Car started driving with less power then one day started sputtering and died and will not start

  • 1997 HONDA CIVIC
  • 4 CYL
  • 150,000 MILES
I recently had a problem where my car just started stalling out while driving and wouldn't restart immediately but eventually restarted, so I took it to have it looked at and was told needed a serpentine belt and a distributor cap. Also had a tune up at this time. The car continued to have the problem after this so I took it somewhere else, they told me it was the distributor again and that the last place only replaced the the cover for the distributor cap not the pieces that needed to be replaced, so I had it replaced and the problem seemed to be fixed but when I got the car back and it was now burning oil through the tailpipe which the place that fixed it told me it was doing but there was no black soot on my car prior to taking it there and getring the distributor cap replaced again. Next o had the car looked at for the black soot coming out all over the back of my car and also had to have the axles and ball joints replaced, they adjusted the timing and said that is why the car burning oil through the tail pipe. The soot problem stopped but now the car felt like sluggish and like it had a lot less power when driving I had not gotten to take it back to get it checked again and the car suddenly felt like it was losing more power while my husband was driving and it sputtered a bit he said then just died will not restart. I have spent a lot of money on this car and only bought it from a used dealer less than a year ago everywhere I take it something else is wrong when I get it back so I do not want to take it back with no clue what it could be, do you have any ideas what could be wrong?
Do you
have the same problem?
Monday, September 14th, 2015 AT 7:51 PM

1 Reply

Let's start diagnosing it ourselves. See if there is an Autozone or the like that will scan it for all (hard AND soft) codes stored in the computer's memory. Remind them when they say "But the Check Engine Light isn't on!" That SOFT codes will not set the CEL. Also remind them that pulling soft codes takes a little more effort than hard codes.

Next, find a place like the one above that either loans tools free (with deposit) or rents them cheaply and has a fuel pressure gauge they rent or loan. Check the fuel pressure and note the reading.

At the same place, look into buying or borrowing or renting a timing light. Check the timing. We've got instructions (www.2carpros. Com/articles/set-engine-ignition-timing) and let me know what you get.

Black soot is unburned fuel. Oil is blue smoke.

Can you scan and upload the receipts for what was done at the two locations? If so, upload the scanned files to a file sharing site and send me the link(s) please. You said one place said the distributor cap needed replacing and they did that, then the other place said the distributor needed to be replaced. While related, they are completely different. The "tech" at the second place should have noted WHY the distributor was specified.
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Tuesday, September 15th, 2015 AT 11:19 AM

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