Your car engine won’t start, what you need to know and where to start?

If you are also like the majority of drivers in the UK who use their cars to go from one destination to the other and just wish to get their car working properly. None of them expects to break down on the go e.g. when they are going from London to Manchester or even longer. But when it happens unexpectedly to anyone, it becomes extremely stressful and inconvenient for the drivers. It remains stressful and worse until you see it coming back to the road and driving again.

We accept that the car engine is on the go until it is working but the problem doesn’t arise on the spot without leaving pre error or warning signs. We also can’t say that the driver hasn’t seen any warning signs before the issue arises, or there were no signs and the driver didn’t even notice the signs before the breakdown. It is the case that the driver has definitely neglected the signs. There might be a number of reasons for ignoring the signs. It is expected that the driver has ignored the problem signs because of their negligence or limited knowledge about the problems. Secondly, it is because of intentional negligence that the car is working and it is good to go.

Where to start?

Most of the time, drivers do not need to know about the car or even what happened underneath the hood of the vehicle, but when it breaks down, then the need arises to know everything about your vehicle. It is the time when you need to know a bit more about your vehicle, and it is also necessary to know a bit more about the problem before visiting your mechanic.

If you feel anything clunking from the underside of your vehicle when you drive on a bumpy road, you can’t say what is going on, until you visit the garage and try to diagnose the problem. Now it depends on your mechanic that how he diagnose the issue and what repair bills you have to pay. There are really few car drivers in the UK who are experts in diagnosing the car problems and often time they don’t need to see the owner’s manuals at all.

Diagnosing the problem

There are hundreds of drivers out there in the market who only visit a mechanic to diagnose the issues with their vehicles and mechanics make massive bills for diagnostics and then repairs. But at the same time, if the driver himself knows the issues or able to diagnose the issues, he can make good decisions. After all this information, it is also easy to book an appointment for a diagnostic of the issue if you are unable to find any issue on your own. If you had some basic information about the problems and the symptoms arise when the problem occurs. The better you will explain the situation to your mechanic, it will be easy to diagnose the issue.

When do you decide to book for a service, select the service according to the situation you faced e.g. what you felt? Smell, or hear a noise, or seen something leaking. Once you identified the issue, you can easily select the best suitable service for your problem. For example, if there is an odd feeling like a vibration or your vehicle is pulling to one side, you can select the best suitable service.

Diagnose Issues with Your Car by smelling

Burning rubber or wood 

There might be two issues,

Overheating brakes or smoking tires will smell like rubber smell

The faulty clutch will smell like the wood smell

Exhaust Smell 

It is Carbon Monoxide (CO) leaking into the car. Not necessarily it is colorless or even odorless but dangerous.

Gas (Petrol) smell

It is fuel system components leaking or failing evaporative emissions system elements or precision parts.

Burning oil smell or exhaust like the smell   

Engine oil leaking and burning on any hot component, possibly causes a gasket or seal failure.

Mildew or mold smell

It is a cabin air filter smelling, and it needs a replacement. Build-up on the evaporator, sending water inside the car

Sulfur-like smell

Catalytic converter malfunction, or an overcharged battery pack, fuel system problem

Sweet smell 

Leaking your coolant from the coolant vessel

Here are some guides you can get help from them by using these guides you will decide that what kind of problems your system is facing and what service you have to select if you are looking to book a service.

Diagnose Issues with Your Car by Using Your Sense of Touch

Vents look blocked, no air at all

Blown or bad fuse/fuse circuit

Blower motor malfunction or damaged

Blower resistor damaged or malfunctioning

Air intake blocked or clogged and it is also possible that air hose is broken

Brake pedal jammed or heavy to push

Brake booster malfunction,

Brake Vacuum hose leakage

Bad Brake booster valve or unfitting brake module, it might be a clogged proportioning valve, not allowing you to push the pedal.

Brake pedal dropped to a lower position, or it needs to be pumped to apply.  

