Reasons Why Your Car Overheated Cranks But Won’t Start

Car owners often need to deal with some issues regarding their cars. Some are easy to fix, whereas some take extreme inspection and time to solve. Engine overheating is such a problem. You won’t be able to start your car even if it cranks. But why does this happen?

What is the reason behind the car overheated cranks but won’t start? A low coolant level, a faulty fuel delivery system, a bad spark plug, corroded battery terminals, a bad thermostat, etc., often cause the issue. You need to check all the possible problems gradually. 

But there is nothing to worry about. It is possible to fix the issues. For this, you need to go deep into the root of the problem and know the correct troubleshooting steps.

Car Overheated Cranks But Won’t Start

Symptoms of Car Overheating Cranks?

You drive your car for a specific period, and it suddenly stops. And you notice the car cranks, but it won’t start again. We know how annoying this situation is for car owners. 

But how do you know this happens due to engine overheating? Now, look at the possible symptoms you might notice in this case. 

  • Stem from the hood of your car. 
  • A burning smell comes out from the engine compartment. 
  • A temperature light appears on the dashboard of your car. 

Additionally, you will notice the symptoms based on the type of component causing the issue of engine overheating.

What Causes Car Overheated Cranks but Won’t Start? 

Multiple causes can bring the issue of car cranks that won’t start due to overheating. And in most cases, only those components that cause the problem are related to the compression, spark, air, and fuel. 

Low Coolant Level

Low Coolant Level
Low Coolant Level

Coolant is a crucial component that helps your engine to remain cool and avoid overheating. But, the coolant level might drop due to the passage of time. 

A low coolant level can also occur if there is coolant leakage. Here you check the possible causes; 

  • Faulty coolant radiator cap.
  • Damaged head gasket.
  • Faulty coolant radiator.

Faulty Fuel Delivery System

Faulty Fuel
Faulty Fuel

Your car’s engine is supposed to overheat if the fuel delivery system becomes faulty. To be more precise, a lack of fuel can cause excessive friction in the engine parts, which ultimately causes the engine to overheat. 

Now you need to discover why your car’s fuel system might malfunction. In most cases, it might happen that there is not enough fuel in the fuel pump. Some of the other reasons are; 

  • Clogged fuel filter.
  • Bad fuel injector.
  • Faulty fuel pump fuse.
  • Damaged or bad fuel pump.

Bad Spark Plugs

Spark Plugs
Spark Plugs

You should always check the condition of the spark plugs when you experience the engine overheating your car. If the spark plugs are not in good condition, they won’t be able to ignite the air/fuel mixture in the engine. 

Or the air-fuel mixture is either too high or low. And all these lead to engine overheating. 

Bad Cooling Fan

Cooling Fan
Cooling Fan

A cooling fan is one of the critical components of your car’s engine cooling system. But, unfortunately, if the cooling fan becomes bad or broken, it can’t blow the heat away from the engine and ultimately cause the engine to overheat. 

Bad Crankshaft Position Sensor

If your car overheats and you can start it even if it cranks, then there might also be a problem with the crankshaft position sensor, and you need to check it. And the possible reason why the crankshaft position sensor might go bad is due to the engine overheating. 

Circuit and wiring problems often cause the crankshaft position sensor to go bad. Any magnetic issues? Yes, chances are there!

Faulty Starter Motor

Faulty Starter Motor
Starter Motor

If your car’s starter motor becomes faulty, it can lead to engine overheating. This can lead to the engine not receiving enough power to start, often cranking for some time but not turning over.

Damaged Cylinder Head

Due to the engine overheating, your car’s cylinder head might be damaged or cranked. And if this happens, the faulty cylinder head creates trouble in starting your vehicle, but your vehicle can turn over. 

Bad Battery Terminal

Bad Battery Terminal
Bad Battery Terminal

It is common practice for car owners to check the battery terminal if they cannot start their car. If your battery terminal goes bad or corroded, it ultimately causes the issue of engine overheating.

Additionally, there is a chance that the battery will become dead. Like the terminal, a dead battery can cause engine overheating, and you won’t start your car. 

Bad Thermostat

A thermostat in your car plays a decent role in maintaining engine temperature. The thermostat is supposed to close when your car’s engine warms up. And the thermostat opens when the engine gets hot. But when the thermostat goes bad, your car won’t be able to start. 

How Serious Is the Car That Won’t Start but Cranks Due to Overheating? 

You can’t take this issue lightly. Overheating doesn’t indicate the good health of your car. And, as you can’t start your car, what else will be worse than this for a car owner? 

However, in most cases, you can start your, for example, by spraying starting fluid on the air filter assembly hole. But this can be a temporary solution, and chances are this won’t work in all cases. 

Here, express recommends fixing the issue as soon as you can. Don’t put your car in this condition, and attempt to start the car repeatedly. 

How Do You Fix Car Overheated Cranks but Won’t Start?

So you now know the possible causes of the problems. It is less likely that all the issues will occur simultaneously in your car. You should check all of them and take troubleshooting steps based on that. 

1. Check and Replace the Faulty Radiator Cap

Check the coolant radiator cap; if the radiator car is loose, you must tighten it. Additionally, if you see any damage to the sealing surface, you need to replace it. 

