Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: car starts, sputters, then dies

asked by on

Went out to start the car this morning, it drove fine yesterday, no issues. This morning it had trouble starting, sputtering and dying. Check engine code said crankshaft sensor, so I replaced this. The issue continued, I read a post where someone had a similar issue and they recommended changing both crank and cam sensor because it worked for them. So I changed the cam sensor, cleared the codes by touching battery cables together and tried to start it. Same problem with sputtering and dying, if it does stay running it's in LIMP mode and will not rev to more than 1k rpm and 10mph when driving. Sometimes after a few times of starting and it dying, the starter will crank and keep, struggling, trying to start and finally turn over. It's still putting out crank shaft sensor code and I've even swapped the replacement with another, thinking maybe I got a faulty one. Please help I'm all out of ideas of what it could be.

My car has 140000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi there. First off, I strongly recommend NOT trying to clear codes by touching battery cables; as this is a quick way to fry the ECU as well. It is very possible that this action may have triggered your limp mode. Although replacing crank and cam sensors is a probable solution, replacing the electrical harnesses that connect these sensors is also a smart idea; as in many cases, a sensor failure is actually caused by the connection. Simple things like replacing spark plugs, wires and fuel system components like filters, cleaning fuel injectors and the throttle body can also improve engine efficiency. If you are stuck and still can’t find the source of this issue, it might be a good idea to have a professional mechanic come to your location and complete a check engine light inspection, which will allow them to accurately download and clear all stored error codes and determine what is causing this continual problem.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 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!

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: I need to know if its my ball joints or cv joint

Hi there: It's nearly impossible for us to accurately diagnose this without physically inspecting the components onsite, but honestly, it could be both. In most cases, when ball joints are damaged, the grinding will occur while turning or hitting a...

Q: I lost my key and remote - can I program a new key myself?

Hello - unfortunately no. Modern electronic-key security systems differ from one manufacturer to the next, and each has specialized equipment for programming and setting options on remotes and electronic keys. This equipment is also not usually available to non-dealer service...

Q: Temperature gauge fluctuates

Hi there, thanks for your question. Temperature gauge fluctuation could be due a faulty temperature gauge or a faulty thermostat. If tested with a radar gun, this would be an external temperature source for testing the temperature, which would indicate...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
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...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...