Car Won’t Start When Parked In The Sun: How to Troubleshoot

No matter how new or nice your car is, the heat can take a toll on your vehicle and can cause damage over time. Usually, issues regarding the heat occur in states like Arizona, Texas, Nevada, and more where the sun stays hot for months at a time. So, what causes your car to not start after it has been parked in the sun?

Why won’t my car start when I park it in the sun?

A car can have trouble starting when it has been parked in the sun for too long. This can be because of the battery, oil, or coolant. To troubleshoot, figure out if there is something that smells, sounds, looks, or feels wrong. Try to determine what the issue is, then call the mechanic.

Car problems are not fun and learning more about how to recognize issues can save you a lot of time. Keep reading for information about how to troubleshoot your car after it won’t start while it is parked in direct sunlight and the common reasons for this problem.

What Causes Cars to Not Start in the Sun?

The sun takes a toll on cars over time, so older cars will likely have issues with the heat compared to newer cars. However, any car can be affected by heat. This depends on a few factors. 

If your car doesn’t crank up when you turn the ignition on a hot day, there may be a few issues.

If you park your car outside for hours, especially if you live in a hot state, and if your car is known to give you issues in general, then you can see the effect the sun has easily.

There are a few issues you can look for specifically that can have a direct correlation to a car not starting from the heat. 

One issue is often found in older cars, and it revolves around fuel. Some liquids turn into vapor in the heat, and that is something that needs to be left alone to cool off before use.

Why wont my car start when I park it in the sun 1 Car Won't Start When Parked In The Sun: How to Troubleshoot

This issue might not affect all older cars, but if you live in a place like with hot weather Arizona, then you will understand that this can be an issue for some people. To prevent this, park under trees, in the shade, or in a garage. 

You never want the source of the issue to be the battery acting up, but it is a possibility. So, if you know a little about cars and can look at an engine to see if something is off, then do that. 

Your battery could be overheating in the sun, which can cause it to die. If your battery is dead, your car won’t start. So, listen to your car when you start it for a clicking sound and see if the problem is in the battery.

If so, you may be able to jump start the car.

Sometimes, your car is simply due for an oil change, and with being low on oil plus the heat, the car doesn’t want to start. Look at your dashboard and see if your check engine or oil lights are on.

If you see the oil light is on, take your car in for an oil change and see if that solves the problem. If your car won’t start, add some oil to it so you can get to a mechanic to have the oil changed.

For those of you who don’t know where to start, find a YouTube video that explains how to do an oil change and follow the tutorial. 

Essentially, you are just pouring a liquid into a specific place in your engine, so it is not too daunting of a task.

Another issue could be with the coolant. Your car uses coolant to cool itself off as it is being used, preventing your engine from overheating while being driven. If your engine is heated by the sun and doesn’t have enough coolant, it won’t start (check for smoke!)

You can easily put coolant into your car without needing to go to a mechanic, which saves you money. However, make sure the engine is cool before you add coolant.

Why wont my car start when I park it in the sun 2 Car Won't Start When Parked In The Sun: How to Troubleshoot

If your car still won’t start after it has been parked in the sun for a few hours, even after you have added oil and coolant and checked the battery, take your car to the mechanic. Your car likely has an issue that has been exasperated by the heat, like an issue with your starter motor, spark plugs, fuel pump relay, or fuel injectors, and it can’t be easily fixed by you.

If your car doesn’t start after sitting in the sun, but it starts as normal at other times, park your car in your garage or covered area, away from the sun, until you can take it to a mechanic. That way, you can still use your car, even though it is hot outside.

How to Troubleshoot

After finding something that seems off or wrong with your car, search the internet. 

There are many people online who have shared their experiences with their cars and have given advice on what they did to fix the issue they had with their specific make and year, including us.

After you notice that your car doesn’t like to start after sitting in the sun, you can ask people on the internet if they have had the same issues as you and how they fixed it. This will give you a good place to start.

You can figure out what the signs you are seeing mean, and you can try to identify the issue before going to the mechanic. 

The best thing you can do for your car is to take note of the things that are wrong, then take your car to the mechanic and tell them what seems to be wrong.

They will take that information and note if you were right or if you misinterpreted a noise to be coming from one place when it was coming from another.

Telling the mechanic what you notice is important because it gives them an idea of what could be wrong with your car and where they can start to look for problems. It is harder for a mechanic to do their job when they have to find the issue on their own.

They don’t drive your car every day, so be informative and let them know what smells, noises, feelings, and more to look for. 

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