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Chevrolet Silverado 1500 won’t start – how to fix it?

The fear that an expensive defect is responsible for the starting problems of Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra is mostly unfounded. Often there is a comparatively easy to remedy cause.

However, there is a wide range of possible reasons why a Chevy Silverado 1500 does not start. It ranges from a simple lack of fuel to an empty battery to a broken starter. Defects in the electrical system, the fuel pump or the ignition lock can also paralyze a vehicle.

The starting problems of a vehicle can be different. In some cases the truck starts at least sporadically and allows its owner to drive independently to the nearest specialist workshop. In other cases, the truck won’t start until the underlying problem is solved. The nature of the starting problems depends on their cause. The behavior of the vehicle when turning the ignition key is therefore a first indication of the defect that caused the problems.

It is therefore advisable to describe the nature of the start-up problems as precisely as possible when calling the breakdown service or calling the workshop.

Battery empty

Freezing temperatures clog vehicle batteries and reduce their capacity. The result: you no longer fully charge while driving. This is why most start-up problems occur on cold days in winter.

Typical signs of an empty or even defective battery are the starter barely turning and the fluctuating current in the interior. If the vehicle battery is completely empty, it is also possible that nothing happens when the ignition key is turned.

Corroded connections – for example between the battery and the body – can also be a cause of insufficient battery charging.

  • Tip: An empty power storage can be easily recognized by switching on the interior lighting. If the light dims significantly when trying to start the truck, this is mostly due to a flat battery. However, the charge level of the battery can only be checked reliably using a voltage measuring device.

How to fix it

In order for the truck to start again when the battery is empty, it needs jump start. You should always have a suitable jumper cable in the trunk.

With its help, the battery receives a current pulse from another vehicle that is sufficient to start the vehicle. The battery can then recover and recharge while the engine is running.

Another option is to connect a battery charger. However, if the battery is defective, only an exchange in the workshop helps.

Important: A defective alternator can result in the battery no longer being charged while driving. If the battery is empty shortly after charging, the alternator should therefore be checked for a defect.

Defective starter motor

If the battery is OK, a defect in the starter can be the cause of a non-starting vehicle. Age-related wear or a material defect can damage the starter. This is often noticeable by a clicking sound when trying to start.

The component, which is driven by an electric motor, has the task of using the current from the battery to get the engine running. A defective magnetic switch on the starter can also prevent the truck from starting.

How to fix it

Repairing the starter is rarely possible. Its position deep in the engine compartment also makes it difficult to reach. If the vehicle is on a lift anyway for examination, the part should be replaced as a precaution. This is especially true for older vehicles.

Ignition lock defective

Modern trucks are equipped with a start button and no longer have a classic ignition lock. However, another defect can occur in vehicles that still have an ignition lock. This can usually be seen in the fact that nothing happens when the ignition key is turned.

Neither a lamp lights up, nor does the starter make any noise. In modern cars, a defect in the chip card or the chip installed in the key can lead to similar problems.

You can recognize immobilizer errors by the fact that the engine starts for a short time, but then goes out again immediately.

How to fix it

So that the car starts again, only the replacement of the broken ignition lock or the defective chip card / the defective key helps.

Fuel tank empty

In the hectic pace of everyday life, it can happen that you forget to fill up. Often with the result that the engine stalls while driving and can no longer be started.

A typical sign of an empty tank (next to the fuel gauge) is an engine that ignites briefly but then goes out again immediately. This is due to fuel residues that still get into the engine.

How to fix it

With a gasoline engine, it is usually sufficient to refill the fuel and start the car. In diesel engines, it is necessary to bleed the fuel system.

Bleeding is possible manually in older vehicles, whereas this process is initiated in modern vehicles via on-board diagnosis (OBD) in combination with the corresponding diagnostic software.

Fuel system problems

If there is sufficient fuel in the tank, it may still not get into the cylinders and the engine cannot be started. Possible causes are a defective fuel pump or injection system. An incorrect setting of these components can also lead to starting problems.

How to fix it

Defective parts of the fuel system must be replaced by a workshop. Repairs are rarely possible. With an incorrect setting, however, the start-up problems can be solved relatively easily.

Marten bite, lack of ignition spark and other causes

Another cause of starting problems with the vehicle is the marten damage. The animals prefer to bite cables and wires in cars. These can affect the electrical circuit or the fuel and oil supply.

