Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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?

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!
  • Home
  • Questions
  • 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: The car is overheating and hissing when the AC is on

Hello, if the car is only overheating when it is not moving then it is usually caused by an air flow issue through the radiator. Most of the time, this is caused by an issue with the radiator fan not...

Q: Car won't run after running rough

Hello, from your description it sounds like you might have fuel injector that is stuck open. A stuck open fuel injector will let fuel just flow into a particular cylinder, letting raw fuel just go strait into the exhaust without...

Q: Car doesn't hold idle, I tried changing the PCV valve, what else could be wrong?

If you have to remove the PCV valve to make the vehicle operate correctly, then there is an issue with the combustion in the engine. The rings to the cylinders are not sealing properly and causing lots of blow by....

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...