Troubleshooting Guide Ambulance Won't Start?

It’s a common, real-world situation that many EMS personnel find themselves in – they show up to go on a call, but the ambulance won’t start. This guide will teach you how to get the truck up and running quickly, what things to check before heading out on a call, and how to troubleshoot the issue if it continues.

01. Start the ambulance using jumper cables or a booster pack.

Leave the jumpers or pack attached to the batteries for 2–3 minutes.

02. Disconnect the jumper cables or booster pack.

Verify the battery voltage by looking at the battery voltage gauge on your chassis’s dashboard instrument cluster.

Below 10.5 volts - Do not leave! Requires service or troubleshooting

A. If voltage is below 10.5V or shows a warning on the instrument cluster do not leave the shop. Contact your service department or proceed to item 3 to keep troubleshooting.

Above 10.5 Volts - Make your call, but leave engine running

B. If voltage is above 10.5V, you may drive your ambulance on a call as long as you keep the engine running so the alternator can continue to charge the batteries. Once you return, continue below to troubleshoot.

03. Check that your battery cables are tight and not corroded.

04. Check that the Shoreline Cord has power by plugging in any household item (vacuum cleaner, shop light, etc.).

05. Check that the charger is functioning by plugging the shoreline cord into the Auto Eject Shoreline receptacle on the side of the ambulance.

The Vanner charge indicator next to the shoreline plug will blink green if the charger is functioning correctly, or show solid green if the batteries are fully charged. The “bulk/absorption” light on the power inverter will also blink if the charger is functioning correctly.

If the Vanner charge indicator or the inverter’s bulk/absorption lights are not blinking, your batteries may be below 10.5V and cannot be charged. Batteries should be replaced. Or your charger may be bad (see step 7).

06. With the charge indicators blinking or showing fully charged, check your battery voltage by looking at the battery voltage gauge on your chassis’s dashboard instrument cluster.

Batteries should now be at or above 12 volts.

If the gauge reads below 12V after charging, your batteries may be prone to failure and should be replaced.

07. If the problem persists, there may be a connection issue at the shoreline junction, or the charger may be failing.

Please contact us to help troubleshoot the issue.