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: ABS locking up

Hi, it sounds like you are having a brake problem. I would inspect the brake pads, calibers, and discs. I would recommend having a qualified mechanic come out and inspect the brakes for you. For your safety, I would recommend...

Q: My car only starts if I cover the air intake tube where the air filter goes

This may suggest you have a vacuum leak. When plugging the air intake tube, you are choking the motor off from supplying it with air. If taking your hand off and allowing it to breathe on its own causes it...

Q: The check engine light is on, the car feels as if it will turn off while idling, gas smell

Hi there. A gas smell such as this is a good indication that there is a fuel leak. If it is entering the vehicle, then it is typically under the hood. Most of the time on this vehicle it comes...

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...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...