I have a 96 cavalier that I have been driving for nearly 3 years. Since
decemeber of 2006 I have had issues with my car randomly not starting. My
father who Knows a fair bit about mechanics ran some of his own tests and
could not figure out what was wrong with it. We assumed that it was simply
some bad gas, cold weather or water in the tank cause by the cold winter.
Once the weather warmed up the problem continued. It would randomly not start
and if you went back an hour later it would start perfectly and run great.
WHen it wouldn't start it would sound like it was trying but nothing would
happen, would backfire a few times. Since March it has begun to stall while
driving. The first time I was doing 60km and the car shut off and wouldn't
start for 10 minutes. The second, third and forth time it occured between 40-
60 km. All the times this has happened the car had been driving for anywhere
between 20min to an hour.
We finally decided to take my car into a shop who has had it for almost two
months now off and on. It has taken so long because they have had to wait for
it to die on them as well. Finally it died for a week straight. They ran
numerous tests and still have no idea whats wrong with my car. The believe it
is something electric and they have also had some concerns about an anti-
theft system or my CD that was installed. They have not been able to locate
the anti-theft and they took out my CD player and they said everything looked
They have now asked me to take my car back and "break it" for them as they
are unable to get it to stall or not start again. I drove it for less than 15
minutes and it stalled on me 5 times but i was always able to restart it.
If anyone can help me that would be great. I can handle this anymore. My
mother and I have been attempting to share her car for the last 4 months but
this will no longer work.
Intermittent problems can be the very devil to find at times, Katie.
If you try to solve the problem by guessing, and replacing parts without
real justification, it can get to be a very expensive exercise.
Cars of today have complicated electronic control systems which are
relatively easy to diagnose if the car is dead, but if the problem is
intermittent, it can be much harder.
Do you know if the garage where you took your car found any
trouble codes and, if so, what they were?
On essentially every car, if certain problems tend to show up frequently,
the manufacturer will issue a technical service bulletin covering the
Sometimes the mechanics even at the dealership level) forget to, or avoid,
going through the TSB's.
Maybe you should search for a highly credible garage in your area, and
try for a second opinion.
Thanks for the speedy response. The garage that we used was Master Mechanic
and my dad is usually my mechanic. When my dad checked it he thoguht it was
some sort of module issue but because of the way that compact cars a built
today he couldn't gain easy access to anything within the car. When my dad
tried to use the tester on the car to get the codes off it woulnd't come up
with any codes. He took it to the mechanic and they have been running every
test know to man. They also had an electrical specialist come in the other
week but my car decided to work for the whole week so he could not test
Where would I find this TSB? Can I gain access to it on the Internet?
I'll see if I can locate an open source for the series of bulletins for you.
to Alldata, and have access to them for my cars, but I do not own a Cavalier
am unable to access them for you.
I will email you privately and see if we can suggest something.
Starting with 1996 cars have become computers and the technician has to have
some computer skills to troubleshoot intermittent problems. He needs a good
OBDII tester to look at the computer and be able to interpret what it is
telling him. It may even take dunning the tester on the car through failure
periods. Laptop testers can monitor the computer and store the information
dynamically so it can later be interpreted. Try to find a mechanic that has
the skills to do the job correctly. You may even be better off and money
ahead taking it to a dealer as they have the tools to do it right. Here you
will get only guesses. The very least we would need is any codes stored in
the history and the freeze frame data associated with that code...
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