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Home | Engine | Car Cranks too Long Before Starting (Resolved)

Car Cranks too Long Before Starting (Resolved)

March 3, 2024 | Victor Lukasso
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If you’ve ever been in a situation where your car cranks too long before starting, you know how frustrating and nerve-wracking it can be. The moment you turn the key in the ignition, you’re met with the sound of the engine trying to start, but it just won’t quite catch.

It’s a common problem that can have a variety of causes, including a bad spark plug, a bad fuel injector, cold weather, low fuel pressure, a weak or dead battery, low engine power, faulty sensors (MAF or TPS), and a bad faulty starter motor.

Some of these problems are easy to fix, while others may require more attention from a professional mechanic.

In this article, we’ll explore some possible reasons your car might be cranking too long before starting and what you can do to fix it.

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What does it mean when your car cranks too long before starting?

Before we dive into the potential causes of a long cranking time, it’s essential to understand what’s happening under the hood when you turn the key.

When you turn the key in the ignition, the battery sends an electrical signal to the starter motor, which engages the flywheel and turns the engine over. This is what’s known as “cranking.” Ideally, the engine will start up immediately, but if it doesn’t, it will continue to crank until it does.

If your car is cranking for an extended period before starting, it could indicate that something is preventing the engine from firing. The longer it takes for the engine to start, the more wear and tear it puts on the starter motor and battery.

If you’ve noticed that your car is cranking for longer than usual, it’s essential to take action before it leads to a more severe issue.

Why is there an ignition delay when I start my car?

In this section, I’ll show why your car cranks too long before starting and fixes associated with a particular cause.

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Insufficient Fuel

If your gas tank’s fuel level is shallow, your car will crank too long before starting or might not even start at all. This is so because the engine requires a fuel and air mixture to crank up the engine.

If one is lacking, you’ll experience difficulty starting the car, or a low engine power check light will appear on your dashboard.

Solution

Check your fuel gauge to ensure you have enough fuel in the tank. If the fuel gauge is low, fill the tank and start the engine again. Sometimes, a low fuel level can cause the engine to crank for an extended period before starting.

Faulty Fuel Pump

If your car is cranking for a long time before starting, it could be a sign that the fuel pressure in your system is too low. The fuel pump is responsible for pumping gasoline from the tank to the engine, and if it’s not working correctly, your engine won’t get the fuel it needs to start up.

Solution

If you’ve diagnosed that low fuel pressure is the issue, you may need to have your fuel pump and filter checked and potentially replaced.

Clogged Fuel Injectors

If your fuel injectors are clogged with debris or dirt, they may not deliver the proper fuel to the engine. This can lead to a longer cranking time or even engine misfires.

Solution

A mechanic can clean or replace the fuel injectors if necessary.

Faulty Fuel Filter

The presence of dirt or particles in the fuel is inevitable, thus the invention of a fuel filter. However, if the fuel filter gets Clogged or suffers a leak, these particles will eventually get into the system putting your fuel injector at risk of damage.

In another case, these particles might block fuel passage into the engine, causing combustion troubles.

Solution

If you diagnose that low fuel pressure is the issue, you may need to have your fuel filter checked and potentially replaced.

Bad Spark Plug

A Spark plug plays a vital role in the cranking of an engine because it helps deliver the spark that leads to the combustion of the air and gas mixture in an internal combustion engine.

If a Spark plug is corroded with soot or goes bad, you’ll start experiencing hard starting on your vehicle until the Spark plug is cleaned or replaced.

Solution

If you suspect your Spark plug is causing your engine to crank longer, you may need to clean or replace the spark plug with a new one.

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Dead or Weak Batteries

If your car’s battery is weak, it may not have enough power to start the engine. This can be especially true in cold weather when the battery has to work harder to turn the engine over.

Solution

If you suspect your battery is the culprit, try jump-starting your ca. Once the car has started, let it run for a while to recharge it. You can also consider replacing the battery as an alternative.

