How can I prevent the car from breaking down?

If the car won't start: common causes

If the car does not start, the suspicion quickly falls on the battery - and not entirely without good reason. But there are a number of other factors that can paralyze the engine. These are the most common causes.

Weak car battery

Especially in the winter months, an empty or weak battery takes a top position in terms of starting problems. In addition to the cold, numerous stresses electrical consumers such as seat and rear window heating, wiper system, blower, etc. the battery. This also applies to lights or radio - especially if they are not switched off automatically after the car is parked. This can be the case with older cars in particular.

Often the noise that the Starter when trying to start, recognize that the battery is weak. If this is the case, the starter (also known as the starter) is sluggish or unable to turn the engine at all. Usually that also fluctuates Electricity in the interior (Signal lamps, light), with modern vehicles a warning usually appears. In the worst case, when you try to start the engine, you only hear a clack, triggered by the magnetic switch on the starter.

If you are lucky, the engine will still start, provided all additional ones beforehand Power guzzlers such as light, radio, etc.. have been turned off. If this does not lead to success, the only thing that can help is a jump start Donor battery, charging the battery with a charger or replacing the old battery with a new one. The latter should only be done if the old battery is really defective. A battery that is simply discharged does not need to be replaced with a new one.

tip: Especially in smaller vehicles with manual transmission, starting often still succeeds Pushing or towing.

Defective generator (alternator)

Strike them alternator, the battery is no longer charged while driving. This is usually visible through the permanently illuminated Battery icon on the dashboard. Normally this display goes out immediately after starting.

Background: The electricity is generated in the alternator (three-phase generator) when driving, temporarily stored in the battery and is then available for starting and operating the vehicle. The good news: Sometimes the problem is limited and all that needs to be done is Drive belt the alternator must be replaced.

Loose or ailing cables

The battery is full, but the car still won't start? Occasionally the electrical circuit is through problems with the Power cables interrupted. The causes can be different:

  • corrosion: In cars, the steel body serves as a "minus" line. This is why components such as the alternator or the battery are connected directly to the body. At this interface, the current flow can be interrupted due to corrosion, which can lead to starting problems.

  • Loose cables: Especially in older vehicles, screw connections in the cables can come loose from time to time, which interrupts the flow of current.

  • Marten bite: Martens are always busy in the engine compartment. If relevant components are damaged in the process, ignition problems can arise. These components must then be replaced. Here you can find out how you can protect your vehicle from marten bites.

Malfunction in the fuel system

That can also happen: In the hectic pace of everyday life, you fail to refuel in good time - despite the (intact) fuel gauge, the signal lamp lighting up and the remaining range displayed.

  • At Gasoline engines it is usually enough to refuel. At older diesel engines it may be necessary to bleed the fuel system beforehand.

  • Is the Tank empty and if there is a puddle under the car, lines and hoses should be checked immediately (marten bite!).

  • If there is still enough fuel in the tank and no other causes are possible, the following factors in the fuel system could prevent starting: Blockages in the fuel filter or the fuel line, the failure of the injection pump and malfunctions in various Sensors. Then usually only the workshop can help.

Attention: Fine if the tank is empty on the motorway

Staying on the motorway because of an empty tank is considered to be an avoidable obstacle to traffic according to the road traffic regulations and can be punished with a fine of 35 € or more as well as points in Flensburg.

Generally one is Remote diagnosis practically impossible in the case of starting problems, because besides those mentioned it can still be many more causes give. So in particular with older vehicles also defective wear parts, for example Starter or ailing Spark plugsmake it difficult or impossible to start. Read the current ADAC breakdown statistics here.

If nothing works, you can get quick help from the ADAC breakdown assistance order, either online, via app or
phone: 01802 22 22 22 (German landline, 6 cents / call)
Domestic cellular network: 22 22 22 (connection costs depending on network operator / provider)
foreign countries:+49 89 22 22 22

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