Engine Performance problem
1999 Saturn SL2 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 158000 miles
Was drving to get an oil change, and car went dead 3 times within 1 block to the service station. There was no sputtering or rumbling, just shut off instantly. At first I thought something was wrong with my brakes and didn't even notice the car was off. Service engine soon light has been on for 8 months since last servicing with no known problems. At that time had brought it in for the service light and had tune up, oxygen sensor replaced, oil leak fixed (but still need to add every 1000 miles). After driving 3 miles light came back on, they ran a check and it showed something with camshaft, but since I already spent $900 they did not do that repair and passed me for inspection then. I also had alternator replaced and new battery over a year ago. This time service station said check showed nothing wrong except that camshaft thing. I guess that has nothing to do with engine stalling. They also drove it and it was fine. It didn't stall on my way home. I know I needed oil but this couldn't have fixed the problem. I worry because I drive a lot on the turnpike and am scared it could die like that at a high speed.
If u could go to a auto parts store and get the codes read and bring me back the numbers that would help me help u. As far as it dieing suddenly did it start right back up or did u have to wait a few mins for it to start back up?Also check and make sure ur battery cables are clean and tight.A loose or dirty cable I have seen cause stalling. Also while ur at auto parts store have them check ur alternator and battery just to be on the safe side. Make sure u get ur codes read before u mess with the battery cables though. Let me know what u find.
March, 7, 2010 AT 2:11 AM
Yes it started right up right away each time with no hesitation. I think it's a battery, electrical related problem. Drove it around today with no problems, but then noticed my radio stations were all messed up and clock was behind. (Would the service station disconnect my battery?) Also, I remember when the car died, all the lights went completely out on the dashboard, and when it started again the service engine light was off. I know it gets reset whenever the battery is disconnected. I am going to the mechanics tomorrow and ask them if they checked the battery and alternator even though it was replaced last March. I forgot to mention I also had a new battery put in this November too. While I was away my car wasn't being driven much so one day my father couldn't start it. So after he was able to charge the battery with his car, he had my battery replaced. But when I had the alternator replaced wouldn't they have changed the battery? I can't decipher the receipt work order I have. I also had a problem after a 4 week summer vacation, I had a really hard time starting it when I got back, but after that it always started right up. The day before this last incident I hadn't driven it for 24 hours and then I have this problem. I pretty much drive my car every day. It's rare when I don't. It seems if it's not used on a regular basis then something goes wrong.
Why would a service station give me the codes? Wouldn't they want to keep me from giving it to someone else? I guess I could try and ask them for it.
March, 7, 2010 AT 9:33 AM
They don't always replace the battery with the alternator sometimes the battery is still good. Also I don't know if the guy at the service station took off ur battery. If all ur lights went out when it stalled it could be a loose dirty battery cable or even a bad battery. The guy at the station could have even tighten up ur loose cable the cables loosen up sometimes I check mine from time to time.I was talking about going to a auto parts store like autozone to have ur codes checked and ur battery and alternator checked. They will check codes if u don't live in California which I don't think u do since u mentioned a turn pike. Let me know what u find.
March, 7, 2010 AT 1:53 PM
Ok I brought it in today. They tested the battery and the guy said the battery is really low, but the alternator is charging properly. I don't know why they didn't check the battery the last time. But as I've learned you basically have to tell these places what to do. I brought my receipt from my November 2009 battery, and they are giving me a new one free of charge. He checked and they did not change the battery when I needed a new alternator back in March 2009. That's irrelevant at this point because I had to change the battery in November, and now I'm doing it again. I think there's something going on with the electrical charging system. So hopefully I can drive it until the summer then get rid of it. I know that electrical problems are very tricky to find.
March, 7, 2010 AT 2:39 PM
Glad To hear ur getting ur battery taken care of a bad battery will cause stalling. If ur alternator is charging then u must have just gotten a bad battey. What brand battery is it?