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Q: Trouble with car wanting to crank

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My car recently started showing on the display "check gas cap". I replaced the gas cap but it is still showing the same message. Also the car will act like it doesn't want to start approximately every 5/6'th time you try and crank the engine. It does start after a few seconds and runs fine. The check engine light has not come on during this episode.

My car has 85200 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: The Check Gas Cap indicates there is a prob...

The Check Gas Cap indicates there is a problem with the evaporative emissions system on your car. Some manufacturers began using this message because of the prevalence of missing gas caps contributing to this code. If your gas cap is there and tight, then there is a leak somewhere else in the system. The cap could still be faulty, so there is nothing wrong with installing a new one to see if it fixes the problem. It is much cheaper than paying someone to find the leak only to find out the cap is indeed bad. If once you have replaced the cap, the message still returns, you will need to book an appointment with us to find the source of the leak.

Evaporative emissions systems consist of many tubes, pipes and hoses that run the length of the car as well as some valves and sensors. Diagnosis of this system requires a scanner, not a code reader that is used at your local parts store. A scanner is capable of monitoring your cars data in real time as well as commanding your car to run various tests to help a technician to find the failure. This takes an understanding of how the evaporative emissions system works.

If you decide to get your cap fixed, I’d recommend enlisting a certified technician to help you diagnose the issue with your gas cap in person.

As for the car wanting to crank, it is important to understand there is a distinction that needs to be made between a no crank and a crank no start. The no crank means the starter is not turning the motor and a crank no start means the motor is turning but will not run. It sounds as if you have a crank no start condition. It is not uncommon for any car to experience extended cranking in different circumstances. If your car is hot, and you have just run into the store for a minute, often your car will have excessive fuel fumes in the intake, creating a rich condition. It will take an extra second or two for it to clear these fumes to start. This is only one, but a very common pattern that occurs. There are many more. As long as your car starts without excessive cranking and runs well once it is running, I wouldn’t be concerned.

There is the possibility that a check valve in the evaporative emissions system is allowing too much fuel vapor to enter the motor while sitting. If this is the case, once you repair the code in the PCM, the extended cranking should be remedied by a technician as well.

Good luck!

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