Here are Some Tricks to Diagnose a Car That Cranks Too Long Before it Starts

Here are Some Tricks to Diagnose a Car That Cranks Too Long Before it Starts

How’s it going do it yourselfer, today I am
going to give you a couple of tips on what you can do to narrow down your problem if
you have a car that needs to crank a couple of times before it starts or it simply cranks
forever before it actually starts and gets going. Alright so the first thing I recommend
you do is to next time you get in your car and try to start the engine to put in the
key in the ignition and just cycle it on and off a couple of times before you actually
crank your engine. And here is what I mean by cycling your key on and off a couple of
times, basically as you can see on here you have lock accessories ON and than Start so
you put in your key and turn it to the ON position which should be the second click,
than you wait about 10 seconds and than you turn your key to the left and than take it
out, wait another 10 seconds and than you just simply repeat the step two or three more
times. And than after the third time you cycle your key, you crank the engine and if your
engine starts right up that indicates you have a potential problem with your fuel pressure.
And that’s because when we were cycling our key on and off we were basically priming our
fuel pump, making sure there’s adequate pressure from our fuel pump all the way to our engine.
Now if everything is working properly you shouldn’t have to do this because in your
fuel pump you usually have a check valve that when ever you turn off your car makes sure
the pressure that’s inside your fuel line doesn’t drop bellow a certain point. Now before
you go and change your fuel pump there’s something else that could cause the same issue, and
that’s your fuel filter, see the fuel from your fuel pump travels through a fuel line
goes through your fuel filter and from there to your intake manifold and than to your injectors
and your engine. Now if you have a clogged or partially clogged fuel filter that’s going
to keep away the necessary psi of pressure you need in your fuel line to your injectors
that you would need to get your engine going. Now if you really want to narrow down your
problem between the fuel filter and the fuel pump, I would recommend you use one of these.
And this is a fuel pressure gauge that’s going to tell you exactly how many psi of pressure
you have in your fuel line. What you’ll need to do is to insert your pressure gauge before
and after your fuel filter and than compare the readings, and if the readings after the
fuel filter is a lot lower than that could potentially indicate a clogged or partially
clogged fuel filter. Now if you find that cycling the key ON and OFF a couple of times
before you try to start your car makes no difference and the car is still cranking a
bunch of times before it actually starts, well in that case the most likely culprit
is going to be your ignition system. So basically you could have old or fouled up spark plugs
which are not producing a strong enough spark for your engine to start, or you might have
old or worn out spark plug wires that are not allowing enough voltage to reach your
spark plugs producing a strong enough spark. Also if you have a distributor ignition system,
there is a chance that your distributor and cap and rotor are worn out, and therefore
again effecting the strength of the spark that comes out of your spark plugs. So the
next step would be to remove your spark plugs and take a close look at them, and see whether
they are worn our or not. And if you are unsure on how to do that I put a link to a video
I made recently on how you can exactly do that on this side of the screen, also put
a link to another video down here on how you can go about testing your spark plug wires
as well. But it’s a good idea if there’s any indication that your spark plugs are worn
to replace both your spark plugs and your spark plug wires at the same time. Now besides
problems with your ignition and fuel systems here are some other things that could cause
a hard starting condition. A dirty or clogged air filter is difinately going to keep enough
air from entering your engine, therefore causing your to have trouble when starting your car.
So you should go ahead and remove your air filter and than inspect it and if it’s too
dirty than you should difinately go ahead and replace it. Now besides a dirty air filter,
a dirty throttle body or idle air control valve could also cause you to have a hard
time starting your car. And if you feel like that could be your problem than fear non,
you can check out this video I’ll put a link to it right here, in that video I go over
how you can exactly clean a throttle body and Idle air control valve. Now beside your
throttle body being dirty, a bad throttle position sensor could also have a hard time
starting your car. Also another sensor that could cause the same problem is a MAF sensor,
which if your car is equipped with either goes right on your air filter box or on this
air tube that goes from your air filter box to your intake manifold. Now a quick tip I
can give you is to before you start your car if you are having a hard time starting your
car, to go ahead and disconnect the connector that goes to either your maf sensor or your
throttle position sensor if you suspect a problem with either of them, and than if your
car starts right up than you more than likely have a problem with that sensor. See both
your throttle position sensor and your MAF sensor are responsible for telling your computer
how much air is entering your engine, therefore letting it calculate the Air Fuel mixture
properly, and than what happens when you remove the connector from these sensors is that your
computer goes to some pre set parameters regarding the signal that is supposed to receive from
these sensors and than if your car starts easier that’s going to indicate a problem
with one of these sensors. Now obviously removing the connector from these sensors is not a
bullet proof testing procedure for these sensors but there is a way that you can just by using
a simple multimeter that you can buy for a few bucks at local auto parts store test these
sensors, and yep you guessed right I have a video on how you can do that and I’ll put
a link to this side of the screen again for you to check out as well there will also be
links down in the description box down bellow. Alright so I know that was a bunch of sensors
and different components that could effect a hard starting condition but if I had to
go from the most likely culprit to the least likely I would say start off with your spark
plugs your spark plug wires distributor cap and rotor and from there a dirty air filter
to a dirty throttle body or an idle air control valve. Alright that should cover it for this
video, hope you liked the video if you did please give it a thumbs up subscribe if you
want to see more like it and I’ll see you next time, thanks for watching.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Uuuuuuhhhhh, it couldn’t have been one solution nice, easy and simple. Butt nooooooo, you have to go on and test all this stuff.

