Troubleshooting a Mitsubishi That Won't Start

Vehicle:   Mitsubishi
Difficulty: ⚫⚫⚫⚫⚪
DIY Cost: $60-$300
Est. Time: 1-3 hr

Having problems with starting your Mitsubishi?

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. 

In this article, we will cover the most common problems that might result in a non-starting condition.

Symptoms

  • 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

The most common problem that will prevent you from starting your Mitsubishi vehicle is a weak car battery. Yes, even if the dash light or headlights turn on, the battery may be the problem.

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. Note that if the battery is completely dead, the car won't turn on at all or turn over.

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. 

Battery

Mitsubishi no start no crank

If your Mitbusihi won't start but click, the problem most likely is a weak battery that does not have enough charge to turn the starter motor.

As a result, electrical consumers may work properly, such as lights, but the car will not start turning the key.

Depending on the battery charge level, the starter motor will either turn very slowly or crank at all but clicks. 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 the charge. Depending on the outside climate and running conditions, they last between two and five years.

Bad Mitsubishi alternator

Another likely cause is a bad alternator that is not generating enough electricity for charging the battery.

The most likely scenario is you may have left something like a stereo or lights turned on by accident, which will discharge the battery overnight. 

Lastly, a parasitic current draw may drain your car battery when the vehicle is parked. A parasitic draw is caused when one of the electrical systems in the car malfunctions and continues to drain the battery when the car is turned off. 

A common problem that shows the same symptoms as a dead battery, such as no crank, 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 30 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 that can prevent 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 equipped with the 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 that have metal keys have an integrated transponder chip that is recognized by the car when the key is inserted in the ignition. These keys rarely fail. When these keys fail, the ignition turns on, and you may even be able to crank the engine, but the engine won't start. 

Starter 

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, the motor either won’t turn over, or a high-pitched sound comes when turning the key.

The starter motor is an electro-mechanical component that can fail in several ways.

An electrical motor can stop working due to extensive mechanical wear: a mechanism that engages the starter motor to the flywheel while cranking can also break down or jam. Sometimes, giving a moderate hit to the starter motor with a hammer 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.

In most cases, this will happen on damp mornings or when it is freezing. Although there is a strong cranking action when turning the key, the engine will not start. And even if it does, it still may cut out or splutter for several minutes.

It easy to check for spark using an inline spark plug test light.

Several additional symptoms are characteristic of ignition issues. One of them is a strong smell of unburnt fuel coming from the exhaust while cranking. Also, pressing the accelerator pedal usually helps turn on the engine. And in most cases, the engine will run fine after it warms up and reaches running temperature.

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

Sensors

mitsubishi bad sensor

While modern engines use a wide range of sensors to achieve optimum efficiency, only several of them can cause starting issues.

One of them the crankshaft sensor, which tells the ECU at what position are the components inside the engine. If the crank sensor is bad, the ECU won’t know when to inject the fuel and trigger it.

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, there will be a crankshaft position sensor code stored in vehicles DTC memory.

Mitsubishi MAF sensor

Another common problem is a faulty Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor. With the bad MAF sensor, the engine may crank, but it may not start in rare cases.

In some cases, the engine starts then dies after a few seconds. While these symptoms may be due to a bad ECU or key not being recognized, it 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 be working 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.

Just like any other component, ignition switches can suffer from failures that range from mechanical wear and breakdowns to corrosion-related issues.

Fuel Pump

Bad Fuel Pump Mitsubishi cranks but won't start

Inside every fuel tank, there is an electrical pump that transfers the gasoline towards the engine. Similar to other components that have moving parts, it can stop working as time goes by.

The weather did this happen because of mechanical wear or electrical breakdown; it will prevent a 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 vehicles DTC memory. Also, applying a small amount of starter spray to the intake manifold will start the engine for a brief moment.

Fuses and Relays

Mitsubishi bad spark plugs

In the end, it’s important to know that a blown a fuse or a faulty relay can disable a corresponding component. When something stops working with no prior warning signs, checking fuses and relays should be the first step. Depending on the failure, this can result in different symptoms that are identical to some of 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. Many people say that they know the battery is good because the battery was replaced or because the lights come on. 

A poor battery connection will light up the dash and the headlights but will 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 condition, 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 that may have a problem.

For more help see our article on choosing a good scanner to diagnose problems on Mitsubishi Outlander, Eclipse, Mirage, Lancer, Montero, Galant etc.

By YOUCANIC Automotive Experts
Nov 2020
Troubleshooting a Mitsubishi That Won't Start Having problems with starting your Mitsubishi? 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.  In this article, we will cover the most common problems that might result in a non-starting condition.