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 July 30, 2016

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?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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

Truck was stolen and ditched now it won't start

If the truck was stolen there could be a number of things causing it to not start now including several anti-theft devices on the truck. I would recommend having an expert, like from YourMechanic, come to your home to diagnose...

How much should it cost to replace a fuel pump relay?

A fuel pump relay will typically cost about $25 for the part, and a mechanic may charge a minimum of an hour's worth of labor to replace it. The vehicle not starting may be a fuel pump or relay along...

Truck stalled and won't turn over.

This sounds to me like a classic fuel pump failure, I would have a certified mechanic inspect your fuel pressure. If the fuel pump is fine, check for voltage at the fuel pump relay. If these aren't the problem check...

Related articles

What Is the Difference Between Conventional, Electronic and Distributor-less Ignition Systems?
If If you’re like many people, you know that when you turn the key in your ignition, the engine cranks and you’re able to drive your car. However, you might not know how that ignition system works. For that matter,...
How to Buy a Classic Pontiac
Whether you want to buy a classic Pontiac for yourself or as a gift, here are some tips on buying one for a great value.
How to Replace an Ignition Relay
Common signs of a damaged or broken ignition relay include a low/dead battery, the car stalling or not starting, or loss of power to the dash lights.