  2. If I have to prime my fuel I should look at my fuel filter first? My brother in law is a mechanic and he saying it's my gas tank losing fuel pressure and I need to replace. He said everything else seems fine

  3. A better idea just replace the fuel filter if it's old or you yourself don't know when it was done last. It can't hurt except on 2nd Gen Rams. Their fuel filter is in the tank. They suck down a bowl of monkey nuts

  4. Good video I will mencione before jumping to the spark plugs fuel one way valve or pressure regulator wen yo check the fuel pressure shut pump of and the pressure need to stay no less then 5% of your recommended when the fuel pump is on if is a big drap you one way valve is gone or you pressure regulator if your sparks is good timing is good but your spark plugs are dry after cranking and wont start or no detonation possible big vacuum intake leak

  5. I'm just beginning to troubleshoot my Civic that cranks several times before starting. I'll be trying your tip with cycling the key to pinpoint a possible failing fuel pump next. Thanks

  6. My Toyota wish does the same. Some times starts after 10 minutes.The problem started after I replaced the fuel filter .The old was clogged so I replaced it.buts that's when car worsened.worse still starter motor is not working when the engine is hot,untill it cools down.
    I like you explain things.very simple, informative and clear especially for us lay men

  7. Ive got a 2008 titan. It just died on me one day and wouldnt start. Replaced the fuel pump and no change. Towed it to nissan and they said it was the ecm so it was replaced. But now the truck takes forever to start and dies while driving sometimes.

  8. i replace the crankshaft position sensor hoping it would stop the surge in idle when setting,what else could cause this problem on this 1998 ford if you can.

  9. What if my car was running, went to the store and came out and car wont run? It will make sounds and runs/shudders really rough but it won't actually run/start so I can take it out of park?

  10. What if the engine starts after pressing the gas pedal? I believe my engine was flooded and it cleared it up… Is it due to cold weather or faulty air filter?

  11. Or,it could be your fuel pressure regulator which is cheaper than dropping the tank.if you are getting fuel and pressure is low it is the filter or regulator.

  12. Every morning, or when the truck has sat after a couple of hours to takes alot of cranks and some stepping of the gas pedal to start. But once running, it will start up no problem if turned off and back on within a half hour.

    Was thinking injectors leaking fuel back into the system but… wouldn't that trip a CEL indicating a rich running condition?

    89 Toyota Pickup 3.0

    Replaced fuel filter and fuel pump, spark plugs, wires and distributor within the last year. And replaced, 02 sensor, fuel injectors, coolant tempt sensor, tps and air flow meter within the last 2 years. No fix.

  13. What if my car does it only in cold days ? What do u think the issue ? And when it’s warm outside the car start right away.( I have new battery)

  14. Hello,
    elusive hot start issue
    99 gmc safari van 4.3 v6 Engine starts perfect when cold but Cranks forever when hot. Eventually it starts and stalls …immediately crank again and it starts and runs ruff for 2 seconds…Then seems to run fine. Fuel pressure tests fine at 60 pounds however it begins to bleed down right away possibly a bad fuel pressure regulator in the Plenum. Spark plugs wires rotor all change with AC Delco new parts makes no difference. Vacuum seems fine as the HVAC controls are vacuum operated and they are working fine. Changed out a bad coolant temperature sensor now the temp Reaches 210 normally. Normally no check engine lights however after the long hot start and stall …I sometimes get a PO302 misfire detected cylinder 2 …sometimes …I get no check engine light all the pens how hard the stall is. I’m leaning towards a leaky fuel pressure Regulator located inside the intake Plenum but I’m not sure why it starts perfectly fine when the engine Has been sitting for 8+ hours. I hate to take the whole intake Plenum apart as it’s a big job to change out a $20 part. All fluid levels are perfect. Ignition coil in regulator have been changed out , no difference.
    Any thoughts or suggestions?

  15. My 1994 Chrysler Town and Country start right when the engine is cold, it won't start when it 's hot! I changed fuel pump, fuel filter, fuel injector, spark plugs and wires, ECM, Crankshift sensor. and etc. Any suggestion what it might be wrong it?

