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Q: Why does my car struggle to start every 4th to 5th time?

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Car struggles "chugs" to start about every 4th-5th start-up. When it chugs it sounds/feels like there's no compression, no power. I replaced the battery, it started perfect like 7 times in a row, then it started the same bad-cycling starts. It's like a computer glitch, because when it chugs, I turn if off, wait 30 seconds and re-start... it chugs some but not as bad and starts up (it's never not started). If I have a bad start-up, once I get it re-started, I usually drive home... park it overnight... next day, it fires right up with no issue.

So what do you think is the problem? Computer glitch, poor electrical contact, starter, solenoid, or something else? Thank you.

My car has 33000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

It sounds like your starting issues may be linked to a problem with air metering or fuel delivery. A clogged or malfunctioning idle air control valve may show some of the same symptoms you are describing. The idle air control valve can be stuck in a cold start position which may work well if the car has been sitting a few hours, but as the engine warms up there must be a regulation in airflow. Consider hiring an experienced technician like one from YourMechanic who can come out for a closer look at your hard start situation and offer a more personal diagnosis.

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