Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Why is my car having problems starting?

asked by on

My car just started having a problem over the last month. Sometimes whenever I put it in drive it will shutter and then lose its power, that caused my check engine light to come on. After a few minutes it will start and run fine, the light will go off after it sits overnight. That doesn't happen all the time. Only 4 times within the last month or so. Now the issue that started after my car set not driven for a week is that it will not start all the time. Once it starts it runs fine. It will start with a delay having to hold the key over for a while. Then if I kill it for an hour it needs about another hour then it will start and run fine.

My car has 81566 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hey there. This may be related to to a vari...

Hey there. This may be related to to a variety of things. When your Check Engine Light comes on, generally there are fault codes that are registered in the car’s computer which will indicate more specifically some of the possible causes.

A common sign of a bad ignition coil is something like you have described causing the car to have to sit to cool down for a bit before starting again. This usually is something that starts happening randomly and then progressively gets worse over time.

An ignition coil is really two separate coils of wire. They are known as the Primary (low voltage) coil and the Secondary (high voltage) coil. The primary coil is made up of several hundred windings of relatively thick wire (with thin insulation). The secondary coil consists of several thousand windings of a very thin wire. When the insulation on this wire begins to deteriorate or become brittle (which is common) due to temperature fluctuations, this can cause the coils to begin to short and not function properly. To have this taken care of, I recommend having a professional come to your location to pinpoint the cause of the starting issue and replace the ignition coil if necessary.

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: Engine starts up on cold start, shakes/struggles, and then shuts off.

Hello. I'm not sure what is meant by saying the O2 sensor and catalytic converter problem codes were not the problem. Several component issues could cause the behavior you are seeing - from a dirty, clogged, or failing idle air...

Q: How do I know if I have a bad starter or a bad ignition actuator? Sometimes when I turn the key the starter doesn't work.

If the engine will not crank some of the time it can be a few different things. It can be the starter or it may be an issue in the circuit. I usually start by checking for power at the...

Q: Check Engine Light on

This relates to the throttle control actuator. This is a module that controls the opening and closing of the throttle plate which is what allows air and fuel into the engine. When this is not working properly, this may cause...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
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...