Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: My vehicle has a Starting/Sometimes running issue. What's wrong?

asked by on

When trying to start my car it takes about 5 full seconds. It is making almost a light screeching sound and pauses for a second then starts. It is not a clean start and sounds very rough on the vehicle. Also when I'm driving the vehicle, it is rough when coming to stops where the RPMs get low. I've had the engine light read by Auto Zone and one of the problems was something like the vacuum pump to the engine. It also came with a few others, but that one seemed most logical. What's wrong?

My car has 194000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hi there. Check to see if the vacuum pump ...

Hi there. Check to see if the vacuum pump has seized up on the engine. If the pulley is not turning then the belt will make a screeching noise and put a huge load on the engine. The extra load will make the starter work harder to engage the engine and create pauses during the start cycle. If the pump is working and is not making any noise, then there could be an issue with the engine its self or there could be an issue with the flex plate. The flex plate could be cracked causing this symptom and noise. Remove the inspection cover to the transmission and watch the flex plate as the engine is cranking over. If it is wobbly, then the plate is cracked and needs replaced. If not, then there could be a starter issue. Make sure that the battery cables are tight on the starter. If the starter is not working properly and the cables are tight and everything else checks out to be in good condition, then the starter needs replaced. As for the computer having a code stored for the vacuum pump, then the pump seal may have blown. If that is the case, then the vacuum pump will need replaced. If you need further assistance with your hard start issue and vacuum pump replacement, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.

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・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Why does my car jerk & accelerate by its self?

From what you've described, the jerking is most likely due to a misfire or a vacuum leak on the engine. You should have all the spark plugs and wires checked for misfiring after your computer is scanned for a misfire...

Q: My car has a vibrating/clicking sound coming from underneath the drivers side

Hello. Although it's very difficult to diagnose a problem without being there to inspect in person, it appears you might have multiple issues. The vibrating/clicking sound when you steer may be due to a CV joint that may be damaged...

Q: Engine noise

I believe your air conditioning compressor may be locking up and causing the belt to squeal. The compressor has a clutch that engages the compressor when the A/C is turned on and after a while they may fail and lock...

Related articles

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...
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...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...