Reader Question: I have a 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier with 58,000 miles on it. The other day, my wife drove it to work and as she was going to park in the parking garage, the car stalled on the fourth level of the garage.
The temperature that day was 17 degrees so I thought maybe that it was a gas line freeze or something along those lines. About a week before it was running a little rough and stalling at red lights.
So I purchased some gasoline antifreeze and added to the tank after that it was fine until this happened. I filled the tank two days prior to this and added another container of gas line antifreeze. I went so far as to remove the air intake hose and sprayed starting fluid in still nothing.
It is still turning over and everything, but it just will not start. It is warmed up slightly since that day now it is like 30 degrees the car is still in the open air-parking garage. Seeing how it ran fine up until two weeks before it stalled in the garage that day I am very miffed I cannot figure out what is going on.
I am thinking of having it towed to my mechanic but money is tight.
Can you help?
I am in Houston so I have no experience with gasoline freezing and hope I never do. I would assume it takes a LOT to freeze gasoline though. You are missing one of the key ingredients to start a gasoline engine, spark, fuel and proper fuel pressure and compression.
I would first make sure I could hear the electric fuel pump “whine” for 2 seconds as it primes itself when you turn the ignition key to the ON position. If you do not hear that noise coming from the fuel tank, you might have a bad fuel pump or no power going to the fuel pump.
If you can hear that noise, I would then check for spark at the spark plugs. The ignition coil, distributor, crankshaft position sensor, and cam sensor would all control the spark to the spark plugs.
The last thing would be the ignition timing and compression. If the engine spins over faster than normal and sounds different like there is no resistance to it anymore, you might have an internal engine problem like a broken timing chain or timing gear.