Cranks Excessively Before Starting

Step by step instructions on how to repair an automotive engine that cranks excessively before starting. This article pertains to all cars.

Difficulty Scale: 4 of 10

Tools and Supplies Needed

  • Flashlight
  • Fuel pressure gauge
  • Wrench set
  • Screwdriver set
  • Protective eyewear and gloves

Before repairs begin, park the car on level ground ,in park with the emergency brake set.

Automotive Engine


Step 1 - For an automotive engine to start and run correctly the engine tune up must be kept up to date.

New Spark Plug

Step 2 - For an engine to start up when cranked over the fuel system must be quickly pressurized. Not only does the fuel pump need sufficient pressure at start up, it needs to be able to hold pressure for a short amount of time while the engine is off.  Perform a fuel pressure and regulator test using a fuel pressure gauge. Its also a good idea to remove the fuel filter to check for blockage.

Fuel Pressure Test Gauge

Step 3 - An engine depends on vacuum to allow the engine to start up and run properly, if there are leaks in the vacuum lines the engine will have an extended crank time before starting. Inspect the engine's vacuum lines and repair broken or dilapidated lines.

Vacuum Line

Step 4 - At the air intake port of the engine known as the throttle control motor or throttle bore, mass volumes of air leave deposits called choking. These impurities pass through engine despite the air filter and build up over time. Servicing this unit as part of a regular tune up is necessary for proper operation.

Throttle Actuator Cut-Away


Written by
Co-Founder and CEO of
35 years in the automotive repair field, ASE Master Technician, Advanced Electrical and Mechanical Theory.


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Article first published (Updated 2015-01-07)