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Q: Car won't start despite making several stops & running fine all day

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2002 Ford Explorer, automatic 4WD, 4.0 L, V6

Two weeks ago, sub-zero temp day, driving around all day running errands without issues. Got to my 4th or 5th stop of the day, late afternoon, come out 10-15 mins later, car won't start. Has power, chugs, but won't start. Jump starts without issue. Take my car into shop next morning. Battery test, per notes, "passed voltage, CAA capacity, & temp tests." Battery is good. End up replacing spark plugs. Wiring to plugs is fine.

This past Friday, mid to upper 20's in temp, driving around in the morning and early afternoon running errands. 4th or 5th stop, come back out 10 mins later, car won't start. Same thing, has power, chugs, but won't start. Get a jump start, fires up, no problem. Drive home.

Taking car in first thing tomorrow. Theories? Questions I should ask?

My car has 214000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello, thank you for writing in. Intermittent starting issues may also be fuel or electrical problems. Unfortunately testing for these issues will need to be done when the vehicle is exhibiting the symptoms. This leaves you in a position of trying to replicate the problem, or waiting until it happens again. The ignition coil may also exhibit these symptoms under certain circumstances. The testing you have done so far is great, but there needs to be further electrical and fuel pressure testing done. Fuel pressure can be tested with an in-line gauge installed at the engine. While electrical testing on the ignition coil, and ignition switch may also need to be done. Only further testing will tell. For more diagnostic help, contact our service department to schedule an appointment.

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