Q: Takes 3-7 tries before engine stays running

asked by on September 08, 2016

My car is running very poorly and naturally one would expect that since it is such an older model, however I feel that I can fix it up to perform well again. At present it runs rough and is difficult to start. In the mornings it does turn over and then run for a few seconds, but then it shuts off. It takes 3-7 tries before it will start and stay running. First, it starts off idling at 500 RPM and once it warms up, it idles at 1000 RPM; it should be idling at 700 RPM. Sometimes to help it along, I rev it and it backfires. At times, the engine dies at this point. I have replaced the battery, alternator, spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor rotor and cap. Once my car is moving, then it runs just fine. Can you tell me what I should do next to get my car to start properly?

Hello. The symptoms you are experiencing, hard starting and an unstable idle speed, can be caused by a variety of issues. You mention that you replaced a few parts, namely ignition components, so they should be alright. The next things I would check are the fuel system and the idle air control valve. A faulty fuel pump or clogged fuel filter can cause hard starting and stalling, while a faulty idle air control valve can cause an unstable idle speed. I would look at the vehicle’s fuel system first, as you mention that the vehicle misfires as well, which can be caused by a faulty fuel pump. After checking the fuel system I would then move on to the idle air control valve, as a faulty idle air control valve can cause an unstable idle, as well as engine stalling. As these components can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, a proper inspection of your car starting problem by a certified technician from YourMechanic would help determine the exact nature of the issue.

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