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
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. car starts, sputters, then dies

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: Is it worth fixing

Hi there, thanks for writing in about your 2000 Cadillac Escalade. If you overheated the engine until it died, then you may have damaged the engine internally on cylinder number 4. Your water pump is most likely the part leaking....

Q: When it rains water leaks inside my car to the passenger side.

If your vehicle is equipped with a sunroof, the sunroof drains may be clogged or the drain hose connection to the body may have come loose. If the drain hose is pulled from the body, water will leak into the...

Q: SUV making noise and won't move

Hello, I am unsure what you are referring to as "six bearings". You are either referring to the front wheel bearing or the front axle shaft. Having missing bearing can put you in danger while driving because there is risk...

Related articles

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...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.