Chevy Colorado Not Starting – What Could Be Wrong?

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  • Post last modified:November 15, 2020

Did you wake up to your Chevy Colorado not starting? This is one tough way to start your day. While most of the reasons why it isn’t starting are not serious and do not leave a dent in your wallet, some could take you by surprise. To help you solve this problem, we researched this topic to give you a detailed look at why your Chevy Colorado is not starting.  

But what could be wrong? Here is a sneak peek of possible problems:

  • Dead Battery
  • Faulty Fuel Pump
  • Failing Ignition Switch
  • Malfunctioning Ignition Lock Cylinder
  • A Faulty Starter

If you own a Chevy Colorado model, you might have faced these problems before or even be facing worse engine problems, like an engine sputter. Here, we guide you through the potential problems and answer some of the most common Chevy Colorado questions you might have. So be sure to keep reading.

A red Chevrolet Colorado parked on a dealership, Chevy Colorado Not Starting - What Could Be Wrong?

Chevy Colorado Not Starting – What Could Be Wrong?

There are a plethora of reasons that could cause your Chevy Colorado not to start. The most common one is a dead battery, an alternator problem, and a failed starter, in that order.

While most problems require replacing the common problematic parts such as the battery, alternator, or fuel systems, we recommend making a proper diagnosis before any repair. A proper diagnosis will enable you to understand the problems you are facing correctly.

Reasons Your Chevy Colorado Won’t Start

Here are the top reasons a Chevy Colorado won’t start, and a little about what you can do to fix these problems. If the repairs listed in this article are above your skill level, please consult with your mechanic and do not attempt to make the repair.

Dead Battery 

After a while, a car battery will start to lose its charge and not have enough power left to start the ignition. You will notice quickly if your battery has died in your Chevy Colorado. 

There will be no sign of life when you turn the key in the ignition. No electrical components within the car will turn on, and the engine will not crank when started. If the battery loses charge while driving, the battery warning light sends a warning, and the engine might fail.

Bad Fuel Pump

The first symptom of a bad fuel pump is a loud and strange noise when starting the car. If it fails completely, the fuel system’s pressure is lost, resulting in reduced engine power, and your car will not start. 

When your fuel pump is not working at all, you will not hear the audible buzzing noise that activates once you turn the key to the first position. When your fuel pump is not engaging at all, you will need to check both the electrical components and the pump itself. 

Failing Ignition Switch 

A failed vehicle ignition switch causes a loss of power to the vehicle’s systems and components, such as the air-conditioner or the engine. If the ignition switch fails while the car is running, the engine will instantly lose power and stall. 

While still at the onset, the ignition switch will start to crank the engine slower than usual until it eventually gives out and no longer starts. 

Malfunctioning Ignition Lock Cylinder

A failure of the ignition switch lock cylinder results in a hard to run on ignition. When starting your car, the ignition needs a lot of shaking and wiggling to get the key turning correctly.

It also makes the ignition turn while the key is removed or lets you remove the key from any position. This might cause the lock to fail to allow the key to travel to the ignition lock cylinder. The best solution here is to replace the ignition lock cylinder completely. 

A Faulty Starter

A faulty starter is a problem that affects many Chevy models, not just the Chevy Colorado. After the ignition key turns, the starter solenoid clicks, but the engine does not rotate to a start.

You might also hear a whirring or a fast spinning noise when you turn on the ignition, which further indicates that the starter key should be replaced.

We recommend that you consult a professional mechanic for these repairs and diagnostics rather than doing it yourself and causing further damage to your car.

Why Is The Chevy Colorado Sputtering?

An engine sputter indicates a deeper problem with your engine that needs to be assessed immediately. For starters, check to see if you have enough gas in your tank. If your fuel tank is empty, it might have caused the engine sputtering. If you checked and your fuel tank is full, then there is another problem with the engine. 

It might be caused by incomplete combustion or a faulty ignition system. A blocked fuel injector will cause an engine sputter as well. While an engine sputter is often repaired as a problem on its own, it should be seen as the symptom of a larger problem within the engine that requires attention and will not self-correct itself into a sputter-free engine.

The most common engine problems are caused by problematic exhaust and fuel systems.

Exhaust System

The exhaust system collects gases from the cylinder head via the exhaust manifold, which acts as a funnel and diverts exhaust gases from the cylinders.