  16. My 2012 Scion xB started doing this. Changed the plugs but that’s it. Now to troubleshoot. Thanks for some direction

  17. You are the best, thank you very much for taking time aside to help in us repair our cars.👍👍👍👍👍🚘🚘🚘🚘🚘🚘

  18. In this engine fuel pump does not start with just Ignition ON. You also have to connect terminals +B and FR in data connector.

  19. I changed my fuel pump and it started fine but after I changed the fuel filter my car backfires and stalls but is fine starting again once it is warmed up.

  20. I drove an Audi TTS, i replaced my LPFP and the fuel filter with regulator. Now i am still have same problem. Any suggestion?

  21. what if u do not have a electric fuel pump is mechanical fuel pump an old school carburetor no fuel injection.

  22. Thanks. I'll try cycling the key on and off. I just had my spark plugs changed a couple months ago so I know it can't be that.

  23. Thanks for the vid. My brother's 04' Impala is doing this. My 1st hunch is the fuel filter or pump. He runs in on E all the time. I asked him if he has ever done a tune up and he said no. I said it's not that hard and not that expensive. Probably better to junk it or part it out than start throwing money into something that's not going to last that much longer anyway.

  24. this does not help , I got tons of fuel pressure AFTER long heat soak , Cold the car starts Right up . what the hell HOLDS the ign SYSTEM OFF while cranking HOt ?

  25. A similar thing happens with my 7.3 power stroke diesel it takes longer to start when cold or hot any tips?

  26. Thanks a lot for your useful videos, I've a BMW e90 330i, at the morning it starts perfect but after driving for a while and turns off the engine for more than 15 minutes, it cranks a lot, can you help?

  27. I'm no expert mechanic but every time this has happened to one of my cars its always been a fuel pump/filter/regulator (almost all newer vehicles have it all in one unit in the tank) and cycling the key on and off is the way to find out that's it. In my limited experience usually the other things may cause delayed starting but also result in a poor running engine as well

  28. buy a gage for fuel pressure before and after fuel filter. Don't bother, in doubt change the damned fuel filter.

  29. I have nissan presea R11,it starts perfectly in the morning.After I leave it running for a while, it takes about 5 seconds to crank before starting. Once started it runs fine.But if I leave it off for say 8-9 hours, it starts fine again.
    One last thing, if I stop the car and start right up within 3-4 minutes, it starts right up without any issues.
    can you help me?

  30. Thank you
    My car is 2006 infiniti qx56 when its cold it start from first time but when its worm some times start fron 2nd or 3rd tine. the fuel filter connect with the fuel pump . should i chabge the fuel pump or what . need an answer .

  31. hey Mr  R and W. I like your videos. I've watched a bunch.  I recently replaced the fuel filter on my 1997 Toyota 4 runner 3vzfe ( 2.7 4 cyl ) motor.  it was hard to do. Its located under the intake manifold. Gotta take off drivers side wheel to get to bracket with 24 inch extension.  Finally got it done.  Now have warm hard start condition. Cold start ok.  I think the new ( OEM ) fuel filter either doesn't have a check valve or needs one or ??  cycling key twice does nothing to change this.  MAF and Throttle body clean.  IAC clean.  New platinum denso dual electrode plugs.  Clean Air filter .   motor runs fantastic with lots torque and runs even on all cylinders.  Just hard warm start condition after recent fuel filter change.  Thanks !

  32. You could have low compression from a spark plug cylinder!!! And that could affect the over all performance and make it vibrate for a few seconds!!!!!

  33. I actually think I have the same problem on my 2005 Kia Sedona van.  Lol…cranks but wont start!!!! Could also be weak fuel pump though!!!

  34. I heard people blame fuel filter a million times, but the problem is my car does not have a fuel filter. 2002 Chrysler Concorde. I can't find any fuel filter~~~ Any idea?

  35. Ever heard of sensors that get dirty and fault out!!! They give readings to your cars computer!!! Crankshaft, Camshaft, Ignition, temperature, Throttle, Oxygen……ect…Guess your a know it all though….

  36. I have a cadillac coupe deville 2001 and I have to press the gas while turning the key over to start it what could be the problem ?

  37. Hey man so I've got a 1997 jeep Wrangler sahara that does this and my battery is good and alternater is good,can you help me out by possibly narrowing it down

  38. Impala does same thing. Just a couple weeks ago cranked in 2 seconds. Now about 5. Random gm electric issues a few weeks ago got in started car and almost no interior lights. Probably just alternator: all my gm cars never a fuss with engine. Just cheap electrical and plastics. Thanks for the video!

  39. That is weard, Right after I changed my spark plugs Now it won't start on the first crank, it always start on the third crank, is that also related to the fuel pump issue or ignition issue?

  40. I had a problem starting because of a bad coolant temperature sensor, so make sure to scan the error codes and try this if you get any coolant system errors and the temp gauge does get hot enough as it should.

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