Air blocked hydraulic system,

Brake lines are leaking

Master cylinder facing any leakage

Rear brakes require adjustments

Brake rotors wrapped

Brake pedal vibration    

Usually, Warped brake rotors cause this but

Broken wheel bearings or loose lug nuts and out of alignment wheels can also cause vibration on the brake pedal

Pliable and unbalanced ride  

Possible causes of the bouncy and imbalanced ride are damaged struts, damaged strut assembly, or shock absorbers, Dried or poorly lubricated suspension system, Tyre inflation, and condition also matters

Experiencing excessive body roll

The worn or relatively loose suspension system

Bad shock observers or even worn tires

Stabilizer bar or stabilizer bar link malfunction and improper modifications to the body or any other parts of the vehicle

Feeling hard to shift gears        

Gearbox fluid issues, e.g. lower level, totally worn or leakage of dirty or even good fluid

Gearbox solenoids malfunction

Gearbox malfunction

Shifter cable problem or even it can be a clutch issue e.g. worn clutch

Engine uncertain and kicking

Misfiring on any of the cylinders

Blocked fuel filters or fuel pump malfunction

Oxygen sensor malfunction

Clogged EGR valve or bad spark plugs or wires

Wrong grade of fuel also cause these issues

Engine jerks forward at high speeds

Possibly the engine vacuum line is facing leakage and Failing mass airflow sensor.

Fuel pump malfunctioning and misfiring at engine cylinders also cause jerking off. Spark plugs and short circuits also do the same

Car pulling to one side     Struts or shocks are stuck, bad suspension component can cause the malfunction. It is also expected that the twisted chassis can cause the bad vehicle line. Wrong size tires can also cause the same issue

Imbalanced ride while braking

Wrong and uneven tire pressure

Brake system malfunction, uneven braking on all wheels

Worn suspension components

Pulling aside while driving, hard to stay straight

Possible reasons are uneven tire pressure on all four wheels. A flat tire or your vehicle needs a wheel alignment

Brake system malfunctions and bad bearings can also cause these issues. But apart from wheels, the suspension system is the next bad thing, worn suspension components, steering linkage, and torque steerage are also the major causes of pulling aside while driving.

Shaking or vibrating, wobbling      Problems is again with tires, but this time your engine could be the culprit. When engine misfires or the engine mount goes bad, vehicle faces vibration, shaking and wobbling. Suspension issues normally cause wobbling rather than shaking or vibrating.

Steering wheel shakes when braking

Brake rotor gone, needs repair or replace

Jolts on turning

Three components need to be inspected, steering system, wheel bearings, and differential. The lower fluid level in steering pump or pump failure, blocked or kinked steering power line can cause these issues. On the other hand, wheel bearings can cause jolting and shaking, while differential malfunction does the same.

Vibrates while going uphill

Failing U-joint or the CV axles, low level or dirty differential fluid, or it can be an engine misfiring

Clutch pedal not working

This is one of the serious issues and causes can be broken clutch cable, loose connector rod; clutch master cylinder failed, slave cylinder failed.

The engine is shaking or vibrating.

Damaged spark plugs or broken wires, engine hoses are loosed, damaged or even disconnected. Battery terminal connections are loose or dirty but apart from these problems, there might be clogged air filters, or loose timing belts can cause the issue of vibrating or misfiring.

Excessive bounce and sway

Most probable thing is that your wheel needs alignment and new tires if they are worn enough. Steering linkage also causes the same issue when they got loose. Damaged or weak shocks and struts. Damaged or weak struts or shocks along with damaged suspension parts can create the issues.

Seat shakes

The seat is not fully fixed on the seat bases; it has worn out suspension parts, brake discs, brake drums, and imbalanced wheels.

Loose steering wheel

Usually causes by four potential issues where worn tie rods, pitman or idle arms, ball joints and loose suspension components

Hard to turn the Steering wheel

Low steering fluid, power steering pump malfunction, steering belt failure, steering rack malfunction or even the low tire pressure can cause the same issues.

Now when you have detected the problem, and now you need to book a service at any qualified garage. Here is a guide to decide which service to opt for.

Listen carefully to Diagnose Issues with Your Car

Engine Backfires

Damp in the fuel system, disturbed air-to-fuel ratio, leaking vacuum hoses, faulty air intake valve, improper ignition or valve timing.

Banging Bad power bar link, worn control arm bushings, ball joint or any suspension component, loose brake calipers.

Clunking over the bumps Ball joint or suspension components failed, worn or loose steering component, exhaust system problems.

Clunking or cracking

There might be damaged CV joint, struts, loose hubcaps, drive belt or tensioner. These issues might also cause worn tires, low engine oil, and dead battery

Clicking on the turns

CV boot torn off, damaged or dry CV joints, spoiled driveshaft or differential

Damaged tires, worn wheel bearings, all these issues can cause clinking on the turns.

