When I start my truck, it always starts fairly easily. When I purchased it back in 2007, I was surprised to find that it came with a feature that allowed me to turn the key for a quick moment, and then it took over turning over the engine until it started.
You can get your engine to start faster by doing a tune-up and adding features such as remote start to aid you in getting your car started. A car engine will start faster under certain weather conditions and when the electrical system performs well.
Sometimes when I drive someone else’s car, I notice that the car won’t start the first time I turn the key. The crank hold function in my truck isn’t used, even in some more modern cars. But many cars now have push-button start systems, which sometimes function similarly to my truck.
Reasons Why my Car Doesn’t Start the First Time
When you’re starting your car, it may struggle to start right away. There may be several reasons that a vehicle has difficulty starting the first time. Here are a few of the common reasons your car may be experiencing trouble with starting.
Common Reasons A Car Won’t Start
1. The Temperature
If the temperature is too cold, the car may struggle to start right away. Consider if your battery is frozen.
2. The Battery
If your battery energy is low, the car may not start as well. A dead battery makes it impossible for the car to start. See the link for more information. (Link)
3. The Connection to the Spark Plugs
If the spark plug can’t spark well, the engine will struggle to start. The ignition coil may be faulty and not create enough voltage for the spark plugs. Look for aging (wires could have degraded) and consider checking the spark plugs to see if they are bad.
4. Not Enough Fuel
Your engine may not be getting enough fuel, either because the fuel line is clogged or, more commonly, your gas tank is about empty. You can replace the fuel filter and check for enough gas.
5. The starter
If your starter has a loose connection or it is starting to fail, the engine will not turn over very well. Tests can be done to check the connections and function. (Link)
6. The Belts
The belt that connects your starter to the engine and alternator can be damaged or worn. Replacing the belt or tightening it can help the car to start better. (Link)
7. Air Flow
Starting could be difficult if air is not getting to the engine or getting out of the engine. Look for loose hoses and check the air filter to see if it is still good.
8. Consider Any Other Conditions You May Have Noticed
Check under the hood if you have heard, smelled, or felt something different than normal. There can be several other reasons a car fails to start or has difficulty starting. Check this article for more information.
Once you have fixed one or more of the issues that cause problems with starting your car, you will find it may start much quicker. If it is having problems starting quickly, you’ll need to consider that there is still a condition that needs to be fixed first.
Doing a tune-up can help you recognize what may be causing the problem. If you look at this article, DYI Tune-Up Guide, it may guide you to a course of action to take. Sometimes you know your car better than a mechanic if you’re paying attention to its various sounds, smell, and vibrations.
If you go to a mechanic to get your car to start faster, be as clear as possible about the conditions while starting your car and how your car operates on a day-to-day basis. The better grasp you have of the issue and how to explain it, the more likely a mechanic will focus on that detail.
They will usually try to sell you services that you may or may not need. Be prepared for how you will respond and what you might expect needs to be serviced on your car, so you can make an educated choice about what to do. You can always get a second opinion.
Older Ignitions Vs. Modern Ignitions
When you consider how new ignitions work, your car should start the first time you try to start it. If not, then you’ve probably got some issues that need to be resolved so your car can start sooner rather than later.
Newer systems tend to be more reliable and need service less often. But any system can fail if one of the parts has a problem.
Sometimes you can use an OBD2 scanner to check for problems when your car has a hard time starting. If you see the check light on, it’s a good idea to have a mechanic check it or do it yourself with a scanner.
Expect to check the ignition coil on older model cars, as this may be the reason a car won’t start or has difficulty running smoothly.
The Differences in Ignition Systems
Traditional / Conventional Ignition
When you have an older car, you may have a conventional ignition.
These systems rely on a battery, an ignition coil, a distributor, and wires with plug caps to cover the spark plugs.
The time to check to make sure they are working accurately is about 10,000 miles. Replacing the distributor cap every 50,000 miles is about average.
When you have a newer car, you may have an electronic ignition.
These systems rely on a battery, an electronic ignition module, an armature, and wires with plug caps to cover the spark plugs.
