse may also be to blame for your RV failing to start. Automotive fuses safeguard various electrical components in your vehicle, and when one fails, the affected component such as the starter motor – may no longer operate as intended. Symptoms of a blown fuse involve no reaction when you turn the key in the ignition, no lights or accessories turning on, as well as an intermittent misfiring engine. To check for a blown fuse, check the fuse box situated either in the engine compartment or under the dashboard. If you discover a damaged fuse, swap it with the same rating. Although replacing a fuse is typically a simple do-it-yourself task, keep in mind that constant fuse failures could point to a deeper electrical issue that needs skilled evaluation and repair. For more guidance regarding this and help through the process in real-time, feel free to speak to a mechanic online.

16: Clogged Air Filter

clogged air filter in car

An air filter is in charge of preventing dust, debris, and other pollutants from getting into your engine. If it's clogged, it can limit airflow to the engine, which could cause starting issues or perhaps reduced performance. Symptoms that the filter is clogged include reduced acceleration, difficulty starting the engine, or decreased gas mileage. To fix this problem, it's necessary to swap out the filter; a job is effortlessly done by a professional mechanic or a do-it-yourselfer who knows what they are doing.

17: Dirty Fuel Injectors

Dirty Fuel Injectors

Fuel injectors are in charge of providing gas to the engine. When they get unclean or blocked, it could impede enough delivery of fuel to start or operate the engine accurately. Signs that the fuel injectors could be dirty are a lack of response when turning on the ignition key, slow acceleration or perhaps stalling. The answer for dirty injectors involves cleaning, which could be performed by a professional mechanic.

18: Faulty Engine Control Module (ECM)

Car mechanic team using laptop boosting car engine at auto repair shop

The engine control module (ECM) is in charge of controlling and monitoring many of your RV's systems, such as the performance of the engine along with emissions. When the engine control module fails or malfunctions, it could lead to various issues with starting or running your engine. Indications that there is an issue with an ECM consist of indicator lights on your dashboard, poor acceleration, or difficulty starting your engine. To fix the matter with a faulty ECM, seek advice from a professional mechanic who is able to correctly diagnose as well as fix it.

19: Bad Fuel Pump Relay

bad fuel pump relay

The fuel pump relay is responsible for providing current to the fuel pump, so in case the relay fails, the fuel pump won't receive enough power to work which can lead to issues with starting the engine. Symptoms that there's something wrong include a lack of response when you turn your key in the ignition, stalling of the engine, or even misfiring engine sounds. To repair a malfunctioning relay, an expert or knowledgeable do-it-yourselfer can swap it following proper instructions or directions.

20: Failed Throttle Position Sensor

Faulty throttle position sensor

The throttle position sensor handles keeping track of the throttle position as well as transmitting that specific info to the engine's control module. In case the sensor malfunctions, your vehicle may not necessarily begin or run smoothly. Symptoms of a broken throttle position sensor consist of no response when turning your key into the ignition, lousy speeding up, or stalling. Resolving a malfunctioning sensor necessitates skilled analysis and fixing by way of a seasoned auto mechanic.


In summary, dealing with a vehicle that doesn't start may be a frustrating and nerve-racking experience. However, there are countless possible factors as well as solutions for why this particular may occur. By understanding the usual causes as well as symptoms linked to a non-starting automobile, it is possible to correctly diagnose the issue and find a highly effective fix. Irrespective of the cause of the vehicle not starting, whether it be a dead battery, fuel system malfunction, faulty starter motor, or ignition issue – there are actions you are able to take to obtain back on the road safely. Exercise caution while repairing your RV and don't hesitate to get professional help online if needed. We trust this comprehensive guide provides sufficient information so you can quickly diagnose what's stopping its engine from turning on once more to ensure that the problem could be resolved promptly. Don't forget, if you need extra help or advice, feel free to use our car help chat service!

when to ask a mechanic


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What steps should I take if my RV doesn't start?

Should your automobile refuse to start, initially examine the car battery, fuel, starter motor, as well as ignition system for issues. If you can't take your RV. to a nearby mechanic, you can talk to one online initially.

What are the signs of a dead RV battery?

Indications of a dead RV battery include difficulty starting the engine or hearing a clicking sound when you turn on ignition. If you're uncertain, speak to a local or online mechanic.

How can I tell if my RV fuel filter is blocked?

Signs that your filter may be clogged include reduced power, engine stalling, or even trouble starting the engine. If you are unsure, speak to an online or local mechanic.

How often should I replace my RV battery?

Car battery lifespans differ, but generally speaking, it is suggested to change them every three to five years in order to avoid problems when starting up your vehicle.

Can a bad mass airflow sensor keep my RV from starting?

A faulty mass airflow sensor could potentially have an effect on performance, it is unlikely to cause issues with starting your vehicle.

How do I jump start my RV?

In order to jump starting your RV, you will need jumper leads as well as a second vehicle with a functioning battery. Connect the cables correctly in their designated order, start the functioning vehicle, pause for a short while, and then try starting your RV again. Talk to an online mechanic to get give you advice as well as guide you through the process.

Can a malfunctioning alternator cause my RV to not start?

Yes, it can. If the alternator is faulty, your RV battery might not have enough charge to start the engine. Talk to an online or local mechanic for advice on this.

What are the signs of bad spark plugs in an RV?

Symptoms of worn spark plugs include rough idle, poor acceleration, or even difficulty starting the engine.

If my RV stalls while driving, what should I do?

In the event, your RV stalls while driving, first attempt to carefully pull over to a safe spot on the roadside, turn off its engine then attempt to restart it. If this fails, call for professional help to assist you.

Does a broken timing belt cause engine damage in an RV?

Indeed, such damage could be costly to fix should the timing belt break. If you're uncertain, consult an online or local mechanic.

Chat With a Mechanic?

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


Chat With a Mechanic?

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