troubleshoot mitsubishi

Troubleshooting a Mitsubishi That Won’t Start

A Mitsubishi that won’t start can be a frustrating experience. There could be several reasons a Mitsubishi vehicle isn’t starting, including a dead battery, faulty alternator, clogged fuel filter, or a malfunctioning starter. To troubleshoot the issue, it’s important to diagnose the root cause and address it accordingly. In this article, we will explore common reasons why a Mitsubishi won’t start and provide some tips to help resolve the issue.

Even though modern cars’ growing complexity means that tracking down a no-start problem can be challenging, a few common problems often prevent Mitsubishi from starting.


  • Mitsubishi Cranks but Won’t Start.
  • Car Won’t Crank At All
  • No Crank, No Start
  • START and Park Light Flash
  • You Hear Click, Click, Click
  • The engine starts for about two seconds, then cuts off.

Why won’t my Mitsubishi start?

mitsubishi won't start

A weak car battery is the most common problem preventing you from starting your Mitsubishi vehicle. Yes, the battery may be the problem even if the dash light or headlights turn on.

Mitsubishi won't start because it has dead battery needs jump Lancer Outlander Mirage Eclipse

If the engine clicks but won’t start, use a jump starter to start the engine. The car won’t turn on or over if the battery is dead or weak. Besides a dead or weak battery, a Mitsubishi may not start due to:

  • no fuel,
  • bad fuel pump,
  • dead key fob battery (smart key),
  • blown fuses,
  • starter,
  • loose battery cables,
  • bad ECU
  • no compression,
  • a broken timing belt,
  • blown head gasket.

Let’s take a look at several problems that will prevent you from starting your Mitsubishi vehicle. No start condition can affect any Mitsubishi model, including Galant, Eclipse, Montero, Mirage, Outlander, Lancer, etc.


Mitsubishi no start no crank

If your Mitbusihi will not start but click, the problem most likely involves a weak battery that isn’t able to turn the starter motor.

As a result, electrical consumers may work properly, such as with lights, but the car will not start turning the key. The starter motor will turn very slowly or crank depending on the battery charge level, but click. If your Mitsubishi won’t start but clicks, check the battery.

There are several possible causes of a situation like this. The battery itself may be failing and not able to hold a charge. Depending on the outside climate and running conditions, they last between two and five years.

Bad Mitsubishi alternator

Another cause is a bad alternator that doesn’t generate enough electricity to charge the battery.

The most likely scenario is that you accidentally left something like a stereo or lights on, which would drain the battery overnight. Furthermore, a parasitic current draw may drain your car battery when parked. Parasitic draws occur when one of the electrical systems in the car malfunctions and drains the battery when the car is turned off.

A common problem that shows the same symptoms as a dead battery, such as no crank, and no start, is a bad starter or starter solenoid, which we discuss below. If the battery is dead, you can charge via a home power outlet with a 12 Volt Battery Trickle Charger or jump-start the vehicle and let it idle or drive it for at least thirty minutes.

If the battery doesn’t hold a charge, it may need to be replaced. Follow this guide on how to change a Mitsubishi battery.

Security System

Mitsubishi won't start due to security key issues

A problem preventing you from starting your Mitsubishi is that the vehicle does not recognize the key.

dead mitsubishi key

This is a common problem on Mitsubishi vehicles, such as the newer Eclipse and Outlander smart key.

Mitsubishi won't start due to a bad key

The batteries in the key fob may die, leading to the car not recognizing the key. You can still start the car by inserting the key in the key slot or pressing START with the key’s tip. Replace the key fob battery as soon as possible.

Mitsubishi vehicles with metal keys have an integrated transponder chip recognized by the car when the key is inserted in the ignition. These keys rarely fail. If these keys fail, the ignition will turn on, and you may even be able to crank the engine, but it will not start.


Mitsubishi no click no start bad starter

As obvious as it may seem, a faulty starter motor won’t be able to crank and start the engine. Depending on the failure mode, either the motor won’t turn over or a high-pitched sound will be heard when turning the key. A starter motor is an electro-mechanical component that can fail in several ways.

Electrical motors can stop working due to extensive mechanical wear: a mechanism that secures the starter motor to the flywheel can also fail. Sometimes, hammering a moderate hit to the starter motor can make it work again. However, replacing the starter is the only reliable solution.

Spark plugs or Ignition coils

Mitsubishi cranks no start bad ignition coil spark plug

If there is an ignition-related issue, such as dirty spark plugs or faulty coils, the engine probably won’t start sometimes.

Most of the time, this will happen on damp mornings or when it is freezing. Even though there is a strong cranking action when turning the key, the engine will not start. Even if it does, it might still cut out or splutter for several minutes.

Using an inline spark plug test light, it is easy to check for sparks. Several additional symptoms are characteristic of ignition issues. One is a strong smell of unburnt fuel from the exhaust while cranking. Pressing the accelerator pedal helps turn on the engine as well. In most cases, the engine will run fine after it warms up and reaches operating temperature.

