Hi, I hope this has never happened to you, but if it has, we feel your frustration. The day starts with a cup of coffee as you get ready for work, you get into your car, and darn it, it won't start. When you get on the phone with your local auto repair center, they tell you the best way to resolve the problem is to tow the car in! When you arrive, you feel like you've entered a game of 20 questioins: Does the car crank over? Does the car crank but not start? What does that mean? Were there any running issues before this problem? And you think to yourself, why does all that matter? Just fix my car!
While these and other questions may be annoying, it is important for this reason: time is money. The more info gathered, the quicker the car can be diagnoised,saving you time and money.
So what is the difference, crank or start? Well crank is the rotation of the engine, a common example is, when you pull the rope on your lawn mower, you are cranking over the engine. Once that happens, fuel and spark takes over, then the engine starts. When diagnosing your car, the tests to be done are in two diffferent directions. For cranking diagnosis, you test the battery, starter, ignition switch, sometimes even the security system, etc... When testing a no-start condition, the the fuel system and fuel delivery are tested, along with the ignition system, spark plugs, ignition module, computer controls, etc...
Your responses help insure the technician working on the car goes down the correct path. Also, it is important to note that continuing to crank over the engine when it is not starting is not productive. In fact, it may even cause damage. Just as pulling the cord on your lawn mower over and over when it won't start only wears out your arm, continuing to crank an engine can wear good parts, leading to two problems that must be diagnosed and addressed.
In a nutshell, it is important to let your service advisor know all the details, even if you are unsure of your thoughts or observations. We are the professionals, but even we don't know everything, and we wouldn't expect you to either! So if there comes a time when your day starts like this, before you call your car a durned P.O.S., grab another cup of coffee and give us a call. We will do our best to get you back on the road.
Joe @ ASM Auto