Q: My car has recently been taking about 5 minutes of cranking to start - do I need to replace the engine?

asked by on

Recently my car has been taking about 5 minutes to start. It doesn't always do this. Also, the code P0171 has came up saying "system too lean". My father has been trying to remove what he believes to be a sensor in the back of the engine directly under the freeze plug. He has given up trying to get the part out and thinks the engine needs to be removed for the part to come out. I can't afford to have the engine removed. I would just like a second opinion

My car has 199000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Before resorting to removing the engine, have a certified technician properly diagnose your hard starting condition. Hard starting or a long cranking situation can be caused by a number of things. The "system too lean" code can contribute to a hard starting issue and can be caused by a number or components. A large air/vacuum leak in the engine compartment can be caused by things like a loose/broken vacuum line, leaking intake manifold gasket, or even a loose/broken air intake boot.

Other things like fuel pressure can also cause a long cranking condition. The fuel system is designed to maintain pressure in the fuel system after the car is shut down so it will start quickly the next time. If a failed fuel pressure regulator does maintain pressure, or a failed/stuck fuel pump check valve allows the fuel to drain back to the fuel tank when the vehicle is parked, then it can take a while to re-pressurize the fuel system and start the vehicle.

It would be best to have a technician diagnose this condition before randomly replacing components that may not resolve the issue and once installed, you may not be able to return them for refund as most auto parts sources will not accept electronic components or parts that have been installed, for refund.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. My car has recently been taking about 5 minutes of cranking to start - do I need to replace the engine?

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: Replaced front calipers and pads, rotor on right front, but passenger side rotor is still burning and smoking?

You will need to check the caliper slides are not binding and are lubed properly. If okay then with wheel off see if rotor is binding and then open the bleeder on the caliper to see if it releases the...

Q: Car starts but doesn't accelerate or backup

Hi, thanks for writing in. I'd be happy to provide my insight. This may be clutch-related if the clutch plates are worn or could possibly be worn out or damaged gear synchronizers. These are small fork shaped components in your...

Q: Does my Jetta have a blown head gasket? 2002 VW Jetta

Hi there - in the absence of extreme indicators of a blown head gasket (milkshake oil, misfiring or coolant mist in the exhaust), we will have to get more sophisticated. Check compression on all cylinders - looking carefully for lower...

Related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
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...