Car will not start

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  • 6 CYL
  • 156,000 MILES

Hi, last night when my boyfriend came to my job his car would not start we assumed it was the battery so we called his friend who is a mechanic (a not so good mechanic). He tried to jump it with no luck all the lights were on in the car radio etc, but was making this clicking noise three times and turned over after the guy tried to kick start it hitting something underneath saying it now was the starter. I came back to have it towed and now there is a huge puddle of oil there was no oil leaking before. Now he is saying it is something to do with the oil filter why it will not start?

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Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 AT 10:26 AM

1 Reply

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It sounds like you are assuming more than you know. That gets us in trouble all the time. First of all, you need to be more specific as to the symptoms and observations. You referred to something clicking three times. Could that have been a single very loud clunk each time you turned the ignition switch to "crank"? If so, there is a common cause and a somewhat inexpensive fix for that. The clue is if you turn the ignition switch to "crank" repeatedly, the engine will eventually crank and start. Hitting the starter will not help for this problem. (Hitting it can help for a different type of problem).

The same symptom can be caused by a seized engine, and that would likely be related to the oil on the ground. The clues are that you would see a trail of oil leading to where the car was parked, and when trying to start the engine, the locked-up starter would draw very high current, and that would cause any lights to become very dim. Observing what happens to the brightness of the head lights and/or interior lights, and/or dash lights would be a valuable observation.

If you do not hear that single, rather loud clunk from the starter, there are a number of other things besides the starter that can cause it to be inoperative. The neutral safety switch/transmission range sensor is a good suspect.

If the oil filter is leaking, a visual inspection will show if it was damaged by being hit. It is also possible it was never fully tightened when it was installed, and simply bumping it caused it to spin loose. That is not a reason to blame the person who bumped it. If it was punctured from being hit, since the engine never ran after that damage occurred, no damage would occur to the engine. All that is needed is to spin on a new filter.

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Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 AT 12:01 PM

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