Auto Repair Palo Alto - The Car Doctor

5 Signs of a Failing Ignition

It may seem very simple to get your car started, but it's actually a very complex series of events that occurs to get the pistons pumping and it all starts with the ignition. To get the electrical system up and running the key is turned that creates a pathway for electricity to run, but if the ignition switch fails there will be no way to start your vehicle. There are a few signs that you can look out for that may indicate ignition failure is on the horizon. Unfortunately many of the symptoms of this problem can indicate several other types of trouble. Regardless, if you experience any of these issues head to the auto repair shop right away for a proper diagnosis so you don't end up stranded.

Car fails to start

Perhaps the most generic symptom of ignition trouble is a vehicle that won't start. You may get your vehicle to start cranking its engine, but it will usually be pretty slow if the ignition is having trouble. This is often because of corrosion on the electrical circuit directly related to the ignition system that is preventing the proper amount of electricity to flow.

Key will not turn

On the other end of the spectrum of obviousness is a key that will not turn in the ignition. First of all be sure that the ignition lock is not engaged by turning the steering wheel back-and-forth. If the key will still not turn there may be excessive wear inside the ignition that is preventing the key from properly aligning with the keyhole. If the key cannot be turned your car will not start.


Another symptom that can be caused by various issues is stalling. However if it is related to the ignition it will most often happen when your vehicle is traveling down the road, not while sitting idle.

Flickering dashboard lights

One of the more interesting signs of ignition trouble are flickering dashboard lights. While it is not very common that this happens it is a relevant sign of a problem. It will usually occur while the vehicle is in motion if related to the ignition.

No noise from starter motor

If you turn the key and nothing happens there's a chance that the ignition switch is not able to create the necessary electrical pathway to get power from the battery to the starter motor. While this could also be caused simply by a dead battery you can test this by seeing if other accessories in the vehicle work, such as the radio or power windows, when the key is in the on position. If the battery is not dead there's a good chance that it is caused by an ignition issue.

Anytime you have problems getting your vehicle started you�ll want to address them ASAP as it can be a real pain to end up with a vehicle that refuses to start. If you believe you need ignition repair in Palo Alto come see the team at The Car Doctor. We offer bumper to bumper auto repair and maintenance for all makes and models. Give us a call at (650) 492-6853 to make an appointment for professional auto repair in Palo Alto today!

The Car Doctor Blog

Written and Published By MORBiZ

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