My Car Won't Jump But All the Lights Work

Written by si kingston
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My Car Won't Jump But All the Lights Work
If the lights in the car are on, the battery is not the reason why a vehicle is not starting. (Alexa Miller/Photodisc/Getty Images)

If the lights in your car are working, but the car still won't turn over or start, there could be a variety of reasons why. Since lights in the car are powered by the battery, we can eliminate the battery as the source of the problem. It is likely to be a problem with spark or fuel. Spark encompasses ignition-related parts, and fuel refers to gas and parts that pressurise and distribute gas.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Check to see if the car has oil in it. Open the bonnet and check your oil dipstick. Lack of oil could cause the vehicle to seize.

  2. 2

    Look on the dashboard for a security or key-shaped light. This light represents the immobiliser, which allows the car to run only if the correct key is inserted. If this light is present, there could be a problem with the immobiliser or the key. Use a spare key or get another key from the dealer.

  3. 3

    Put the gear shifter in neutral and try to start the car. If the vehicle turns over, the safety neutral shift could be bad. The neutral safety shift allows the vehicle to start when in neutral or park. If the vehicle turns over in neutral but not in park, the switch could be bad.

  4. 4

    Turn the car key in the ignition to see if it cranks. If it does not crank, go to step six. If it cranks but does not start, then the problem is either spark or fuel. This means it is not getting gas, which could be the result of a faulty fuel pump or clogged fuel filter, or spark, which could result from problems in the ignition system, such as bad spark plugs, bad wires or a bad distributor cap, rotor or ignition module. If it is an electronic ignition and there is no distributor cap, the coil pack could be bad.

  5. 5

    Turn the car key again and listen for the fuel pump to come on. You should hear the fuel pump build up pressure. If not, you might need a new fuel pump.

  6. 6

    Put the car firmly in park. Turn the key in the ignition and if there is no crank, the electronic key pad in the ignition could be bad.

  7. 7

    Turn the key and listen for a loud click. If you hear a click, the starter solenoid, starter cable or starter could be bad.

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