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Updated by Rose Garalde on Nov 12, 2020
Headline for Why Does My Car Not Start Though The Lights Come On?
Rose Garalde Rose Garalde
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Why Does My Car Not Start Though The Lights Come On?

Many worst-case scenarios come to mind when you turn the key in the ignition of your car but it does not start though the lights come on. From the lights turning on, you know the fact that the electrical components of your car are partially working, but there are still many things that are wrong with your car. Many systems within your car work independently from the lighting systems such as the transmission, engine, etc.




One of the main culprits that stop your engine from turning over is a dead or dying battery. Some of the electrical parts require a very low charge, or amperage, usually not more than 20-30 amps, That’s why they can work just fine on a dying or almost dead battery.

Contrary to this, engine starters, which make the engine turn over, require around 300 amps at once. This demands much more energy than a couple of lights and a radio.

While using a hydrometer to test the charge, if the battery tests low or if it’s too weak to pass the load test, it all indicates to the fact that your battery needs to be recharged to run the engine properly. If you jump the battery from another battery and the engine starts working, it means there is not a problem anymore because the issue is resolved.

If jumping your battery does not work, then it could be a malfunctioning blown fuse, a broken ignition switch, or a problematic starter.

Lucky for you, you can easily determine whether your vehicle has blown the fuse. Finding a blown fuse is one of the primary steps to figure out the problem in your vehicle’s system that halts the engine from starting. A blown fuse is a delicate piece of machinery and will likely blow after a small period.

Certain indications point to a blown fuse which includes accessories losing power, the circuits start to overload, or the fuse will appear broken or disconnected. This stops the engine from starting but the light of your vehicle will come on.

If the battery is not working or if it is dead, you need to replace or repair the battery. Depending on your budget, cause of the problem, and the condition of your battery, you need to decide which one os the best way to move forward- replacement or repair. For many car-owners, it’s not a good deal to buy a car with a dead battery.


Fuses, Fusible Links, & Ignition Switch

If the battery of your vehicle is not too hammered down and still have some power in it, it’s time to check for a blown fuse or a fusible link. Consult with your car’s manual to find the exact location of the fuse box and then look for damaged metal wire or fuse. A blown fuse can prevent power from reaching the starter delay if the metal wire in the plastic is damaged or completely disconnected.

If the fuse and the fusible links are fine and have passed the test, next comes the real problem- the ignition switch of your car. The popular belief that an ignition switch is that piece of mechanical hardware where your car keys go in and turn. In reality, it’s the electrical switch inside that the car key touches and activates when the mechanical component is inserted into the ignition inlet. In many cases, an ignition switch only provides power to the electrical components like the headlights, radio, etc., but not the engine starter.




There are solutions if you think the problem with your vehicle is related to its fuel. If the temperature is low and cold enough, there are fair chances that the fuel line may have frozen which prevents the fuel from circulating. Professional assistance is needed to thaw the fuel line.

Two more common causes that stop your car from starting.


Empty Gas Tank

Sometimes, a miscalibrated fuel gauge can lead you to run out of fuel in the unlikeliest times. So, if the fuel tank does not show that it’s empty, this could still be the problem. Procuring fuel from a pump can solve this issue.


Clogged Fuel Filter

To check if a clogged fuel filter is causing the trouble and preventing the engine from starting, read the car owner’s manual to know how often or how long ago the fuel filter should have been replaced with a new one. If it happens often that your car runs out of fuel, the fuel filter could be much worse.

Read more about Car Troubleshooting