5 Reasons Why Your Car’s Taking Longer to Start (Solved)

Why is my car taking longer to start? This is the question every car owner has struggled to find an answer to. According to a survey, 45% of vehicles that are more than 5 years old take longer than usual to start in the months of November, December, and January.

In this article, we will determine the leading causes behind cars taking longer to start. We will also cover that how you can solve these issues and what will it cost.

ProblemSolutionFixing Cost
Drained BatteryRecharging$5
Dead BatteryReplacement$50-100
Weak Fuel PumpReplacement$300-900
Old Fuel FilterReplacement$100-150
Bad AlternatorReplacement$600-900
Failed Spark PlugsReplacement$80-160
Dirty Oil FilterReplacement$30-40
Thick Engine OilMix Additives$5-10
Ignition Coil ProblemReplacement$80-100
Sensor IssuesReplacement$150-200

Why is Your Car Taking Longer to Start?

Your car can take longer to start due to many issues. But common of all are related to the battery, ignition system, and electrical wiring. Cold weather plays a crucial role in causing these problems.

However, if we adopt a comprehensive approach, then all the problems leading to your car taking longer to start can be classified into 5 major categories. Following are the 5 major problems and their sub-problems that cause hiccups for your car while starting.

  1. Battery Issues
    1. Drained Battery
    2. Dead or Drying Battery
  2. Fuel Delivery Problems
    1. Frozen Fuel Injectors
    2. Weak Fuel Pump
    3. Old Fuel Filter
    4. Out of Fuel
  3. Alternator & Spark Plug Faults
    1. Bad Alternator
    2. Spark Plugs
  4. Engine Oil Problems
    1. Dirty Oil Filter
    2. Thick Engine Oil
  5. Electrical System Malfunction
    1. Charging System Problems
    2. Starting Circuit Issues
    3. Sensor Issues

Also read: Should You Warm up Your Car in Summer? Is it Bad?

1. Battery Issues

Drained Battery

The most common of all problems for delay in starting of your car are related to the battery. It is very often that your battery gets drained and the next thing you know is that car is not starting. It usually results if you forget to turn off your headlamps at night, or sometimes you leave the stereo on.

How To Fix: Good thing is that this type of problem isn’t permanent. You can recharge your battery. It’ll cost you around $5. You can also do it yourself, but for that AC to DC converter and terminals are required.

Dead or Drying Battery

Charging and discharging of the battery is a cyclic process. Cells of batteries tend to become weak after a certain period. So, a battery that is near the end of its life can cause trouble for you while starting.

How To Fix: The temporary solution to this problem is recharging the battery, but the permanent solution is to replace it. You can very well replace your own battery. Just purchase a new one, which will cost you between $50-100, depending on the make and model of your car. Make sure to check the electrolyte levels before installing a new battery.

2. Fuel Delivery Problems

Out of Fuel

Yeah, that too happens sometimes. You are trying to power up your car, again and again, the engine is revving, but the car is not starting. Especially with older cars that have no fuel gauge or analog one. Since in modern cars you hear warning beeps and see lights on the dashboard when fuel is near to end.

How To Fix: Well, if your car is not starting, first thing is to make sure that you are not out of gas. If you are out of fuel, then refill it immediately.

Frozen Fuel Injectors

In winters, the cold temperature usually freezes the fuel injectors. Making it impossible for injectors to spray fuel into the combustion chamber. This can also cause a delay in the ignition and starting process.

How To Fix: There isn’t really any solution to this, just try to park your car indoors to avoid freezing of fuel injectors. Also, give some time to your engine to warm up in winter.

Trending Video: How to Easily Bring Back to Life any Old Car Battery and Save Tons of Money (click to watch)

Weak Fuel Pump

A fuel pump is responsible for the delivery of fuel from the tank to the mixing chamber. If this pump is not functioning properly, then it is a probable cause for delay in starting your car. You will hear whining noises from your fuel tank if the fuel pump is bad.

