How to start a car with a flooded engine
Some cars are prone to a flooded engine, particularly when it's extremely cold or very hot. You can also end up with a flooded engine if you pump the accelerator too much. In many of these situations though, if you follow just a few quick rules, you can often get your car started with minimal difficulties.
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How does a flooded engine happen?
Simple. When you start your car and press hard on or pump your accelerator, you send too much fuel into the engine and, if you're driving an older car, you flood your carburettor. Once the engine is flooded, your car won't start again unless you follow certain procedures.
How do you know if your car is flooded?
If you've experienced a flooded engine in the past, you'll realise immediately when it happens again. That sinking feeling will hit your stomach and you'll know you'll be late for work.
If you've never had a flooded engine before, there are a couple of things to look for that will tell you if it is. If you turned the key and the starter motor began to turn but your engine wouldn't start, chances are it's flooded. If there's also a strong smell of petrol, you can just about guarantee it.
How to start a flooded engine
First of all, don't panic. It happens to everyone at one time or another.
Your first course of action should be to stop trying to get the car to start and leave it alone. Get a coffee, watch TV, in fact do anything but mess around with your car. Once it's flooded, you must leave it for a few minutes to give the petrol time to evaporate.
After 15-20 minutes, go back to your car, put your foot on the accelerator and press down on it... firmly. Turn the key and attempt to start the engine. If it doesn't start immediately, do not turn the key back to the starting position. Just leave it in the 'on' position and wait for the engine to start.
Remember too, leave the accelerator pedal pressed down until the engine 'catches' and your car finally starts, but do not pump the pedal, if it's taking longer than you'd like, as you'll just end up flooding it again.
Most car engines will start after just a few seconds of trying.
Give your car a good run
When your car finally starts, don't just turn it off and go back to what you were doing. That will cause it to not start again the next time you need it.
Instead, once your flooded engine has dried, out, your engine has 'caught', and your car is ticking over nicely, take it for a drive around the neighbourhood. This will warm up the engine, and cause the rest of the fuel to evaporate, and your car to return to normal.