Car won't start after an accident

Revealing Hidden Challenges: Why Won’t My Car Start After an Accident?

Why Won't My Car Start After an Accident?


“Why won’t my car start after an accident my car won’t start up?” is a question that many drivers face after experiencing a collision. This scenario can be distressing, especially if you’re relying on your vehicle to leave the scene. The inability of a car to start post-accident is often linked to various factors, each requiring specific attention.

The intertwining complexities of modern vehicles mean that there’s a myriad of reasons behind such a perplexing scenario. From built-in safety mechanisms that actuate upon impact, to possible physical damages that hinder the driver’s proper functioning, understanding the potential causes can provide clarity during such unsettling moments. This exploration delves into the common reasons a car might refuse to roar back to life after an accident and offers insights into addressing each scenario.

Why Won’t My Car Start After an Accident?

After an accident, a car might not start due to a variety of reasons. The inertia switch, a safety feature, might activate to cut off the fuel supply, preventing the engine from igniting. Electrical connections can be jostled or severed during the impact, disrupting the car’s power system. Mechanical damages to essential components like the starter motor or fuel pump can also hinder startup. Modern cars may immobilize themselves when airbags deploy, serving as a protective measure. Additionally, post-accident shock can lead drivers to overlook basic start-up procedures. It’s always advisable to get a professional check after a collision to pinpoint the issue and ensure vehicle safety.

Issues After a Collision

The crankshaft, transmission, or even the engine could have problems.

After a collision, car owners often find themselves grappling with fix a myriad of problems, both visible and hidden. On the surface, dents and scratches might seem like the most immediate concern, but underlying issues can prove more intricate.

  • Starting Difficulties: Many wonder, “why won’t my car start after an accident?” This is often due to factors like the activation of the inertia switch, designed to cut off the fuel pump after impacts, or disruptions to the fuel pump relay.

  • Electrical System Concerns: The fuse box might be affected, leading to electrical issues. Airbags, once deployed, can impact the vehicle’s electrical integrity and introduce malfunctions in areas like lighting, control systems, and even the car’s onboard computer.

  • Mechanical Setbacks: There could be issues with the engine, transmission, or even the crankshaft. Problems like these might not always be immediate and can manifest as erratic vehicle behavior over time.

  • Fuel System Discrepancies: The fuel pump, essential for priming and maintaining fuel pressure, can get affected. This can result in inadequate actual pressure, disrupting the normal function of the engine.

  • Frame and Structure: Even in minor accidents, frame damage can occur, which might not be immediately visible. This can compromise vehicle safety and affect its alignment.

While the initial impact of a collision can be daunting, understanding the potential issues and seeking timely intervention can make the road to recovery smoother.

Discover the “7 Challenges After a Crash” by delving into this article. Click here for details.

Your Inertia Switch Trips, Causing Your Car Not to Start

The inertia switch is an often overlooked, yet vital safety feature present in many vehicles. Its main role is to intervene in situations that might lead to increased hazards post-impact. Here’s a breakdown of its function and importance:

  • Safety Mechanism: The inertia switch is designed to cut off the fuel supply in the event of a collision or sudden jolt. This reduces the risk of fuel-related fires following an accident.

  • Symptoms: When tripped, the car won’t start, as the fuel pump is disabled. This can leave drivers baffled, especially after minor bumps or abrupt stops.

  • Resetting the Switch: If your vehicle isn’t starting after a minor accident or jolt, one of your first troubleshooting actions should be to check and possibly reset the inertia switch. Always refer to the vehicle’s manual for its precise location and reset instructions.

  • Safety First: While it can be inconvenient when tripped accidentally, the inertia switch serves a critical safety purpose, acting as a protective barrier against potential post-collision fires.

It’s crucial to familiarize oneself with such safety features, understanding their key roles and how to manage them, ensuring both driver and vehicle safety.

