Q: Engine lost power, but then started after sitting for a while.

asked by on January 23, 2017

Engine lost power while driving, would not allow to go above 3000 rpm, then after rest it started and continued just fine. Ending light is on now

My car has 193000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

Hello, There are many things that could cause your vehicle to lose power as you describe, however what you are describing sounds like potentially a failing ignition coil. A failing ignition coil will often times produce a symptom as you describe where the engine will lose power, but will then allow it to start back up and will run fine after sitting for a while. This is called heat cycling which is a common problem with ignition coils as they begin to fail. Ignition coils are coated with a varnish-like insulation that becomes brittle over time after being stretched then contracted repeatedly The insulation develops small 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. 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 vehicle.

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