If the car doesn’t start, a look into the engine compartment and the search for obvious damage will help. If these can be found, towing to the next workshop is inevitable.

Defective spark plugs or glow plugs as well as loose plug connections on the ignition cables can result in the car no longer starting. While loose plugs are easy to fix, broken candles are difficult to detect by laypeople.

The breakdown service or the workshop of trust helps in an emergency . It can replace the defective parts directly so that the vehicle starts again.

Other possible causes of a non-starting vehicle:

  • Foreign bodies in the fuel filter
  • Defective crankshaft sensor (then the control unit does not know when to inject or ignite)
  • Moisture in the engine
  • Clogged fuel line
  • Engine damage / fixed engine
  • Flooded carburetor (older models)
  • Defective ignition coil


There are many reasons why the vehicle does not start. When looking for the trigger, it is advisable to use the exclusion principle and only start with the most obvious cause, the empty battery.

In any case, it is advisable for laypersons to call a breakdown service or a workshop. In the event of a defect, the latter can directly initiate the repair.

Posted in TroubleshootingTagged Chevrolet Silverado 1500 GuidesSours:

If your Chevy truck just cranks but won’t start up, several problems may be behind the frustrating scenario. Because so many issues may be behind your truck’s failure to start running, you need to find the underlying issue by a process of elimination. But where does one start?

If your Chevy truck cranks but won’t start, first eliminate the most obvious causes such as battery, immobilizer, or gas issues. Common issues with a chevy engine that won’t turn over involve spark plugs, fuel injectors, compression and distributor, and ignition coil problems.

 Because there are a whole host of potential causes for your Chevy truck’s failure to fire, the best way to start is to tackle the most likely culprits under the hood.

If you would like to know the most common underlying issues behind the problem and how to solve them, please read on. 

Quick Checklist for Starting Issues

Before heading onto more serious issues, make sure it’s not a simple problem that you may fix from the get-go.

These issues may seem obvious, but sometimes it’s easy to overlook the most obvious problems for a more technical cause. 

Here’s a quick check to eliminate the most obvious reason why your Chevy engine won’t turn over. 

  1. Check that you have fuel in the tank 
  2. Scan the computer memory for trouble codes
  3. Check your car battery is fully functional
  4. Check for starter motor or circuit issues
  5. Check if immobilizer or incorrect security settings prevent your truck from starting 
  6. Check for blown fuses.

Chevy GMC Engine Cranks But won’t Start >> Check out the video below:

You Have a Spark Plug Problem

Spark plugs are a vital part of your ignition system, and if your Chevy Silverado cranks but won’t start, one of the primary reasons may be a faulty spark plug.

Your spark plugs deliver the electric current from your ignition system to the combustion chamber of your engine. The spark plug ignites the compressed fuel and air mixture delivered by the piston while maintaining combustion pressure in the engine. 

There are several reasons your spark plugs may be bad; beyond that, they are past their lifespan. However, the starting issue may be linked to other symptoms of spark plug faults that include:

  • Increased gas consumption
  • Reduced acceleration 
  • Hard starts
  • Engine misfires
  • Rough idling. 

Depending on your Chevy type and engine, your spark plug typically has a lifespan of 30,000 to 120,000 miles.

The ignition coils and spark plug wires last about double your spark plug lifespan. Replacing a spark plug is not rocket science, but you might have to maneuver around shields and intake manifolds to get at them.

How to Solve Spark Plugs Issue? 

Spark Plug Tester

A handy tool is a spark plug tester, which you may place against your ignition wire while connected to your spark plug.

Turn on your ignition and check inside the clear sides of the tester; even if your car fails to start, you should see visible sparks or a glow if your spark plugs are firing. 

By Eye

You may do a simple check by eye by simply removing the spark plug from the engine. Place the tester ignition wire to the terminal of the removed spark plug, then touch the metal part of your cylinder head with the lower metal part of your spark plug.

Turn over your engine and note whether you see a spark emitted from the spark plug tip.

Assess Your Spark Plugs

Once removed, you may examine the top of your spark plug for indications that you will need a replacement.

The central electrode should have light brown or grayish residue, and it shouldn’t show signs of oil or black deposits which may prevent your Chevy from starting. 