Your New Battery May Soon Fail

A vehicle’s battery is its lifeblood, essential for ignition and powering various electrical components. However, even the newest batteries aren’t immune to issues that can compromise their performance. Here’s a quick look into a few seconds potential concerns:

  • Manufacturing Defects: Although rare, some new batteries come with manufacturing faults that can lead to premature failure. Always ensure you purchase from reputable brands and suppliers.

  • Prolonged Inactivity: A car left stationary for extended periods can result in battery drain, even if it’s new. It’s recommended to start and run the vehicle periodically to maintain battery health.

  • Electrical Issues: Faulty wiring, defective alternators, or malfunctioning electrical systems can strain and deplete a new battery rapidly.

  • External Factors: Extreme temperatures, especially cold, can adversely affect battery performance and lifespan. Proper storage and seasonal maintenance can mitigate this risk.

To safeguard many cars against untimely battery failures, routine checks and being attentive to your vehicle’s performance are crucial. A failing battery not only poses inconvenience but can also lead to potential safety hazards.

Your Car Has Been Thrown Out of Alignment

The steering wheel may tremble as a result of uneven tire wear brought on by misalignment.

Car alignment ensures that rear tires point in the correct direction. Misalignment can arise from various reasons:

  • Sudden disturbances: This includes impacts like hitting a pothole, colliding with curbs, speeding over speed bumps, or being in accidents.

  • Worn components: As your car ages and experiences various road conditions, its suspension system can naturally degrade, leading to misalignment.

  • Adverse road conditions: Frequently encountering obstacles such as curbs, potholes, or simply rough roads can misalign your car.

Indicators of misalignment encompass:

  • Vehicle Drift: A car veering or drifting to one side during regular driving suggests possible misalignment.

  • Steering Vibration: Uneven tire wear due to misalignment can cause the steering wheel to vibrate.

  • Off-center Steering: On a straight path, a steering wheel should remain centered. A leaning wheel indicates misalignment.

It’s imperative to rectify alignment issues immediately. Misaligned tires can accelerate tire wear and compromise safety. If you detect any of these symptoms, consult a mechanic or auto shop to check and adjust or replace your car’s alignment as needed.

Your Headlight or Taillight May Need Replacement

If you believe your headlight or taillight needs changing, watch for the following symptoms:

  • Dimming or Flickering: Taillights that are dim or flicker can signal the need for replacement due to bulb burnout or connection issues.

  • Damaged Lenses: Cracked or broken lenses on your lights warrant replacements. Beyond affecting light performance, this can cause water damage among other complications.

  • Frequent Bulb Burnouts: Regularly burning out bulbs suggest a replacement is needed. This may arise from multiple factors such as the bulb’s age, electrical problems, or vibrations.

Should you observe these signs, it’s crucial to act promptly. Postponing repairs might bring about broader damage to the vehicle’s electronics and interior parts. On the brighter side, procuring replacement lights is simple and budget-friendly online. Local spots like Quick Lane®, Valvoline Instant Oil Change, and auto parts outlets like O’Reilly Auto Parts provide suitable replacement light options. Some even offer complimentary bulb installations, ensuring you get the optimal headlights or taillights for your vehicle.

Your Car Needs Cosmetic Work

Cosmetic damage pertains to issues affecting a car’s appearance without compromising its structure or functionality. This includes scratches, dents, chipped paint, and minor dings. While some cosmetic defects can be addressed with simple solutions like buffing or repainting, more pronounced damages might require expert intervention from an auto body shop. When faced with cosmetic damage, it’s vital to evaluate the damage’s nature, location, and severity.

Minor damages that don’t jeopardize the car’s safety or performance can often be overlooked, but significant or unsightly damages might warrant repairs to uphold or repair the vehicle’s aesthetics and value. Seeking advice from a reputable auto body shop or professional is advised to gain insights into the damage and get proper recommendations for restoring the vehicle’s appearance.

Your Car May Not Roll or Steer

If your car displays irregularities in rolling or steering, various factors might be responsible. Here’s a breakdown:

Possible Causes:

  • Tire problems:

    • Uneven tire wear, low pressure, and unbalanced tires can lead to a shaky ride or steering wheel vibrations.