How To Fix: You must look for servicing of your fuel pump before deciding to replace it. As replacement of a fuel pump can cost you between $300-900. Its replacement is a tough task, which can only be carried out by a highly skilled mechanic.

Old Fuel Filter

The old and dirty fuel filter can cause misfiring in your engine. Contaminants in the fuel get stuck in the oil filter, it is good for the engine and fuel pump in the longer run. But the dirty filter will cause a delay in starting your car.

How To Fix: Old fuel filters need to be cleaned regularly. After consultation with your mechanic, replace the fuel filter if the car is taking too long to start. The cost of replacing a fuel filter is somewhere between $100 and 150.

Also read: Is it Safe to Drive at 3 am? How to Drive at Night?

3. Alternator & Spark Plug Faults

Bad Alternator

The alternator is responsible for charging the battery while the car is running. It is also responsible to power up electrical devices in your car if the engine is running idle. At times, a worn-out alternator that has completed its life span can cause trouble for you while starting.

How To Fix: You would know that alternator is bad when lights are overly dim or bright. Once you establish that your alternator is bad, and it is linked to your car taking longer to start, then replace it. It is an expensive and technical replacement that can cost you over $600.

Also read: Alternator Replacement Cost. Can You Replace it by Yourself?

Spark Plugs

In SI internal combustion engines, spark plugs are very critical parts. They provide a spark to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. If they are worn out or spacing at their end is disturbed, then their function is compromised.

How To Fix: It is not that hard to replace a spark plug. They are present in the head of your engine block, just remove caps and install new spark plugs in place of old ones. The cost of one set of spark plugs is between $80-160.

4. Engine Oil Problems

Dirty Oil Filter

Though, fuel filters are regularly changed in every service. Still, cars in which service is recommended after 8,000-10,000 miles can have this problem of the dirty oil filter. Dust and debris stuck in it can cause choking of your car.

How To Fix: Oil filter is usually a complimentary replacement while oil change. It is included in the total service cost of around $100. But if you want to replace it otherwise, it will cost you about $40.

Thick Engine Oil

Cold weather can thicken your engine oil. And if oil is not circulated through the engine block, then all parts stay jammed. You will feel slow or very heavy revving while you are trying to start the car. This is caused due to thick engine oil. It is one of the leading causes behind the delay in starting of cars.

How To Fix: Again, you cannot control the weather. So, there isn’t a corrective action you can take in this condition. But you can prevent such a situation by using certain additives that are available on the market. Moreover, always use manufacturer-recommended engine oil, they tend to perform well.

Also read: Can You Replace Your Steering Wheel? Is it Safe?

5. Electrical System Malfunction

Charging System Problems

The charging system of the car is made up of three components, the alternator, battery, wiring, and electronic control unit (ECU). If these components are not working coherently, then the charging process of the car is disrupted. This disruption can lead to your car taking longer to start.

How To Fix: We have explained the solution to battery and alternator problems in detail. As they are mechanical and hardware parts. This section has more to deal with ECU problems that won’t let the car start. You need to visit an ECU expert, who will scan the electronic unit of your car with an external scanner and resolve any underlying problems.

Ignition Coil Issues

The ignition coil is a transformer that amplifies the 12 volts produced by your battery into approximately 30,000 volts required by spark plugs to start the ignition process. At times this ignition coil is not working properly, so it causes a delay in starting your car. When the ignition coil goes bad, you will feel sparking sounds from the engine.

How To Fix: Faulty ignition coils needs to be replaced. It can not only cause a delay in starting your car, but also adversely affect its performance and fuel economy. The average cost of replacement for an ignition coil is $80.

Sensor Issues

Sensor problems in modern cars can be the root cause of nearly any issue. The starting of a car is no different. The exhaust sensors, MAP sensors, crank-camshaft sensors work in harmony to bring about the proper functioning of a car. If any of these sensors malfunction, then your car can take longer than usual to start.

How To Fix: Malfunctioning sensors usually need replacement. Different sensors have different replacement costs, like MAP sensor costs around $150. The replacement cost of exhaust sensors is also near to $200.


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