The first things to check when your engine turns over but will not start!
There are two main things to check when your engine turns over but will not start spark and fuel.
First of all, check to see if your engine has spark, you can do this by pulling one of your spark plugs. Lay the spark plug against clean grounded metal of the engine block (while still having the spark plug connected to the spark plug wire) have someone crank the engine and look to see if spark is coming out of the spark plug (do not touch the spark plug you will be shocked some of these systems can put out as much as 60,000 volts of electricity, can you say stun gun and crappie flop). One of the easiest tools to use for this is to buy one spark plug and put it in your tool box and use it for this test. This will help speed up the process so you do not have to remove a spark plug from the engine. If you have spark at the spark plug chances are that your ignition system is in good shape and you need to find out if you are getting fuel.
Second you should check to see if you are getting fuel to the engine. Some thing that I always use is a chemical resistant spray bottle (be very careful doing this fuel is flammable can you say boom, always work on a cool vehicle so that you do not burn yourself or ignite the fuel) use the spray bottle to spray fuel into the intake port of the engine. On carbureted and some fuel injected engines you will be able to see if you are getting fuel with out the spray bottle however with the multi port engines you will not be able to see the fuel. If you do not have much mechanical background you need to be very careful with the squirt bottle and on the newer vehicles it is always best to let a certified mechanic do the work so that the electronics in the car do not get destroyed. Spray a little bit of the fuel into the intake port/throttle body/carburetor of the engine have somebody turn over the engine and see if it starts if it does you have a fuel problem and the first place to check would be the fuel filter.
In my next blog entry I will discuss how to cure some of above symptoms.
Tools for this check up: