Car cutting out and not responding.

  • 2004 MAZDA 3
  • 2.0L
  • 250,000 MILES
A week ago I changed my battery myself. It was hooked up just as the last one but it wasnt starting right away. After several tries and finally getting it started I went to get my emissions test 2 days later. At that time it said they could not read and was told that the system has reset and must drive a while. I drove several km/mi as I was told and reset the time on the clock etc and found the following day the time was incorrect. I thought something may have happened but nothing much had changed. 6 days later I had the system cleaned (unsure of name) because my car was cutting out when coming to a stop and gearing down. This seemed to have fixed the problem. Now 8 days after the battery change I start and drive the car no problem. I come back to my car open the door using the power lock and start the car. The dash lights up and cuts out completely. NO POWER. I try one more time immediately and no response. I wait 5mins and it works but again I notice the time and stations reset. I go to get my emissions test right after and they tell me it cant be read again. I know at this point I have driven at least 300km.

I'm no mechanic put I'm assuming its electrical but I don't know where to start since the diagnostics test shows nothing and it not doing the same thing when the mechanic looks at.
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Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 AT 11:23 PM

1 Reply

You have an intermittent electrical connection problem as evidenced by the clock losing its memory and resetting. There's two common possibilities. One is you have a battery cable clamp that is loose or has corrosion inside that wasn't cleaned off when you reinstalled it. The other is related and could have been about to occur even without the battery replacement. Follow the smaller battery positive wire to the under-hood fuse box and be sure that connection is clean and tight. Also follow the smaller negative wire to the body and check that one.

The Engine Computer runs a number of self-tests that, if passed, reduce the number of tests the emissions tester has to perform. There is always a long list of conditions that must be met for those tests to run, called a "drive cycle". Some of those tests may take days or weeks to run and pass. You won't meet all the conditions for all of the various tests to run in a few miles.

Every time that electrical connection acts up it will cause the stored self-test data to be erased. You did the same thing when you disconnected the battery. Someone at the dealership should be able to describe what you need to do for the self-tests to run. It can involve a number of things including engine up to a certain temperature, a brief spurt of wide-open-throttle, prolonged steady driving above perhaps 45 miles per hour, and an abnormally long period of coasting.
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Thursday, November 28th, 2013 AT 12:29 AM

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