Replace the Spark Plug

Replace the spark plug with a new one of the same type and try to start your engine again. If your Chevy truck still cranks without starting, you may eliminate spark plugs as the cause of your engine trouble and move onto the next potential culprit. 

You Have a Fuel Supply Issue

Fuel injectors deliver precise amounts of fuel into your cylinder even when your engine is spinning at high RPMs. Fuel injectors spray fuel in your truck’s engine for optimum combustion and efficiency.

Over its lifespan, the injectors fire millions of times and may be prone to wear and tear or clogging and may stop your engine from functioning correctly. 

If your fuel is not reaching the cylinders of your Chevy, your truck will likely crank but not start. Before diagnosing the problem, ensure that your:

  • The fuel tank is filled with fuel
  • Your fuel pump is working properly
  • Your filter is free from clogging 
  • Your fuel pressure regulator is functioning 
  • Your fuel injectors are not cogged.

A quick way to check fuel supply issues is to spray starter fluid into your air intake hose. If your Chevy runs for a few seconds then dies, your Chevy is not getting the necessary amount of fuel. 

How To Solve Fuel Injection Issues

Fuel injectors are essential because they meter out the fuel that enters the intake manifold and your engine. You may access the correct resistance for your particular fuel injectors online or consult your vehicle repair guide.

Dirty or leaking fuel injectors may be the reason your Chevy isn’t starting and also show symptoms such as:

  • A decline in your truck’s performance
  • An increase in your gas bill; due to increased fuel consumption.

If you wish to troubleshoot fuel injection issues, you should test each fuel injector with a multimeter. You may access the correct resistance for your particular fuel injectors online or consult your vehicle repair guide or follow these steps:

  1. Make sure your car is turned off as you will not need power for this test.
  2. Remove your injector wiring harness.
  3. Take a multimeter or Digital Volt-Ohmmeter and place it on the ohms setting.
  4. Test the resistance by pacing the meter leads on the prongs inside the connectors, ensuring they are not touching one another.
  5. For high impedance injectors, expect a range between 12-17 ohms, and for low impedance injectors on larger injectors should read between 2-5 ohms.
  6. Repeat on all your injectors. There should not be a difference of half an ohm between the injectors, and you should investigate any injector that displays a different reading.

Otherwise, the problem may be with your wiring harness

Turn your ignition on but not running, and test the DC of each wiring harness terminal. Your reading should be around 12 volts for each of your injector wiring harnesses, or they may be a problem in your wiring. 

You Have a Compression Issue

Without compression of the fuel/air mix, the spark plugs can’t properly ignite the spark that causes the combustion necessary to power your engine.

If there is a leak, the compression cannot maintain combustion, and your car will not run, Typically compression issues stem from:

  • Jumped timing belt
  • Burned or damaged valves
  • Worn out compression rings
  • Blown head gasket. 

Other symptoms that your Chevy truck has timing belt issues include:

  • Revving issues
  • Ticking noises from your car engine
  • Exhaust issues such as excessive smoke.

How to Solve Compression Issues

Your timing belt/chain ensures that the camshaft and crankshaft rotate in rotation. Timing belts have a lifespan and may become worn and damaged over time.

As models vary, you should consult your Chevy owner’s repair manual to determine your timing belt replacement interval to ensure your truck does not develop these issues.

On specific Chevy models, removing your timing cover will only partially reveal the workings of the timing belt, so your best resource is to consult your owner manual to ascertain if it is time for you to replace the belt.

Replacement mileage may vary from 60,000 to 150,000 miles, but if your Chevy is 6-10 years old, it may be time for a timing belt replacement. 

You Have Ignition Coil Problems or Distributor Issues

Most modern Chevys don’t have distributors anymore but have a specialized self-contained plug wire that has its own coil. Either this newer version attaches the wire from the plug, or you may find them in what is called a coil pack.

A couple of troubleshooting tips for your distributor or your ignition coil include: 

  1. Your ignition coil should show a clear spark in operation and if it does, the problem is not with the coil. This evidence probably means your distributor and the wires connecting your coil, plugs and your distributor are at fault. 
  2. If there is no spark, you need to look at the coil itself or its interrelated wires to address the issue
  3. Check your ignition coil has the correct voltage and if not, follow it back and check for disconnections or interference.
  4. Test if your crankshaft position sensor is working correctly (where applicable.)

