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Starting the engine

After you've made the preliminary checks and you're settled comfortably in the driving seat, begin the drill for starting the engine. Check the parking brake is on by trying to pull it on slightly further. Check that the gear lever is in neutral (or 'P' or 'N' if driving an automatic). Pull the choke out if necessary.

Many vehicles have an automatic choke. Switch on the ignition by turning the key. The ignition and oil pressure light, if fitted, will come on. Other warning lights should also come on. With a diesel engine you might have to wait for a glow plug lamp to go out.

Operate the starter by turning the key further, or use the separate starter switch, if one is fitted. Release the starter key or switch as soon as the engine begins running; otherwise the starter could be damaged. Do not operate the starter if the engine is already running.

You might find it necessary to use the accelerator a little as you operate the starter. The amount will depend on the make and model of your vehicle. If the engine fails to start If the engine fails to start first time release the key or switch wait a moment try again. Be patient, you might flood the carburettor with too much fuel.

When the engine starts

You may need to press the accelerator slightly to help the engine keep running. The engine should now be idling or 'ticking over'. The ignition and oil pressure warning lamps should go out when the engine is running. If either light stays on, switch off the engine and have the fault checked. Never drive a vehicle with the oil pressure warning light showing - it could damage the engine.

Manual choke

As the engine warms up, push in the choke. Don't drive with the choke out any longer than necessary. This wastes fuel, causes wear to the engine, and can be dangerous, especially with automatic transmission.


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