Faulty Starter Motor

The starter motor is responsible for starting the engine, so if it’s faulty or worn out, it may take longer for the engine to start. Signs of a defective starter motor include a grinding or clicking sound when you turn the key or no sound at all.

Solution

After diagnosing the problem due to a faulty starter motor, you may need to get it replaced by a professional mechanic.

Faulty Sensors

Sensors such as the Mass Airflow Sensor and the Throttle Position Sensor are essential in cranking. The MAF monitors the air intake to the engine, and the TPS monitors the position of the butterfly valve and relays the information to the computer.

This help regulate the amount of air and fuel mixture that is being mixed during the combustion process and also helps calculate the amount of fuel to be injected into the engine.

Solution

You may need to take your vehicle to a mechanic for a proper diagnosis and fix. Alternatively, you can check out our article on fixing Mass Airflow sensors and the Throttle Position Sensor issues.

Bad fuel pressure regulator

A fuel pressure regulator ensures that fuel doesn’t get flooded into the system by distributing sufficient fuel to the cylinders. The FPR is joined to the air intake manifold to help regulate the fuel pressure.

If the regulator goes bad, your car will take longer or might not crank due to excess fuel pressure. This often cause reduced fuel mileage.

Solution

Take your vehicle to a mechanic to help you replace the fuel pressure regulator immediately.

Clogged Air Filter

As the name implies, air filters help ensure that the air that gets into the combustion system isn’t contaminated. However, the air filter gets clogged over time, especially when it’s not changed correctly, thus causing issues in the combustion process.

When an Air Filter gets Clogged, it’ll reduce the amount of air-to-fuel mixture coming into the system, making it hard to create a Spark that’ll ignite the engine, resulting in stalling, misfiring, and other symptoms.

Solution

If you’ve diagnosed the problem as a Clogged Air Filter, you can replace the air filter with a new one.

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Other ignition Issues

The ignition system delivers a spark to the engine’s cylinders, ignites the fuel and air mixture, and starts the engine. If there’s an issue with the ignition system, such as a faulty ignition coil, idle air control valve, or spark plugs, the engine may not start as quickly as it should.

Solution

In this case, a mechanic may need to diagnose and fix the problem.

In another case, if your car is cranking for too long because you’ve parked it in cold weather, you don’t have to call the attention of a mechanic.

While the last option works fine, it can be dangerous if not applied according to user specifications.

Use Starter Fluid

If you have an older car with a carbureted engine or live in a place with frigid weather, you can use starter fluid to help the engine start.

Spray a small amount of starter fluid into the air intake while cranking the engine. This will provide a temporary boost of fuel to help the engine start.

However, you should only use starter fluid as a last resort, as it can be dangerous if improperly used—endeavor to follow the manufacturer’s instructions while using it.

Nevertheless, If the issue persists after doing all of the above, you should use an OBD-II scanner to retrieve the code stored on the control module. This will help you detect the leading cause of the issue and implement straightforward fixes.

FAQs

What causes a long start on a car?

Long start on a car is a common problem that can have a variety of causes, including a bad spark plug, a bad fuel injector, cold weather, low fuel pressure, a weak or dead battery, low engine power, faulty sensors (MAF or TPS), and a bad faulty starter motor.

How long should an engine crank before starting?

At most, 2 to 3 seconds is enough time for an engine to crank before starting. Anything higher than this depicts an issue with the ignition or combustion system.

Can spark plugs cause a delayed start?

Yes, a faulty spark plug can cause your vehicle to experience a delayed start because it produces the spark that will crank the engine.

Conclusion

A car cranking for an extended period before starting can be frustrating and can cause damage to the engine over time; thus, you should diagnose and fix the issue as soon as possible.

The above tips should help you resolve the issue. Still, if you don’t know how to lay hands on any of the provided information, you should take your car to a mechanic to help diagnose the issue and perform necessary repairs.

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Meet Victor Lukasso, the owner of V. Auto Basics. Through this blog, Victor Provides Insights on the latest tips, maintenance, repair, and techniques in the automotive world.

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