2. Check and Replace the Clogged Head Gasket

The head gasket of your car might be blown or damaged. In this case, you need to inspect the head gasket and replace it carefully. You will find the head gasket between the engine cylinder and the block. 

Sometimes, it becomes hard to determine whether the head gasket is faulty. In this case, it will be better to check in via a mechanic. 

3. Check and Replace the Faulty Coolant Radiator 

You must check whether the coolant radiator is full of dirt and dust. If yes, then you need to clean it. However, if the coolant radiator is highly corroded, you should replace it.

4. Check and Then Clean/Replace the Clogged Fuel Filter

You need to clean the clogged fuel filter. If it is highly corroded, you should replace it. You can do the work independently as it is often a regular duty for car owners. 

While cleaning the clogged fuel filter, you will find many aftermarket products available in the market. Otherwise, you can use a brush or a cloth to clean it. 

5. Check and Replace the Bad Fuel Injector

Carefully inspect the bad fuel injector; if it is dirty, make sure you clean it. Additionally, if the fuel injector leaks, you must replace the o-ring or the fuel injector itself to eliminate the car won’t start an issue due to overheating. 

6. Check and Replace the Faulty Fuel Pump Fuse

You need to check whether your car’s fuel pump fuse has blown. If you find it blown, there is no alternative to replace the fuel pump fuse as soon as possible. The task is simple; you can do it on your own. 

Most cars have the fuel pump fuse under the dashboards, in the fuse box. You can check the owner’s manual of your vehicle to determine the exact fuel pump fuse. 

7. Check and Replace the Faulty Fuel Pump

You will find your car’s fuel pump inside your car’s gas tank. The first thing you should do is remove the fuel filter and check it. And then, you need to test the fuel filter. 

Here you will find this video helpful for checking the fuel pump on your car. In most cases, there will be leakage if the fuel pump is bad.  Once you ensure the fuel pump is bad, you should replace it with a new one. 

8. Check and Replace the Bad Spark Plugs

First, checking the spark plugs on your car is tricky. You need further knowledge about cars to perform so. If you want to do it independently, you must remove the spark plugs. 

Once you remove all the spark plugs, you need to check them and replace them if they become faulty. But how can you check the spark plugs? 

We suggest you check this video

9. Check and Replace the Bad Cooling Fan

You need to check whether the cooling fans run. If the cooling fan is not running after turning your car’s ignition switch, you need to replace them. But make sure you test the cooling fan carefully before doing so. 

10. Check and Replace the Bad Crankshaft Position Sensor

Check the crankshaft position sensor on your car. If the crankshaft position sensor becomes corroded to broken, you need to replace it. But make sure you also check the wiring connected to the crankshaft position sensor. 

11. Check and Replace the Faulty Starter Motor

You need to check whether the starter motor is broken or damaged. Also, there is a chance that the starter motor will become affected by dirt and debris. So, check the starter motor first.

If you find the starter motor is broken or damaged, you must replace it. The price of the starter motor depends on the type of car you own. 

12. Check and Replace the Engine Cylinder Head

You will see the cylinder head is above your car’s cylinders. Once you locate the cylinder head, you need to check it. If the cylinder head looks broken or damaged, you must replace it. 

13. Check and Replace the Bad Battery Terminal and Battery

You need to inspect the battery terminal of your car carefully. If the battery terminal looks cranked or the copper of the battery terminal is exposed, you need to replace the battery terminal. 

In terms of the battery, make sure your car’s battery is in good health. If you notice your car’s battery is dead, you should replace the battery. However, a car battery is supposed to last around 4-5 years. 

14. Check and Replace the Bad Thermostat

You need to remove the thermostat from your car; If you notice the thermostat is open, this indicates that the component is faulty. It is supposed to be in a close position. Replace the thermostat. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Car owners around the internet often ask questions regarding overheated cars that crank but won’t start. Here, you will find some of the questions and their answers.

How Long Does The Fuel Filter Last On Your Car?

Usually, the fuel filter on your car lasts around 1.5-2 years. So, you only need to replace the fuel filter if it is extremely corroded or broken. If the fuel filter becomes faulty, you should replace it ASAP.

Can You Use Water Instead Of Coolant?

You can still drive your car with water instead of coolant to cool your car’s engine. However, this won’t be an efficient way to protect the engine from overheating. So, it will be good if you avoid doing so.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace The Radiator Cooling Fan In Your Car?

Replacing the radiator cooling fan might be expensive. Depending on your car, it costs between $200-$700. Plus, you need to add a labor cost of around $100-$350 if you can’t perform the task independently. 


A good number of issues cause the problem of car overheated cranks that won’t start. So, make sure you don’t take any random steps and make the scenario worse. 

And calling a mechanic is the best thing you can do if you need the required tools to check the components. You shouldn’t replace any of the elements only by visually inspecting them. For example, the battery, fuel pump, etc. 

The repair cost to fix the issue will vary depending on the faulty components. Additionally, if you want to go with the mechanic, you need to spend more. Last but not least, be careful about your car’s maintenance to avoid these issues in the future. 

Related Posts:

Similar Posts