Car Starts but struggles to start



Recently I have had this problem. When I try to start my car (03 325ci BMW) it struggles to start. It runs fine without any issues but it just stuggles to start.


Need more info.

Define ‘struggle’ for us.


How many miles on the car? How long has it been like this. Did it happen suddenly or over months? What if anything have you tried? Does the starter turn the engine over slower than normal? How old is the battery? Have the cables been checked?


Happened over night. There were no previous issues the day before this happend and has been going on for a couple of weeks now.

I had the battery tested and it is fine. I haven’t tried anything becaue I don’t know where to start. It turns over I would say about 3 times before it actually starts. It has 124K miles on it.

Someone suggested it could be a bad fuel pump which is draining the fuel back into the fuel tank and suggested to turn the key in the no.2 position for 20 seconds and it should start up. However that doesn’t do anything so I’m wondering if the fuel pump is bad or not.


You can tell if the pump has died or isn’t getting the required 12V it needs to operate.

Remove the gas cap and while someone turns the key to the RUN position you put your ear close to the tank filler pipe and listen for a buzzing or humming type noise which tells you if the pump is priming the system or not.

You may also want to replace the fuel pump relay. It should be in an underhood fuse/relay box.


Turning the ignition switch to the run position for 20 seconds does nothing to reprime the fuel system. That’s because the fuel pump only runs for a second or two and then shuts off when the ignition switch is turned to the run position. So the fuel pump doesn’t cycle enough times to reprime the fuel system.

Try this. Turn the ignition switch to the run position so that the dash lights come on for two seconds and turn the ignition switch off. Repeat this a half dozen times. This cycles the fuel pump enough times to reprime the fuel system. Now try starting the engine. If the engine starts right up and runs smoothly, the problem is with the anti-drain back valve in the fuel pump assembly.



Thanks for all your help guys. It ended up being an issue with the battery. It has been replaced and now fires up like a charm.