The time to check to make sure they are working accurately is about 25,000 miles. Replacing ignition coils every 75,000 miles is about average.
You may have a distributor-less ignition if you have some of the newest cars available.
These systems rely on a battery, an ignition control module, ignition coils, a crankshaft position sensor, and a camshaft position sensor.
The time to check to make sure they are working accurately is about 100,000 miles. Replacing the various parts may be needed from time to time.
Older cars need to check the ignition coil and then the distributor cap to get your car starting quickly. The rotor and contact point can wear out and cause problems with the spark plug firing. Your car may not start quickly when contact points are worn.
All of these different ignition systems also rely on spark plugs. A bad spark plug can also slow down your engine from starting quickly.
Should I Install a Push Button Start?
If you are using your keys to start your car, you may need to turn the key and hold it for a few seconds until the engine starts. Some cars may have a crank hold function that cranks the engine for you after you turn the key for half a second. And today, more and more cars have push-button starters.
A push-button starter can be helpful for security reasons, but does it help you start your car faster? Like my truck, many push-button starters will crank the engine until it starts. This can help you get the car started a bit quicker and more efficiently.
Each manufacturer has slightly different push button systems, so you need to make sure you have a good understanding of how they work so you don’t have any safety issues, usually found when turning the car engine off. In general, a push-button system will be as quick as using a key, but it may be quicker in some instances.
Some of the things to consider when buying a push button kit to install on your car are:
Push Button Install Kit
- Safety Can Be Improved: When you don’t have a key, thieves may be more difficult to steal.
- Your Car May Automatically Lock: Some systems will automatically lock your car doors when you exit the vehicle.
- You are Less Likely to Lock Your Keys in Your Car: Since most push-button systems have sophisticated key fobs; you can’t lock the key fob inside the car.
- No Looking for Your Keys: You can have a quicker, hands-free key experience when driving and opening and closing doors.
- The Car Stays on if You Forget to Turn it Off: Many people forget to push the start button to turn off the car when they are just getting used to it. (If you forget to turn off the car and park, carbon monoxide can fill the garage.)
- If the Battery Dies on the Key Fob: You can’t drive your car and may not be able to get into your car.
- Installation can be Difficult: Depending on the system you buy, installing the system may require a lot of time and patience.
- Thieves May be Able to Bypass Some Systems: If your system only needs a code to start; you may want to get a smarter system with more encryption.
Push Button Kits Available to Purchase
Installing a push button system for your car may not cause the car to start any quicker. Dealerships that have push button start may also incorporate automatic cranking, which may make the start-up faster.
A push button kit can free up the time you need to get out the keys and use them to start and stop the car. This helps the process of starting your car become faster. Some systems use an RFID fob, so this will be slower, like having a key.
Consider looking at reviews before buying and check to see if they will meet your specific needs. If you get the right kind, it can make your life easier as you drive each day.
Starting Your Car Quicker
Regular maintenance and following your service manual will help your car to start up quickly most of the time. If the weather is a factor where you live, your car will need to be warmer to start quickly, or you will need to wait an extra second or so.
Here are some tips for the cold:
- Check that you have the right antifreeze in your radiator.
- Use the right engine oil; it might make a bit of a difference on start.
- Use a transmission heater.
- Use a trickle charger on the battery to keep it warm.
- Make sure your car is in good condition, and it will likely start most of the time.
Anything you can do to keep your car in a warm garage can help it start better. And if it is outside, it may just take an extra turn of the key to getting it going. If it refuses to start after three attempts, consider that one of the issues discussed previously in the article may be the problem.
Getting your car to start faster will occur with regular attention to your car’s maintenance. You can consider that there might be a particular issue that is preventing you from starting well. Be sure to be aware of how your car is operating from day to day in order to catch any issue that may be going on with your vehicle.
Getting a push-button starter may be an option for some. This provides some features that key start ignitions don’t have, making them a bit faster to start in general. To get your car started fast, be prepared for the weather and any service needed, and you’ll likely have a car that starts up in no time.