My Chevy Suburban Won't Start


The first Chevrolet Suburban was released in 1935. General Motors had the Suburban trademark registered on May 31st, 1988. The Suburban is used as a family vehicle, as well as a work vehicle, with ample cargo space and seating for up to nine passengers. The Suburban has been available with various engines, transmissions and trim options, in both two-wheel and four-wheel drive models. The Suburban is a fun vehicle, but it is not fun when your Suburban won't start. There are a number of vehicle starting problems to check.

Things You'll Need

  • Jumper cables
  • Fuses
  • Pry bar
  • Hammer
  • Check the battery to see if it is dead by turning on the headlights or by turning the key to see if the instrument lights are working; if the lights on the instrument panel and the headlights are not working you may have to jump start or replace the battery. Your battery might have enough power to turn on the headlights, but not enough to power the engine; you might hear a slight clicking sound that indicates the battery is almost completely dead.

  • Attach the positive side of a set of jumper cables to the positive terminal of your battery, and then attach the negative side of the cable by attaching it to either the engine ground or by attaching it to the truck frame. Attach the other end of the jumper cables to another vehicle in the same manner then idle the jump vehicle to charge your battery.

  • Look at the fuel gauge and remove the oil dipstick to check that your Suburban has plenty of fuel and oil. If your battery is not dead, the fuel level gauge will rise and display the amount of fuel in your tank.

  • Push in on the connectors to the mass airflow sensor if your vehicle is equipped with one; this will ensure that they are properly connected. If these connectors are loose, they will prevent your truck from starting.

  • Remove the air filter and housing; clean dirt and blockages that might keep the truck from getting air. Your Suburban cannot start without sufficient airflow to the air intake system.

  • Push in on the spark plug wires to make sure they are connected properly to the spark plugs and distributor cap so they can generate a spark that can start the engine. Examine the condition of the spark plugs and wires and replace any that are worn out, torn or burned.

  • Remove the face of the fuse panel under the dash on the driver's side and under the hood to see if all your fuses are in good shape and replace any blown fuses. Good fuses are made of translucent plastic to provide a clear visual of the center electrode, but blown fuses will be burned or broken.

  • Tap on the starter a few times with a long hammer or pry bar and then try to start the truck. Bad starters need to be replaced, but a few taps will usually get it to turn the engine over until you can get a new starter.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't have a second vehicle to assist with jump starting, you can use a portable battery box instead.
  • Most auto supply stores will provide free battery testing to determine if your battery needs recharging or replacement. In many cases, they will install the replacement for you at the time of purchase.
  • Take your vehicle to a professional automotive technician or mechanic if you are uncomfortable with auto repair work or if simple diagnostics didn't fix the problem.

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  • Photo Credit B2M Productions/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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