Creaking or squealing when turning car  Bad steering fluid, worn or lose steering belt, damaged shocks or struts, dry or spoiled suspension bushings, damaged ball joints and tie rod ends, or power steering parts

Grinding sound upon braking

It is just because of the brake pad wear above the limits, foreign debris lodged in the brake system and low-quality pads, and rusted brake rotors

Grinding upon gear shifting

Shifting gear without an engaging clutch, it might be a worn clutch, gear synchronizers or cracked gear tooth/teeth or even a contaminated fluid

Grinding in the auto gearbox

Contaminated or low level of fluid in gearbox or differential. Valve body failed or the fraction components

Grinding upon engine ignition

Bad starter drive gear or solenoid, clutch, flywheel or the pressure plates

Gurgling or bubbling

Improper coolant, blown head gasket, the air in the heater core or cooling system, low coolant levels. It might be an overheating engine issue.

High-pitched screaming like sound when applying brakes

Damaged brake pads and glazed or oxidized brake discs

Problematic brake master cylinder or calipers or damaged brake backing plate


Damaged hoses, leaking coolant, overheating the engine


Worn or erratically used tires along with worn off tires

Irregular clunking or knocking

Waning ball joints, damaged stabilizer ball link, loose tie rods, suspension components

Knocking over bumps

Damaged struts or strut mounts, ball joints, or suspension components

Rear brakes grinding

Finished brake pads, broken caliper bolts, and parking brake shoes stuck. Wheel bearing failure or the new pads are settling into the place.

Loud noise when shifting gear

Low fluid levels, damaged engine mount, failing U-joint or CV joint, Worn clutch, bearings, internal gearbox component

Loud noise upon pressing the clutch

Damaged bearings, clutch, failed flywheel

Low rumble

The heat shield or dust shield is broken or loose, tyres or the wheel bearing are worn. Need to inspect or replace

Metallic tapping, knocking

It is all your engine and it because of low engine oil, Improper timing, incorrect air-to-fuel ratio, wrong fuel octane level or even overheating engine. It might be an engine calibration issue, or loose or broken heat shield

Power windows noise

Power windows motor failed, regulator failed, dry or dirty windows

Repetitive screeching noise

Worn belt tensioner, serpentine belt, seized engine pulleys or even weak belt tensioner

Rotational noise increases with speed

Wheel bearing and tires worn or failed

Screeching upon igniting the engine

This is one of the most common issues, and causes are a drive or auxiliary belts, pulleys or tensioners, alignment, or belt size, engine accessory or component failing


Engine misfiring blocked fuel injector; the clogged catalytic converter can cause sputtering

Engine squealing or rattling

Stretched belt or damaged pulley belt, damaged exhaust system or heat shield

Squealing or whining timing belt

It might because of water pump pulley, twisting or V-belt slipping, Pulley misalignment

Loud exhaust notes

Broken or damaged exhaust muffler or pipe or exhaust manifold or catalytic converter

Rattling or buzzing in engine

This might be a serious issue because of the worn engine bearings and water pump, engine accessory, and tensioner belts.

Apart from all the said errors and faults discussed above, if you think the smell is funny and something is leaking and simply noticeable in the engine compartment or on the gearbox and the warning light is also ON. This is a situation where you do not have any idea about the problem. Then you must contact your garage and ask for the problem code diagnostic. Simply go for the diagnostics to find out more about the warning light error codes and try on your own vehicle to see why a warning light is ON in the instrument dash of your vehicle.

The reasonable error codes decoding tools are also available in the market these days that can be connected to the onboard diagnostic port – usually can be found under the steering wheel column – to find out the reason that why the warning light has turned on. There are some code readers that automatically turn the warning light off without repairing the engine problem. In many such cases when drivers try to turn the engine light off without fixing, they stuck in big issues by the time because these issues can cause massive problems.

In case if any warning light is ON and not flashing, then the clearest deed is to visit the mechanic or service center and ask for the full diagnostic. It is also a big problem that the majority of drivers ignore the warning light issue and do nothing positive in this regard just fearing the massive repair costs. Some drivers who have old cars and have plans to scrap them. They usually plan to crush every mile out of the vehicle before scrapping the car.