Why My Car Cranks But Wont Start Unless Press Gas Pedal?

Your car not starting can be a very annoying situation for you. Even if the fuel pump is full and the battery is alright, the car won’t start. Pressing the gas pedal seems to ignite the engine. However, it’s not the proper way to start a car, is it?

So, why does the car cranks but wont start unless press gas pedal

There can be a handful of reasons. Firstly, low engine compression may be the root of this problem. Secondly, clogged air filters may mess up the engine and allow this issue to rise. Finally, the reason can be corroded fuel pumps and filters. Whichever the reason is, you can solve it!

You may be itching to know the solutions of these issues. You’re at the right place. All you need to do is, go through the full article to implement the solutions correctly.

So, get going!

Reasons Behind Needing to Pressing Gas Pedal to Start the Car

As cars are very complex machinery, this particular issue can have many causes. You may ask, what does it mean when a car cranks but wont start?

Source: Mechanic Base

Here, for your convenience, I have discussed some of the important reasons. Check it out below.

Reason 1: Inadequate Engine Compression

This is hard to trace because you can’t visibly see any differences in the car. However, this is why your car jeep only starts with gas pedal down.

You must check off some critical things for a flawlessly starting engine. Compression is a critical part. You can use a compression tester to determine your car’s engine compression.

Here are two of the best engine compression testers that’s used by mechanics usually.

OTC 5605 Deluxe Compression Tester KitOrder Right Now!
BETOOLL HW0130 Petrol Engine Cylinder Compression Tester KitOrder Right Now!

Now, when the engine compression gets too low, it faces difficulty starting.

Source: AMSOIL Blog

High compression is always good for the engine. The engine has better thermal efficiency, which allows it to efficiently use power. 

This means that the engine can run smoothly and use less fuel. In exchange for sufficient compression, you can save bucks!

Still, low compression may arise in the engine at times. Compression leaks, blown head gasket, valve problems, etc can be held reasonably for low compression. 

Now, if you want to ask, why do i have to press the gas pedal to start my car?

Well, there is a high chance that your engine has low compression. When you press the gas pedal the pressure inside the engine increases. Thus, the engine’s compression becomes higher. This in turn makes the engine start.

Remember that, tapping gas pedal to start car is not normal. 

Compression inside an engine can seem like something too complex to fix. However, I have provided you with the solutions below. 


To restore engine compression, follow these steps below-

  • First of all, measure the compression inside the engine. Before moving on to the next steps, you have to be sure of low compression. I’ve already mentioned some tester kits above so use them.
  • You’ll have to inspect some components for damage if you notice low compression. The most common damage-prone components inside the engine are; pistons, gaskets, cylinders, and valves.
  • If you inspect any damage to the parts, you’ll have to replace them. Repairing these parts is very difficult and risky. For instance, replacing damaged valves can cost from 750-1250$. 
  • Furthermore, if you find all of these components damaged it can be a big issue. It can cost up to 6000-7000$ dollars to replace all these components.

Since repairing these are costly, you may want to ignore fixing them. But, note that these components affect each other. 

For example, a broken valve can damage the cylinder as well. So, don’t ignore these problems and fix them as soon as possible! 

By fixing these issues, you don’t have to hold pedal to floor to start!

Reason 2: Clogged Air Filter

When the air filters are clogged, it can create very costly problems. Starting from PCs to cars, air filters always have a big responsibility. If your car wont start without throttle, this may be the reason. 

Air transmission is solely possible because of the air filters. These filters provide particle-free and clean air. The airflow keeps many systems cool and keeps the air ratio proper. 

Besides engine problems, clogged air filters can cause various issues. For instance, temperature gauge problems, overheating issues, performance downgrades, etc. 

You may be wondering why my car wont start unless i put foot on gas. Well, it can very well be the clogged air filter that is behind it. Specially if it looks like this one.

