Why Does My Car Overheated Won’t Start But Turns Over? [SOLVED]

Anyone who has owned or drove a vehicle can understand how frustrating it can be to deal with when your car overheated won’t start but turns over, no matter how many times you try to turn and twist around the key. Typically, it is pretty hard to logically figure out the exact reason behind this phenomenon when you’re pulling out your hair, and that’s why we have created a list of causes and solutions for you!

car overheated won't start but turns over

One of the main reasons it might not start could be a lack of spark in the engine due to a damaged ignition module, problems in the ignition circuits, or bad spark plugs. To pinpoint the cause of a lack of spark accurately, you should purchase a spark plug tester first.

Here are Top 4 Reasons Why your car overheated won’t start but turns over With Solutions!

To get your engine up and running, the engine must rotate at sufficient speed. This simple process helps the fuel to get pumped up to the cylinders and ignited and helps the engine run itself on its power.

Now, in the case that the engine cranks but do not start after overheating, it could mean that the engine is having an issue producing a spark, producing a compression, or getting fuel.

Reason 1: Lack of Spark

Lack of Spark

As we mentioned above, this is a rather common and primary issue when your car will not start. A lack of spark usually happens when an ignition module gets corroded, the crank sensor is positioned improperly, the engine gets flooded which is quite usual in higher mileage cars, the spark plugs get damaged, or an issue in the ignition circuits in which the fuel flow may have been shut off.

Solution: If your car has a distributor cap, visually inspect it along with the spark plug wires to ensure they are not corroded or damaged. Use a spark plug tester wire to ensure proper arc from each spark plug wire. In case there seems to be a problem with the ignition, you should consult a professional.

Another cause could be a poorly timed ignition of spark which can happen when there is an issue within the timing system.

Solution: Since this problem is a little more complex to solve and figure out, you can begin by purchasing a timing tool that will help you check if each of the cylinders is firing just like it is meant to.

Reason 2: Inadequate fuel flow

Inadequate fuel flow

Issues may occur or be present within the fuel flow due to a bad fuel pump, the fuel pump getting corroded, incorrect or dirty fuel present in the tank, clogged or faulty fuel injector, or possibly an empty or unfilled fuel tank since the fuel gauge may not be completely 100% accurate.

Your car needs an effective and adequate fuel pressure for the engine to run or even start. Usually, you should be able to hear a buzzing sound from the fuel pump for a couple of seconds when you switch the ignition to ‘on.

In case you cannot hear any buzzing sound from either inside the car or from the back of the fuel tank, the pump might be long gone, and probably no amount of fuel is being circulated to the engine.

Solution: In case you have a faulty or damaged fuel pump or a damaged fuse for the fuel pump, you can purchase a new fuel pump according to your car’s model & make as well as a new fuses. If the problem is more severe and cannot be repaired with new parts, you should contact a professional technician.

Reason 3: Issues with power supply

Issues with power supply

Another possible issue could be a weak or inadequate starter component which requires a hefty amount of amps to turn over the engine, after which it does not have enough power left to properly turn on the injection system as well as fuel injectors.

In this particular scenario, you will encounter a situation in which the starter might be making a weird sound when you try to crank the engine, or it might not start in any way.

Reason 4: Corroded or worn-out battery cables or even a dying battery 

worn-out battery cables

This can affect as well as contribute to this issue. You would need to inspect the battery voltage with the help of  a No products found. whilst trying to turn over the engine. You should see voltage above or at 10 volts.

Solution: You can visually inspect for blown or damaged fuses by removing the wiring from each fuse; please ensure that your car is turned off. In case they appear to be alright, place them back on and try to turn the car ‘on’ mode and inspect the electrical flow within each fuse with the help of a test light.

Replace the damaged or corroded fuses with fresh fuses with the help of a professional.

Reason 5: Inadequate or low compression

Inadequate or low compression

Every cylinder needs adequate compression for the appropriate engine function. If even one or more of the cylinders have low compression, the air from the combustion cycle will leak past the piston rings, which will ultimately limit and hinder the amount of work that particular cylinder is capable of to properly spin the crank.

Usually, compression issues are caused by a loose or broken timing belt or a snapped overhead camshaft.

Solution: You should try to use a compression tester to check whether you have a problem with the compression in your car. In the case that you do, a leak-down test is the second step to inspect for leaks in any of the cylinders. You should ask a professional to perform this particular test for you as well as examine each cylinder.


We have gone through 4 common causes why your overheated car will turn over or crank but not start such as lack of spark, inadequate fuel flow, an issue with power supply, worn out batteries, or low compression. But don’t worry as each issue can be fixed with the help of simple mechanical tools or with the help of the expert and hands-on opinion of a mechanic. Try out the solutions listed by us, and hopefully, you can finally get that car to start in time for the next rendezvous!

You can also watch this YouTube video to learn more about the listed issues:

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