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Ever had that sinking feeling?

We all dread getting in our car, switching on the ignition and nothing happening! There are few experiences that are so deflating, especially when you are hoping to be somewhere else.

What are your options? At Saffron Autos we want to keep you driving in a car you can trust. We have written this short article to help you be prepared should you ever find yourself in this position.

Check a Few Things

Even though your car is a complex feat of engineering there are many things that you can check prior to calling Saffron Autos. You can try to determine whether you are suffering from one of the most common causes like:

  • The battery is flat or lacking charge. Meaning that either nothing happens or the engine will only turn over slowly and not spark into action.
  • You are in an Automatic car and it has not been left in either Park or Neutral.
  • The key you have is an unprogrammed key or the wrong one for the vehicle.
  • The car has no fuel or has been filled with the wrong type.
  • A Malfunction Indicator Lamp is illuminated indicating an electronic fault.

To check if the battery is the cause:

  • Try to crank (turn over) the engine, if it does so properly then you can discount the battery as the problem. However, if the vehicle’s engine won’t crank the battery is highly likely to be the cause.
  • If this is the case use the washers to wet the windscreen and operate the wipers. If these hardly move or only very slowly the battery needs to be recharged.
  • One way of doing this is by “Jump Starting” the vehicle. As well as jump leads you will need another battery, either on another vehicle or a separate and independent slave battery.

How To “Jump Start” Your Car

Generally, you simply connect the two batteries with the leads. After around 10 minutes the charge between the batteries should have equalised, so you can try firing up your vehicle again.

It is important you follow the manufacturer’s instructions because this confirms where the jump leads should be connected. It also underlines any specific procedures that may be required.

In some cases, the connection is not directly to the battery and if you fail to follow the correct procedure there is a danger of a fault.

Of course, if you think you have a flat battery then you’re welcome to give us a call and we’ll take care of this for you.

An Immobilised Vehicle

Cars today are fitted with anti-theft systems that have ignition keys fitted with coded chips known as transponders.

The data contained in these transponders is analysed to check whether a particular key is correct for a specific vehicle.

If the key is the right one, the car should turn over. If it isn’t then you are likely to see a warning similar to this one.

When you are suspicious that the reason the car won’t start is an immobiliser issue, check you have the right key. If not, find the key you usually use and if that works, get the faulty key checked over.

When you are sure you are using the correct key and are still having problems, try placing the key closer to the reader. The best way of doing this should be in the owner’s manual.

Still having problems? If neither of these quick tips are successful, then give us a call as our technicians are skilled in finding solutions to these kinds of problem.

Dash Lights?

When there are no dash lights, or the wrong ones are illuminating, the indication is that there is a problem with the vehicle’s fuses.

These keep a car’s electrical circuits safe and are built to “blow” when there’s a fault.

The owner’s manual will help you understand a car’s fuses. For a start, there may be more than one fuse box. The manual will help you find what you are looking for. It will also outline how to relate each fuse to the system it protects.

By checking each one individually you can establish which is the fuse causing the problem and replace it. However, if the fuse that has been replaced blows more than once when the ignition is activated it’s likely the fault will need a professional diagnosis.

Of course, if all the fuses are fine, check if a Malfunction Indicator Light is on. It will highlight that there may be another electrical system problem.

These checks often need trained technicians using specialist equipment. Rest assured at Saffron Autos we have all that is needed to have you back on the road in a trustworthy car as soon as possible.

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