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Once Upon A Time

Q. Hi. This is not my car, but I've been asked for help (even though she knows I'm not mechanically inclined). The dealer has looked 3 times and is stumped.

After being driven for about 5-15 miles and left for less than an hour, this car sometimes fails to start. Not even a whimper. After waiting 15 minutes to 2 hours, it will start again. Does not seem to happen on particularly hot or cold days, and very intermittent. Battery has been changed several times.

Was working fine up to this year. Any suggestions?

Thank you.

A. An intermittent problem like this can be very hard to locate. But, on the bright side, there is not too much in the starting system component wise. I'm assuming when you say "not a whimper" that it is not cranking at all.

What I would do is start at the battery and work my way back to the starter. I would unplug all the connectors and check to make sure they are clean and tight. I'd look carefully at all the wires and make sure there are no breaks or cuts in them. We also can not dismiss the possibility of a bad starter or ignition switch.

In cases like this, I have gotten permission from the customer to drive the car for a few days so if and when the problem occurred, I could check it out and locate the problem. Sometimes you just have to way for an intermittent problem to become a steady problem to find it.

I'm sorry, this is the best I can do for you. Let me know how you make out.

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