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Q: Car won't start when it is warm.

asked by on

Once my Saturn gets warm and I turn it off I can't get it to restart again till it cools off. When i turn the key it does not do anything it makes no noise. However the head lights do come on. When it is running it drives great, no problems at all. Thanks for any help.

My car has 170348 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: This is a common sign of a faulty ignition ...

This is a common sign of a faulty ignition coil. Ignition coils are coated with a varnish-like insulation that becomes brittle over time after being stretched then contracted repeated as the copper beneath them expands and contracts at a higher coefficient than the insulation. The insulation develops micro fractures that open when heated and close when cooled. When open, they allow shorting of coil windings and decrease or eliminate the coil's ability to function. This type of temperature cycling happens because every time you shut the engine off, the fan stops running, the coolant stops flowing and the temperature under the hood rises.

Every time you start the engine again the coolant flows, the fans turn on, and the temperature drops. The areas in and around the tops of the combustion chambers, the exhaust manifolds, and the exhaust components are hundreds of degrees hotter than the outside temperature under the hood. When this heat dissipates and is absorbed under the hood, it is trapped causing this cycling effect. Components that contain heat sensitive materials include parts like coils, injectors, igniters, and some sensors. Any of these may be potentially subject to this same kind of heat problem which can be very difficult to trace. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to take a look at your truck to properly diagnose your ignition system.

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