Q: car starts, sputters, then dies

asked by on February 26, 2017

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.

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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.

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