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05-02-2012 07:37 AM #1
Is there a mechanic in the house?
I'm by no means an automobile expert but I know a thing or two. That said, my sister has been having a problem with her car that has me completely stumped. Our family mechanic can't seem to find anything wrong with it either.
I'll let my sister explain the problem in her own words:
Okay, here?s what has happened with my car. The same situation happened a month ago and between the two events, my car worked fine.
When I turn my car on, the car is really jumpy and then within seconds, the engine dies and numerous lights come on including the battery light and check engine soon light. I try restarting the car numerous times and as I?m pumping the gas pedal, the engine makes clicking noises. Each time I do this, the engine sounds like its closer and closer to turning over.
Finally, after roughly an hour of doing this, my car turns on without any problems and I can drive normally. There are no lights or jumping or anything.
Like I said, the same thing happened last month and my car worked fine until yesterday when it did the same exact thing. And again, after about an hour, my car was fine.
Last month, I took it to a car mechanic which was a waste of time since they said they couldn?t find anything wrong with my car and charged me $100 for running all of the diagnostic tests on it.
05-02-2012 07:56 AM #2
What mechanic did she take it to? I'm just curious because I'm eager to take my car to the same shop NEVER. $100 is absurd for finding nothing. Will they at least give her some credit toward an oil change??? Tires??? Something?!?!
Anyhoo...I'm not a mechanic either, but I tend to keep vehicles well into the 100,000+ range, so I've had my fair share of car problems. Without knowing how old her car is, how old the battery/alternator/starter are, etc., here's my guess. When the engine runs rough as she described, then won't turn over at all, then magically starts running again, the simple diagnosis to me sounds like bad gasoline. I'll defer to the more auto-saavy guys on the board, but it sounds like a tank of high test and some kind of expensive ($8-$15) fuel treatment is in order.
05-02-2012 08:11 AM #3
05-02-2012 10:08 AM #4
Also, last thing to try is hold the accelerator pedal to the floor while cranking - clear flood mode
05-02-2012 10:15 AM #5
It sucks, but sometimes that's what we "non-car guys" have to put up with. As long as your mechanic isn't saying that your flux capacitor needs fresh banana peels and wants to charge you $1500, you're probably dealing with an okay establishment.
Personally, when I take my vehicles in for service, I tend to hang around and watch what they're doing. Not to be some kind of inspector, but just to get a jist of what's going on.
05-02-2012 10:41 AM #6
Could be a fuel injector problem.
Her starter could also be on its way out, in which case when it dies, you'll know. You'll get absolutely nothing when you try to turn the car over but the accessories will work (because your battery is still good).
I'd think that the mechanic would be able to tell if the starter was close to dying during the tests however.
05-02-2012 10:49 AM #7Released Released
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- Dover, PA
My immediate thought is related to battery. I'd put my money on corroded battery terminals or loose cables. Disconnect them and clean them up with baking soda and a wire brush, see if the problem still happens.
05-02-2012 03:55 PM #8
You don't say what kind of car or how old... that would be useful to know. It sounds like one or more cylinders are not firing. Could be a bad spark plug(s) or bad spark plug wires as well.
When it finally starts does it run rough or does it run like normal. Try and provide some more info if you can.
05-02-2012 04:12 PM #9
05-02-2012 04:13 PM #10
05-02-2012 04:18 PM #11
05-02-2012 07:29 PM #12Plus Members Since 9/11 All-Star
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- Mar 2011
05-02-2012 07:33 PM #13
sounds like an O2 sensor to me. That or something else in the fuel system.
05-03-2012 04:19 PM #14
Definitely sounds like a air/fuel system problem. O2 shouldn't cause the car from not starting. The sporadic nature of it points to a sensor IMO. Are there any check engine lights that stay on?
I'd guess MAF sensor or IAC.
edit: Not a mechanic. I just try to do most of the maintenance on my car and it's a Volvo with 170k+.
Last edited by Goober Noodles; 05-03-2012 at 04:22 PM.
05-04-2012 12:50 PM #15
Don't keep us in suspense... did you find out what it was?