The gases will then travel to the catalytic converter, purifying it and removing elements such as carbon monoxide before exiting into the muffler. The muffler is responsible for reducing engine noise before the gas finally exits the vehicle via the tailpipe.

The Fuel System 

The fuel system stores and supplies fuel to the car. It is mixed with air, atomized, and vaporized in the engine intake system. It is then compressed in the engine cylinder and ignited to produce the energy used to move the pistons.

Reasons For A Sputtering Chevy Colorado 

Now that you have understood how the exhaust and fuel systems work, here are some common reasons for an engine sputter:

An Exhaust Manifold Leak

The exhaust manifold collects exhaust gases. If it gets a leak, the engine will sputter and run unevenly, resulting in increased engine noise, poor performance, and destruction of the engine’s plastic components.

Worn Seals/Gaskets

If you fail to replace worn-out gaskets and seals, you will damage the exhaust manifold, resulting in a rough or sputtering engine.

A Failing Catalytic Converter

When the catalytic converter fails to work correctly, the hydrocarbons leaving the exhaust are not appropriately burnt. The sulfur from the engine does not break down properly—resulting in a strong rotten egg-like smell. You are looking at the first sign of an impending engine failure.

Vacuum Leak

A leaking vacuum system will result in a sputtering engine and eventual engine failure stalling your vehicle.

A sputtering engine signals a more severe problem in your vehicle’s working. We recommend getting a mechanic to check and diagnose your car’s exhaust system and check where the exact problem lies. 

What Is The Chevy Pass Lock System?

The Pass Lock system is a car security system designed to prevent car theft by cutting fuel to the engine if someone tries to start it without the correct key. It is a highly efficient security system built into the lock and does not depend on a specialized key or a separate device for it to work.

When you insert the correct key into your Chevy Colorado, a signal transmits from the cylinder to the ECM.  This will cause your engine to activate and start like it normally should.

How To Disable The Pass Lock System

While the pass lock system is efficient, there is a common flaw. The system can lock you out of the car as well. If you have experienced this, or are currently locked in your car, immobile and unable to start it, here is how you can disable the Chevy Pass Lock System:

  1. After your car has stalled and cannot start, leave the key in the “ON” position.
  2. On the dashboard, locate the theft system light, which should be blinking, indicating functionality. Wait for about 15 minutes till it stops blinking and stays steadily on.
  3. Now, turn the ignition to the “OFF” position. It will disable the Pass Lock system, and the system will reset in 20 seconds.
  4. Start the vehicle normally. If it fails to turn on, repeat the above procedure until it starts.

Can AutoZone Test Ignition Coils?

Most people tend to check their battery whenever the car engine stalls. If you check the battery and it is fine, you should check the ignition coils. While a car still runs when some ignition coils fail, it will not otherwise start quickly. 

Luckily, you can test your coils with tools available from your local AutoZone.

To do this:

  1. Start by disconnecting the negative battery cable as per the instructions from the manual. Ensure the vehicle is well cooled and the emergency brakes on before you do this.
  2. Find the ignition coils that are either on or near the engine and remove the coils.
  3. You will next need to test the primary winding. An ignition coil has two coils wrapped around each other. The primary winding has heavy wire material and receives energy from the battery. Check the vehicle manual for the correct resistance reading of it.
  4. Connect the multimeter’s leads to the ignition coil’s corresponding terminals and compare the multimeter reading to the primary winding’s specifications. Any reading that does not correspond to the normal resistance range means the ignition coil needs replacement. A zero reading indicates a short coil, and a high reading indicates an open coil.
  5. After the primary winding, test the secondary winding. It is a thin wire that has many coils around it. Its energy is received from the primary winding and transmitted to the spark plugs. Use the same testing procedures as for the primary winding.

We recommend that you check for faulty spark plugs as bad ones will overload the ignition coils or find a mechanic to check and diagnose your vehicle.

In Closing  

While older models are now showing intermittent starting problems from time to time, newer Chevy models have improved on this and have greater reliability. The Pass Lock system also guarantees excellent anti-theft security to your vehicle, giving it unmatched protection.

From this article, we are confident that you will diagnose the problems with your Chevy Colorado not starting. However, we recommend consulting with an experienced mechanic whenever a Chevy Colorado problem is not starting seems to be out of the scope of your skills.

If you want to learn more about Chevy Colorados and how long you can expect them to last, be sure to read How Many Miles Will A Chevy Colorado Last?

For more information about spark plugs, check out How Often To Change Spark Plugs In A Chevy Colorado.

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