Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: My car want start and when it do it shut down and want start until 30 minute or so. Now it want do nothing

asked by on

My car is turning but it want start. Sometimes it will. And when I cut it off it want start. I'm thinking it's the fuel pump. Because I have put a starter on it and it is not the problem and a new thermostat and it still want start. My head is telling me it's the fuel pump.

My car has 237800 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

When a car turns and won’t start, it is called a "crank no start". When this occurs, the first thing you need to do is see what is missing. All internal combustion motors need spark, fuel, injector pulse and camshaft timing to run. If one of these is missing, you have a crank no start. Diagnose the car and see what is missing.

The GM 3.8l motor has been installed in Buicks, Pontiacs and Chevrolets for decades. Particularly during the 90’s and early 00’s, these motors have used an ignition module with three coils mounted to it. This module is prone to just this type of failure. When it gets too hot, it quits working. When it cools off, it starts again. It can also display intermittent no start conditions. This is a pattern failure on this particular motor. Before I would ever replace the module, I would check for spark and injector pulse. If it just lacks spark, I would check for a crank sensor signal and replace the ignition module.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, do a few tests first:

  • Check fuel pressure. If there is none, check the fuse and the relay.
  • Check for injector pulse with a noid light. If this is missing, I would suspect a crank sensor. It could be a bad Power Control Module (PCM). (PCM’s are very rare to fail. I have never changed a PCM on one of these cars.)
  • Check for spark with a spark tester. If it is lacking spark but has injector pulse, suspect the ignition module.

If all these are present, I would take a compression test of all the cylinders. If camshaft timing is off, several of the cylinders will have significantly lower compression. Also, camshaft timing won’t start sometimes then not others; it will either start and run bad or it won’t start at all. It may sound like it is trying to start, but it won’t start.

If all of this sounds to daunting, I recommend booking a car is not starting inspection with YourMechanic

Good luck!

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
  • Home
  • Questions
  • My car want start and when it do it shut down and want start until 30 minute or so. Now it want do nothing

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: key won't turn in ignition - can't. start car - steering wheel locked

Hi there. From the description you have given, your vehicle's key not turning, is not a bound steering wheel lock. It could be, a worn key. Try another key, if available. Don't have a duplicate key made, from the key...

Q: Engine cranking but no spark (no trigger signal )

Hello and thanks for contacting YourMechanic. The trigger for your ignition system lies within the computer system. Your computer is not allowing the ignition to trigger the power. The coil should have power to it and a ground wire. The...

Q: My head gaskets got replaced and now it won't start it spins over good just won't run. Could the crank sensor have melted ?

Head gasket replacement is a big job that requires disconnecting and removing many parts. Without inspecting the vehicle firsthand, it's impossible to say exactly what when wrong. It could be something as simple as a disconnected sensor. An engine that...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
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...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...