Source: IndianAuto

You may be concerned about clogged filters by now. And that’s justified as well. Because a clogged air filter can cause many more issues other than just halting the start.

But you don’t have to worry! Because I have provided the ultimate solutions regarding clogged air filters below.


To solve the clogged air filter issues, you have to clean it first. Follow the steps below-

  • First, remove the air filters from your car. You can simply pull the air filters off, you won’t need screws or any tools. Brush off as much dirt and filth as you can.
  • Then, use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of the remaining dust. Use it in high-pressure mode.
  • After the filter is free from dry dirt, you have to scrub it. You can use some dish soap and a toothbrush to clean it off. The smaller the brush, the more area it can reach; providing a clean filter.
  • For the next step, you have to rinse the air filter off using water. After rinsing, let it dry fully. You can leave it overnight to reduce waiting time.
  • Finally, place the air filters back in your car setup. Now the clean air filter won’t clog anything and allow smoother airflow!

If you don’t think the instruction are enough then check out these video here.

Now, if your air filter is damaged in some way, cleaning it won’t help. Air filters can get damaged for many reasons, they can even melt from overheating. 

You can replace the air filters if that is the case. Here are some top-quality air filters I have listed for you-

Spearhead Max Thrust Performance Engine Air FilterBuy Today!
FRAM Extra Guard Engine Air Filter ReplacementBuy Today!
EPAuto Rigid Panel Engine Air FilterBuy Today!

By using these air filters, you can stay tension-free regarding the airflow inside your ride.

Does your car only starts when putting gas in throttle body? Well, it won’t anymore without a clogged air filter!

Reason 3: Corroded Fuel Filter & Pump

Even if you have a good amount of car-related knowledge, this problem may seem new. It is because corroded fuel filters and pumps are rare. 

Source: Reddit

Damaged and corroded fuel pumps and filters can potentially cause fatal problems. For instance, it may cause transmission problems in your car. Furthermore, this can be the reason why your car wont start without rev.

The issue with the corroded fuel filter and the pump is solvable. I’ve included the solutions below. Check it out!


Here is the steps you have to follow regarding corroded fuel filter and pumps-

  • Before doing anything, thoroughly check the pumps and filters. Sometimes the fuel color makes it look corroded. 
  • If you find the fuel filter corroded, remove the filter first. Try cleaning the rust off with a brush. 
  • After the attempt, if the rust does not come off, you have to replace it. 

Since the filter is built out of metal, you cannot simply clean the rust off. Changing the fuel filter may cost around 100-200$.

  • After the filter, check the fuel pump. You can use a voltmeter to check the amperage of the fuel pump. 

If it is too high, that indicates that the fuel pump has taken too much pressure. 

In that case, replace the fuel pump. The cost of it can go from 200$ to 1000$, depending on a few factors. 

That’s about it. These are the 3 common reasons and solutions to the problem!


Will a car starts with a bad alternator?

It is possible for the car to run with a bad alternator. However, it is not recommended to do so. Because with a bad alternator, you’ll never have sufficient power. Now, starting your car without sufficient power has its bad perks. It can stop running in the middle of the road; which is very risky.

Can a blown fuse cause a car not to start?

Generally, a car can start with a blown fuse. Fuses are set to small electrical components of the car. The radio, signal lights, and air conditioning are implemented with fuses. The engine, however, does not have any connection with a fuse. In that sense, the car can easily run with blown fuses.

What are the signs of a bad ignition coil?

Faulty ignition coils have plenty of signs you’re already familiar with. For example, the burnt smell from the coils, loss of power, spluttering, and making noises. Stalling the engine, jerking, and vibrating are some signs too. These coils can be risky and they provide very poor fuel economy.

The Final Words

We have reached the end of this article. Hopefully, you know what to do when car cranks but wont start unless press gas pedal

You can always take help from a car mechanic if anything seems complex to you.

Best of luck fixing the car!

Robert Lozano

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