Q: My car won't start. It tries but quickly sputters and dies

asked by on January 23, 2017

It will turn over and the fuel pump turns on, the battery seems fine but it sputters and dies immediately after I start it. I tried giving it a little gas and it won't do anything different. I have not gotten gas anywhere out of the ordinary so I don't know how my fuel line would be clogged. I also just filled the tank. It was running just fine yesterday. I did have to push the gas more than normal because I got stuck in a snow bank but it seemed to run fine even after that. Thoughts? I am by no means a car expert and am trying to get myself through school so I don't have a bunch of $ to spend on it.

My car has 178000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

If this is something that seems to happen regularly after filling the fuel tank, you may have a problem with your evaporative emissions control system. Your car has a small purge valve called a purge solenoid in the Evaporative Emissions system that controls the venting of fumes from the fuel tank as these fumes build up inside, particularly when you are refueling the car with gas. The EVAP system prevents fuel vapors from the fuel tank from escaping into the atmosphere. The EVAP system collects and temporarily stores the fuel vapors in the charcoal canister. The charcoal canister is filled with activated carbon pellets that can absorb the fuel vapors. When the engine is running, the fuel vapors are purged from the canister and burned in the engine. The vent control valve (solenoid) controls the flow of outside air in and out of the charcoal canister. The vent valve is controlled by the engine computer (PCM). Normally the vent valve is open. It closes when the engine computer tests the EVAP system for leaks. If a leak in the EVAP system is detected, the Check Engine light will illuminate on the dash and the trouble code related to the problem will be stored in the engine computer. When an air leak is present in the EVAP system, the MAP sensor will not be able to determine the air density, and the MAF sensor will not be able to determine the volume of air, entering the engine correctly. This will lead to an over fueling situation or an under fueling situation depending on the size of the air leak and engine operating speeds and load. This may eventually lead to catalytic converter problems as well as misfiring problems. I would recommend having an expert from Your Mechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your vehicle.

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