The car “cranks” when the starter motor is able to spin the engine or cause it to “turn over.” If the car “will not crank” when you turn the ignition key, you hear either a clicking sound, or nothing at all. The term “crank” is also used as a short form of the word crankshaft.

The most common use of this word is the complaint that “My vehicle cranks but won’t start”. This is different from a condition of the car is cranking over and over but won’t or fire up.

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