Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Engine quits intermittently, apparent electrical problem

asked by on

High mileage but well maintained. Past few months the engine suddenly quits from time to time. No sputtering, just running along fine and then stops. Usually cuts out when parking or at a light, but once while driving along the highway with foot on the gas. Seems electrical since the car clock resets each time. Usually engine restarts with battery seeming to be strong (never seems weak). But a couple of times after quitting everything is dead. No lights. Power windows and door locks don't work either, though sometimes hitting those switches there's a slight sound as if there might be a little juice. Jump starting worked. Battery was changed several weeks back as possible solution. Later a mechanic found and fixed a bad battery cable connection. But the problem still occurs. I'm stumped. Thanks so much.

My car has 290000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hi there, thanks for writing in. The fact t...

Hi there, thanks for writing in. The fact that the vehicle loses all power and the clock resets then that tells me that is it completely losing connection from the battery. Most of the time this is caused by either a bad connection at the fuse box or a bad battery cable. Most of the time this is a battery cable issue. The battery cables will usually develop a high amount of internal resistance that will cause the voltage to drop off causing this to occur. I would typically start with a voltage drop test of the battery cables before replacing them. If they actually pass the test then I would test the power going to the fuse box to see if that is intermittent. If you need to have this stalling/starting issue fixed, consider YourMechanic, as a certified mechanic can come to your home or office to diagnose and repair this.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: I have a 1995 Chevy truck with a bent frame every lines up right except for the front bumper how much it will cost to fix

You need frame straightening equipment, as well as measuring equipment such as a tram, to perform this repair. Depending on exactly where the discrepancy lies in the frame you could use hydraulic jacks at appropriate points to bring it into...

Q: Engine shuts off while braking

Hello. If your vehicle has stalled, and will no longer turn over then it may possible that the alternator has failed. A faulty alternator will not be able to properly charge the battery. This will place a drain on the...

Q: Temperature rises when air or heat turned off

Hello. If the engine starts to overheat with the heater off or without the AC on, then it is usually caused by an issue with air flow through the radiator. You may have a failing fan relay or a circuit...

Related articles

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...