Reader Question Hi Austin,
Firstly just want to say what a brilliant site!
I have a Renault Megane (1997), I realise you will not be familiar with this particular make in the US but I am hoping you might recognise the problem.
I have problems starting the car every now and then, more frequently when the weather is cold and wet or sometimes after a long journey or when I have not driven it for longer than a few days. Sometimes even when it does start it can take as long as 10 seconds to kick in, and then if it doent start i have flooded the engine and have to wait half an hour before i can try again – it will generally start the second time round.
When it wont start it sounds as though the engine is trying to kick in but there is no spark (although I have had the spark plugs tested). My car has been into a garage but they were not able to find anything wrong with it, unfortunately this was made harder for them because while the car was in the garage it started fist time every time – typical!
When my car doesnt start I can always push start it (although my friends are getting fed up with this solution!). And as I said if it doesnt start first time it will usually start second time (or occasioanlly third time) round although by that point i have probably flooded the engine. This is becoming increasingly irratating as winter is approaching and i can no longer rely on my car.
Thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate any help or advice you can offer!
Sally in the UK
Hello from across the pond Sally,
Thanks for your email and your comments. I am not familiar with the vehicle as you know, but I would look at a few items if that was an American car with similar complaints.
1. Cold start fuel injector problem
2. Coolant temperature sensor problem
3. Low fuel pressure
4. Crankshaft position sensor
5. Camshaft position sensor
6. Ignition module and ignition coils
7. Distributor cap / ignition rotor / spark plugs and spark plug wires worn out 8. Computer issues but you would probably have some form of check engine on 9. Low battery power or starter motor issue – if the engine and starter motor is not spinning over fast enough it will take longer to start. Since you can push start the engine, it would lead me to inspect the starter motor as well.
Your car might not have all these components, but you might want to talk to the garage and see how many of these items they have checked out. I would also leave the vehicle with them overnight if you have not already done so.