Car had trouble starting?

My car has had problems starting. When I get it started sometimes it will shut off unless I back out right away and the engine will shake until the car has been going good for a good amount of time as well.

Anybody have any ideas?

It is nearly impossible to diagnose a vehicle problem correctly over the internet. If you have a scan tool and can get me trouble codes, I can possibly provide the next step.

I say possibly, because depending upon the codes and symptoms, you may have to have a more advanced scan tool to look at O2 sensor and fuel trim data.

Usually, you will be better of to get a proper diagnostic, and only fix what is broken, then to just throw parts at the problem.

I will help how I can , but I cannot promise much.


I will be taking it for a service shortly, maybe I will ask about it.

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You can get a Bluetooth OBD2 code reader for a little over $10 on Amazon. There’s bound to be some very specific information that can help guide you in the right direction.


Codes provide direction, they are NOT a diagnosis. If you keep that in mind, you should be fine.

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what kind of car?

2002 sebring

Could be a bunch of stuff. Does it idle like shit even after its warmed up?

kind of, if I just let it sit there. It stops after I have done a good amount of driving. So in the morning its hard to start but later on it gets easier but still takes a while.

plugs ever changed?


Check the spark plugs


I think during my last service but that was a while ago.

Could be coil as well. Could also maybe be vacuum leak.

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Luckily coil, plugs, ignition wires, vacuum leak are all simple fixes and pretty cheap.


Ok, hopefully when I get it serviced tomorrow I can ask to check for those things and get them replaced.

Just tell them its running like shit and they will diagnose it.

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Could be anything. Might not even be your car. Where I live, we’ve had a few cool nights lately, so it may be the Reid vapor pressure of the fuel. In the Summer, fuel readily vaporizes (BTW - liquid fuel does not burn). In the Winter, fuel is blended to more readily vaporize. When the seasons change, it is tough for the refineries to match the Reid vapor pressure of the fuel (the readiness to vaporize), with the average ambient temperature. Therefore, in the Fall, the effective fuel mixture may be too lean, causing starting problems and in the Spring, the effective fuel mixture may be too rich, also causing starting problems. After a few seconds, the oxygen sensors should start producing meaningful feedback, so that the PCM can begin to compensate. But, you gotta get the engine started, before any of that can kick in.

Then again, your car could be completely jacked up.

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Could be alot of things but the idle air control can cause those problems you describe. Unplug it and see if those symptoms go away. Sometimes it’s called the idle speed control too.

You can get the codes read for free at a lot of the big chain auto parts stores. Sometimes even a print out with a brief explanation, other times you have to look it up yourself. This will at least give you an idea of what systems are getting readings outside of normal parameters. If it says it is a spark issue and the mechanic tells you to replace the transmission you will know to get a second opinion.


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