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Q: Car died while idling at drive-thru with no warning and will not restart.

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Hi, I was in a drive thru the other day and my car just died. No forewarning, it was acting completely fine beforehand and it would not start again. When I try to start it, the electrical system starts up (no dummy lights come on), but the engine will not crank. I have been having some problems with the electrical system lately, sometimes the headlights/taillights will go out when driving down the road but will come back on if I jiggle the handle for the turn signal/lights. Also, sometimes the radio just doesn't work. I figured this was a wiring issue, but thought I'd include it in case it is relevant. The battery is fairly new, and is an Optima red top, so it should be getting enough juice. Lastly, I will note that it has been extremely hot and humid here the past few days. The day the Jeep died it was 97 degrees and humid outside. It was the second time this year I have run the a/c. Again, there were no indications that there was any overheating or other issues. Thanks in advance!

My car has 112000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Start with the basics. Have your battery tested so it can be verified as good and at least 75% charged. Ensure that your battery cables are clean and tight. The electrical issues you’ve had do seem they may be related.

It’s necessary to perform a good visual inspection of the wiring under the dash, all fuses, and underhood electrical center connections. You’ll need to test for spark and fuel pressure as well. Also, check for voltage at the starter solenoid ignition wire with the key in the crank position. Lastly, check to see if it has an aftermarket anti-theft system installed.

I’d recommend getting some help from a qualified technician who can perform these checks and diagnose your starting problem. Once that is done an accurate repair can be made.

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