2002 chevy Silverado cranks but won’t start

>> Check out the video below:

2004 chevy Silverado cranks but won’t start

>> Check out the video below:

2005 chevy Silverado cranks but won’t start

>> Check out the video below:


If you are thorough and follow a straightforward process of elimination, you will find the reason behind your Chevy’s non-performance.

Hopefully, it is something simple that you may tackle yourself, but it’s best to seek professional assistance if it is more serious.

Either way, keeping an eye on suggested replacement intervals for your Chevy parts will go a long way towards preventing future problems. 


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truck not starting,has power but not turnover sound

This can be caused by a few things. To diagnose it you need to work backwards:

1. Bad battery or low charge, or bad connections at the battery terminals. If the terminals are full of white snowy looking stuff disconnect them and clean them up. If a terminal is loose (you can turn it with your hand) tighten it. Check the battery voltage. A fully charged car battery would read about 12.6 VDC. 12.3V is 50% charged. Less than that and you will quite often have a starting problem. Even if the battery voltage seems OK you should try jumping the truck to see if it'll start - a failing battery may have a reasonable voltage readout but very little capacity available, making it unable to start the vehicle.

2. No power to the starter motor or a defective starter motor. What's called the "starter" has 2 power connections - a large wire that provides power to the starter motor, and a smaller wire that powers the starter solenoid. When the key is turned to start the solenoid will engage the gear on the starter with the ring gear on the flywheel as well as trigger the starter motor to begin turning. If there's no power to the starter motor but power everywhere else you'd hear a "click!" noise when you turned to start but nothing else - ie. no whirring or cranking noises. If you don't hear that click (you might need someone to stand outside with the hood up to hear it) go to #2. The cause of this problem is usually one of 3 things - a failed starter motor, a bad connection between the battery and starter motor, or a blown fuse (if present) in line between the starter and the battery. A test for DC voltage between a ground point (eg. battery negative terminal or the engine block) and the large wire on the starter can diagnose a blown fuse (it will read 0V) but it can't be used to indicate if the connection or starter are ok. The simplest way to diagnose that problem is to clean the battery terminals and the large starter terminal (MAKE SURE TO DISCONNECT THE BATTERY + TERMINAL BEFORE DISCONNECTING THE STARTER CABLE OR YOU COULD GET A SEVERE BURN). If it still isn't starting take the starter off and have it tested (you can test it yourself if you can mount the starter somehow so it won't jump, connect jumper cables to the battery with the - cable going to the metal body/frame of the starter and the + connected to the big starter terminal AND the small solenoid terminal at the same time - but be forewarned that if the starter isn't firmly mounted it'll jump like crazy and can hurt you!).

3. If the starter isn't clicking you have a problem in the starting circuit that drives the solenoid. Start by disconnecting the solenoid wire (the small one) from the starter. Use a voltmeter to test for DC voltage between that wire and a ground connection (battery - terminal or the engine block) when the ignition is turned to Start. Make sure you're getting good, solid connections to ground and the wire or you'll get a false result. If you don't get around +12V there's a problem earlier in the circuit. Go to step #3. If you do get +12V clean the terminal on the starter and the cable and reconnect them and try again. If it still doesn't start you've got a bad starter solenoid.

4. Unfortunately this step requires a wiring diagram. In it's most basic form the way the starting circuit works is this:

Battery==>Ignition Switch START switch==>Starter Solenoid

However, all vehicles add other things in the circuit, with modern vehicles sometimes being very complicated. A (simplified) example would be:

Battery==>Anti-Theft==>Autostart==>Ignition Switch==> Engine Control Unit ==> Starter Solenoid

With fuses and other items in there as well, and with a number of parallel connections being made (eg. the ECU would also trigger the fuel pump, fuel shut off, etc. before triggering the starter).

The way it would be diagnosed is to follow the wiring diagram from the battery up through the ignition switch and out to the starter solenoid. There should be 12V at each point along the way (after the ignition switch the 12V would be present when the switch was turned to START). When you find the first point with no voltage the previous component is the problem area. However, if the problem is at the ECU or the Anti-Theft or Autostart the actual problem may be in a completely different circuit altogether - eg. it's not uncommon for some aftermarket autostart system to prevent a car from starting if the hood switch is damaged or not working correctly.

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