Q: Car losing power, shaking, and sputtering.

asked by on

I left the gas cap off for two days. On the third day the car started to lose power. It also started shaking and sputtering with a vibration. I drove it to the lot with my foot on the gas and brake. Then the car would not start for 20 to 30 minutes. It finally started. It happened like that twice.

Leaving the gas cap off wont usually cause drivability concerns. Its function is basically to keep fuel vapors where they belong. If left off it often triggers a check engine light, but nothing more. Notice how I said "usually" in the first sentence? On some vehicles it might trigger a limp home mode. Limp home means just that, the vehicle computer shuts off most of the power and gives you just enough to get home. This is enough to scare people into calling a technician. If your gas cap is still off, put one on. If its in limp home mode, it should reset after a couple of key cycles. If it is still acting up, the drivability concern is probably coincidental with you leaving the gas cap off. Seeking help from a properly trained technician to diagnose the issue should be your next step.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1,000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Car losing power, shaking, and sputtering.

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

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: My car cut off without warning and now is crank no start

Hello, thank you for writing in. Typically when the vehicle stalls there is an issue with the electronics, the fuel system, or the ignition system. You have eliminated the alternator and battery, which is the first place to start. In...

Q: Car loses power around 30mph

Hello there, thanks for writing in. Many different faults can cause your 2002 Chevrolet Blazer to lose power. The most common would be spark plugs, wires, fuel pump, fuel filter, alternator, shift solenoid, low transmission fluid, or the battery. A...

Q: RPM going crazy, car won't move

Hi Ronica. Thanks for contacting us today. It's quite possible that you have two different issues causing the overall hard to drive problem. The high RPM is caused by either a vacuum leak or an idle control valve failure. This...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...