Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Starting issues

asked by on

So I was driving my car when it just died. It wouldn't start and black smoke came out as well as a gas type smell. I eventually got the car to start but it was sputtering and the Rpm gauge bounces up and down. It died again not 2 minutes later. We got it home and let it sit I started it earlier and it fired like nothing happened I then reved and the engine started to act like it was losing power and sputtering again then Rpms dropped and just died. Can you think of why it did this?

My car has 96100 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: The first thing that comes to mind is the i...

The first thing that comes to mind is the ignition control module, ICM. It is located under the ignition coils. It receives data from the crankshaft and camshaft position sensors. It relays this information to the engine computer, PCM. It is a computer, or module in itself. Circuit boards in parts like this usually fail when they are hot. It will not command the coils to spark, and the engine speed information will not be correct. This explains the jumping tachometer. If they are allowed to cool off, they can start to function again, but as you experienced, it was short lived.

The crankshaft position sensor could also cause this. It is a less common failure. It can produce a poor signal to the ICM. This will cause spark, and the fuel injector pulse to be erratic. The PCM will usually set a trouble code for this, but the only way to know for certain is the graph the output of the sensor using a lab scope. If you would like this repaired, consider YourMechanic. We can come to your home to perform a diagnostic on your starting issue and make any repairs that are needed.

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!

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: won't stay running

The fuel injection system on these vehicles have had a lot of problems with the injector poppets not opening if the fuel pressure is too low. This will result in them being stuck closed and not being able to inject...

Q: Only have reverse

Hello, This kind of reaction is often a sign of low transmission fluid or a faulty transmission control solenoid. As you know, automatic transmissions use pressurized hydraulic fluid to change gears. Every time a gear change is required, the car's...

Q: No crank no start from ignition

Be sure any engine immobilizer system (security system) is not activated, thus preventing the car from starting. Broadly, either the starter motor/solenoid assembly is faulty or the electrical circuit supplying the motor has a fault. That circuit begins at the...

Related articles

P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
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...
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...