Q: Car died, and gauge needles moving crazy

asked by on October 14, 2017

I have a 2003 pt cruiser. I went to start it today and it was dead. Had no issues before. I got a jump, but right away my car sounded funny, and all my gauge needles were jumping up and down, and my inside light was blinking on and off. I tried to back up, but my engine sounded heavy and sounded like it was kicking back. I parked and tried to start my car again, but it was dead.

My car has 180000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Car is hard to start Inspection $79.99 - $99.99 Get a Quote

Hi Robin. Thanks for contacting us today. What you are describing is common with an electrical short (in regards to the gauges going ’wacky’ like you’ve described). The hard to start problem and rough idle issues are probably caused by an ignition system failure, causing a misfire (which is likely why the engine sounds heavy). There are multiple possibilities here, so it’s probably best to have a professional mechanic come to your location and try to isolate the source of your problem through an onsite inspection.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing


Experienced Mechanic?

Earn up to $70/hr

What others are asking

Hello my car has 4 codes coming up p0741 p0457 p0497 p0506

I have a pp171 code on my car

My windshield wipers stopped working the motor seems to be working since when i turn them on you can hear a sound but they wont wi

Hi there. When the motor is working, but the windshield wipers do not move, the issue is typically caused by a broken wiper arm or perhaps one of the internal links inside the motor is broken. The best way to...

How can I tell if the problem I have is with the master or slave clutch cylinder? 2008 VW Eos

Hello, thank you for writing in. Your question cannot be technically answered at this point in time. With your symptoms, it could be either the slave or the master cylinder. The clutch master cylinder is more commonly a problem, but...

Shaking and vibrations

Hello. Shaking can be caused by many things. If the transmission mount was recently replaced then I would also take a look at the engine mounts to see if any of them also need to be replaced. Worn or damaged...

Rusted brake line - 1999 Mercury Sable

Hey there. 3/16 inch diameter brake line tubing is used on virtually all cars and trucks made in the world. The more important issue is what type of end fittings you have and type of flare (bubble, inverted, etc.). That...

Knocking noise and tough turns.

The knocking noise could be a result of many possible things such as failing steering components or potentially engine noises. Unfortunately, in order to properly diagnose, it will require a professional mechanic taking a look at the car and taking...

Keeps overheating and I've already got the radiator flushed and the replaced the thermostat

Hi, thanks for writing in. You will need to have the cooling fan clutch checked to see if it is working properly. The engine will not cool properly if the clutch is not locking enough as the engine gets hot....

Damage to my brake booster

Brake fluid in the brake booster is definitely a sign of a leaking master cylinder as you know. Additionally, brake fluid in the brake booster will also cause deterioration in the diaphragm resulting in failure leading to vacuum leaks and...

Related articles

Chrysler Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Car Program
If If you are shopping for a used Chrysler vehicle, you may want to check out cars under their certified pre-owned program. Many manufacturers have a certified pre-owned (CPO) program, and each one is set up differently. Read on to...
The Best Used Cars to Buy If You’re an Interior Designer
As As an interior designer, you need to transport a great many different items, including fabric, paint and wallpaper samples and sometimes even furniture items. You probably don’t handle overly large loads very often, and when you have to, you’ll...
The Best Used Cars to Buy If You Get Motion Sickness
For For people that suffer from motion sickness, even on the shortest car trip, riding in a vehicle can prove to be unbearable. What’s great is that there are a number of cars on the market that can help to...