The spark plugs may be worn out if your Mitsubishi starts but has several misfire fault codes. Follow this guide to learn how to change Mitsubishi Spark Plugs and Ignition Coils.


mitsubishi bad sensor

While modern engines use many sensors to achieve optimum efficiency, only several can cause starting issues. One is the crankshaft sensor, which tells the ECU the components inside the engine. If the crank sensor is bad, the ECU won’t know when to inject and trigger the fuel.

As a result, the engine won’t start despite cranking strong when turning the key. The main difference between this and ignition-related issues is the absence of an unburnt fuel smell from the exhaust. Also, a crankshaft position sensor code will be stored in the vehicle’s DTC memory.

Mitsubishi MAF sensor

Another common problem is a faulty Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor. The engine may crank with the bad MAF sensor, but it may not start in rare cases. In some cases, the engine starts and dies after a few seconds. While these symptoms may be due to a bad ECU or key not being recognized, they can also be due to a bad MAF sensor.

To determine if the MAF sensor is bad, read the fault codes with an OBD-II scanner. Another quick test you can perform is to unplug the MAF sensor harness and start the engine. If the MAF is bad, the engine will start but run rough. If the MAF sensor is bad, follow this guide on how to change Mitsubsih MAF Sensor.

Ignition Switch

Bad Ignition Switch

Despite the simplicity and overall reliability, an ignition switch is a crucial component that can cause several issues. In some scenarios, nothing happens when turning the key, and the dashboard will remain black. But unlike with a dead battery, things like the stereo or interior illumination will work as they should.

It is also possible that everything seems fine, but there is no car reaction when turning the key. Inside any ignition switch itself, there is a rotating arm that bridges different electrical circuits. In addition to this task, ignition switches in modern cars have an incorporated anti-theft device. Like any other component, ignition switches can suffer from failures ranging from mechanical wear and breakdowns to corrosion-related issues.

Fuel Pump

Bad Fuel Pump Mitsubishi cranks but won't start

Inside every fuel tank, an electrical pump transfers the gasoline toward the engine. Similar to other components that have moving parts, it can stop working as time goes by. The weather happens because of mechanical wear or electrical breakdown; it will prevent sufficient fuel flow. The result will be an engine that cranks strong but won’t start.

Although these symptoms are similar to those of a faulty crankshaft sensor, there are several differences. For a start, there will be no codes stored in the vehicle’s DTC memory. Also, applying a small amount of starter spray to the intake manifold will start the engine briefly.

Fuses and Relays

Mitsubishi bad spark plugs

Ultimately, it’s important to know that a blown fuse or a faulty relay can disable a corresponding component. Checking fuses and relays should be the first step when something stops working with no prior warning signs. Depending on the failure, this can result in different symptoms identical to those described in this article.

Loose Battery Terminals

Loose battery terminal

Troubleshooting a Mitsubishi that won’t start can be tricky if you just replaced the battery. A poor battery connection will light up the dash and the headlights but not allow the engine to start. For the car to start, high current draw is required to turn over the engine, which is impossible if one of the battery terminals is loose or corroded.

Check the battery connections if you have a “No Crank” situation. Yes, even if you have installed a new battery. Battery connections that are loose, dirty, or corroded will not allow the high current to pass through the connections.

Diagnose Mitsubishi no start problem

Most Mitbusihi problems (not all), including no-start conditions, can be diagnosed with a multi-system OBD-II scanner. Unlike generic OBD-II scanners that can only read check engine codes, a multi-system Mitsubishi OBD-II scanner will read fault codes in all modules, including the ignition fuel pump, security, transmission, or any other module has a problem.

For more help, see our article on choosing a good scanner to diagnose Mitsubishi Outlander, Eclipse, Mirage, Lancer, Montero, Galant, etc. We hope you find the Troubleshooting a Mitsubishi That Won’t Start guide helpful. Check these troubleshooting and repair guides for more help on your Mitsubishi.


  • Rushit Hila • ASE Certified

    Rushit Hila, an ASE-certified engineer (G1 Automotive Maintenance and Repair), brings over two decades of hands-on experience in the automotive world to his writing. With a strong educational background, including a Master of Science in Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, he has honed his skills and expertise through years of practical work. As a respected authority in the field, Mr. Hila is dedicated to offering insightful and valuable content that resonates with both vehicle owners and mechanics.

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  1. Robert Gilbert says:

    I have a 18 outlander sport 2.0L with a crank, no start condition. A multimeter showed only 8 V at the battery. Jumping the vehicle only briefly brought up the voltage but the no start condition remained. After replacing the alternator and battery scanning the vehicle reveals a P1590 code with the crank, no start condition. I don’t want to continue the “parts cannon” approach. I figured such low voltage meant I needed to replace those ignition components to even get codes to set. That worked, but web search tells me the TCM isn’t communicating with the ECU.

  2. My 07 Mitsubishi Endeavor is TOTALLY dead electrically . No interior lights, no unlocking the doors with the fob, nothing. The battery is fully charged and connections tight. Hook up a portable battery jumper and the car becomes normal again. It might be OK for a week or weeks, then the same thing happens.
    Something that brings the electrical system back to life when nudged with an outside power source.