    • The vehicle might pull to one side due to underinflated tires.

  • Axle damage: Accidents, potholes, or curbs can damage an axle.

  • Understeer: The front tires can lose grip, making the car veer to one side.

  • Wheel balancing:

    • Vibration in the tire can cause the steering wheel to shake.

    • Excessive weight on one wheel side can pull the car in that direction.

  • Tyre separation: Air forcing steel belts to detach from the tire can cause shaking.

  • Locked wheel skid: Braking too hard or slippery conditions like ice can lead to uncontrollable skidding.

If you notice any of these signs, consult a mechanic to identify and address the underlying issue.

Car not starting after an accident? Common Reasons and Solutions

Numerous problems could stop a car battery from starting after an accident.

After an accident, various issues might prevent a a car’s battery from starting. Here’s a comprehensive overview:

Common Causes and Solutions:

Damaged battery:

  • The impact might have harmed the battery.

  • Solution: Inspect battery connections and its charging status.

Electrical system damage:

  • The car’s electrical system could have been compromised in the crash.

  • Solution: Examine fuses and wiring for any potential problems.

Fuel system damage:

  • The fuel system can be impaired due to the accident.

  • Solution: Review the fuel pump and lines for proper functionality.

Engine damage:

  • The accident’s force can lead to critical components like the crankshaft or starter motor getting damaged.

  • Solution: Check the engine for visible damage and, if needed, consult a mechanic.

Security system activation:

  • Modern cars might activate their security systems post-accident, hindering the start-up.

  • Solution: Refer to the owner’s manual to reset the security system.

Inertia switch tripped:

  • This switch, designed to cut off the fuel pump after a crash, might be triggered.

  • Solution: The owner’s manual will guide on resetting the inertia switch.

In cases where the cause remains elusive or the damage seems extensive, it’s advisable to seek a mechanic’s expertise.

The Psychological Impact of Accidents

Car accidents can result in not only physical harm but also significant psychological trauma, which may persist long after the incident. The emotional aftermath of minor accident can be as debilitating as the physical injuries. Notably:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A serious mental health issue, PTSD can disrupt everyday life. Roughly 9% of car accident victims develop this condition, as reported by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

  • Depression: Survivors of car accidents may battle depression, which manifests as withdrawal, isolation, feelings of hopelessness, and even suicidal ideation.

  • Anxiety: Beyond the immediate shock post-collision, many survivors are diagnosed with anxiety.

  • Phobias: The trauma of a car accident can induce specific fears, such as driving or being inside a vehicle.

  • Behavioral Changes: Post-accident, individuals might exhibit behavioral alterations like increased irritability, anger, or mood fluctuations.

  • Sleep Disturbances: The traumatic event might lead to sleeping issues or nightmares about the accident.

It’s critical to acknowledge the heightened vulnerability of child survivors to these psychological impacts. If someone is grappling with mental health issues after a car accident, they should promptly consult a healthcare provider or reach out to SAMHSA’s National Helpline. Additionally, it’s feasible to claim compensation for both physical and emotional damages post-accident, with insurance potentially covering both aspects.


Car accidents, irrespective of their severity, can introduce a myriad of mechanical and electrical complications in vehicles, often leading to answer the unsettling question: “Why won’t my car start after the accident?” Such issues can stem from disruptions in the vehicle’s fuel system, damage to electrical circuits, triggered safety mechanisms like the inertia switch, or concerns related to specific car models. Navigating the aftermath of an accident can be daunting, especially when contending with vehicular damage and potential legal implications.

However, assistance is at hand. At The Law Offices of Jared Spingarn, P.A., known as Hire Jared, they provide invaluable support in such circumstances. Their expertise not only encompasses legal counsel but also guides clients through the intricacies of post-accident car issues, ensuring that their rights are protected and they receive the necessary reparations. With a dedicated team, they are committed to ensuring that victims of accidents are adequately represented and assisted through the recovery process.

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