There are not many situations much more infuriating to a food truck owner who is in a rush to hit the streets than when their food truck will not start. Food truck troubleshooting these issues can be done if you know the causes. Engine problems are actually more common than the majority of food truck owners think. Even though you may stick to a regular vehicle maintenance schedule, you can still encounter a breakdown at any given time.

While having your engine die on you is a pain, it can be an issue that can be easily resolved. Like any other problem you run into, the very first thing you should do to fix it is to determine the cause.

Food Truck Troubleshooting: Why Won’t It Start?

To be able start food truck troubleshooting your starting problem, it is important that you know how it starts in the first place. The four main elements needed for a running engine are: spark, air, fuel, and compression.

Inadequate Spark

When you turn your key in the ignition, voltage in your battery travels to your ignition switch. The voltage then moves towards the starter relay and starter motor. If the starter motor receives the voltage, it spins to start the engine. If there is sufficient spark in the cylinders, compression, and of course, fuel, your food truck will start.

You should know that there are a lot of possible reasons as to why your truck will die on you. To narrow this list down, pay close attention to the sounds produced once you turn the key in the ignition.

  • If you don’t hear any sound from the truck, the issue can be the battery. It could be dead or perhaps seriously corroded.
  • If you’ll hear a ticking sound, then it’s 1 of 2 things. It can be your battery or the starter motor. If it’s not the battery, then there might be an issue with the ignition system not getting enough voltage.

When you hear your engine turn over yet still will not start, the most probable causes may be:

  • Wires connecting the battery to the starter may be frayed or loose, and thus blocking the motor from getting voltage
  • Insufficient spark in the cylinders

If your engine turns over yet still won’t start, the very first thing you should look for is a spark. Every vendor should have a spark tester in their truck’s tool box. If there is no spark, the problem lies with the ignition system.

Inadequate Air

This one is simple. To make sure you’ve got plenty of clean air entering your engine, check your air filter and make sure it’s not clogged. You should also check any ducting or air inlets that might be filled with debris. Please note: insufficient airflow is rarely the cause of a non-starting engine.

Inadequate Fuel

When there is a spark and your issue is yet to be resolved. The next step you need to take is to check your fuel system. If the fuel gauge reading shows that there is still enough fuel in your tank but your truck still doesn’t start, it’s time to look at the fuel pump, the pressure in the fuel lines, the fuel filter, and the fuel injectors.

Inadequate Compression

You can have spark, air, and fuel, but if your pistons aren’t able to contain and compress the air, you won’t see combustion. An easy way to check compression is to just buy or rent a compression tester. It’s basically just a gauge attached to a hose with a fitting at the end. Pull your spark plug wire, thread the compression tester’s fitting into your spark plug hole, and turn your engine over with the key.

RELATED: How To Start A Food Truck Business

The Bottom Line

When you’ve determined the reason why your food truck won’t start, you may proceed to perform minor repairs if you are confident in your mechanical ability. If you find yourself clueless on how to go about fixing the issue, then it’s time for you to seek the assistance of a trusted mechanic.

We hope this article helps you in diagnosing why your food truck will not start and allows you to get it back on the road, sooner than later. If you have additional troubleshooting tips let us know. Facebook | Twitter