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Jake, Technician
Category: Audi
Satisfied Customers: 2429
Experience:  Over 30 years experience, 17 years with Audi, Factory trained
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My 1999 Audi A4 wont start. When I turn the key, it seems

Customer Question

My 1999 Audi A4 won't start. When I turn the key, it seems like it is trying to start but will not turn. Has about 100k miles and about 1k overdue for an oil change. I know it isn't the battery because the lights go on when I open the doors. Also in the Northeast and it is fairly cold.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Audi
Expert:  Jake replied 8 years ago.



Thank You for choosing Just Answer for your query. Yes, I can help you.


Your symptoms are consistent with a failed battery. The lights to illuminate the interior only require about 3 amps to power up. The starter draws over 100 amps to crank the motor. If the charging system light (symbol of a battery) was not on when you last ran it, the cause is likely a failed battery. This time of year when the temperature turns cold, a battery's performance is reduced and often "pushes them over the edge" so to speak.


I suggest you "jump start" the vehicle. If the charging system light works (battery symbol illuminates with key on, extinguishes once engine starts, and remains off), and vehicle starts and runs normally for the day, and restarts once the battery has had time to charge. The battery has likely failed.


This condition should be confirmed with a battery and charging system check, as well as a "parasitic draw" test to verify the integrity of the system. If you wanted to take a chance and replace the battery without any further testing, it may correct the condition, but if the symptom were to return after a few days, the above described tests would be mandated in order to determine the actual cause.


I hope I have answered your questions and addressed your concerns. Should you require further assistance on this matter, please don't hesitate to ask. I want you t be 100% satisfied with my answer.


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Thank You!

Jake "The Audi Doctor"



Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Unfortunatly, this did not answer my question. I called AAA for a jump start, and they told me it was not the battery and possibly the fuel pump.
Expert:  Jake replied 8 years ago.

I am sorry if I misunderstood your question. You stated "trying to start but will not turn", this is an indication of a dead battery.


Had you told me that the vehicle cranks over fine (will turn) but will not "fire" or start, I would have immediatly gone to a fuel pump responce as this is quite a common occurance on this year model.



The most common cause for a no start or intermittent no start WITHOUT an illuminated malfunction indicator light (MIL) would be a failed fuel pump. Typically when the fuel pumps fail it is after sitting for some time, usually cold. Typically the car may fire and run or sputter for a few seconds then die and not start at all (does this sound familiar?).


If the vehicle won't start have someone else crank over the starter while you go back to the area of the right rear door, listen underneath the car for a "buzzing" of the fuel pump. If you hear the pump and it is still not starting the fuel pump is likely not the cause. If however you do not hear the "buzzing", bang on the bottom of the fuel tank with your hand or if you have a big rubber or plastic hammer that works better. Often this will giggle the electrical brush contacts of the fuel pump enough to allow the motor to start, as should the engine at this time.


If this does not work, and it still won't buzz and start, there are other possible causes for the fuel pump not to get it's supply voltage. At least now you know that the fuel pump is not running and narrows down the possibilities.


If it is buzzing and won't start you need to check for spark. If you do not know how, contact me and we will go that route should it be necessary.


The fuel pump is the most likely cause for this year model. I suggest you try this if it does not correct the condition let me know and I will continue to assist you.



Thank You!

Jake "The Audi Doctor"