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Car faltering/shutting off after starting engine or while driving

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Sep 23, 2018, 4:58 PM

Post #1 of 1 (374 views)
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2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser 2.4 L 4 cylinder engine 59,000 miles

Okay folks, got a bit of a long post here as this problem has been happening on and off for about a year now. Starting in Spring 2017, my car would start to have problems usually after starting the engine. Immediately after starting it up, the car would begin to falter, dying and coming back to life repeatedly as if struggling to stay on. All of my warning lights come on and off, and all the dials (gas, engine temperature, mph, rpm) go crazy, going up and down repeatedly. This happens for a few seconds, then one of two things happens. Usually, everything eventually stabilizes and I'm good to drive. Sometimes though, the car will shut off. Upon starting it back up, it usually starts normally and I'm good to go. On three separate occasions (that's three times in about a year) the car shut off while driving. One time it happened completely without warning, just instantly shut off while stopped at a red light. The other two times, the engine started faltering, dials and warning lights going crazy for a few seconds, then the car shut off while moving. I took it to my regular mechanic and at first he wasn't sure what the problem was. His diagnostic machine was saying everything was fine. Eventually he came to believe it might have something to do with the radiator for whatever reason, and he replaced this. The car was fine for a week or two, but then the same problem started happening again. I took it back to him and he said he had no idea what the problem was. I then went on to drive the car in this condition for some time. This might sound crazy or just not very smart (and it probably wasn't.) I need to stress the frequency at which this problem occurs. Sometimes a month will go by without the problem ever occurring. Other times, the problem will happen two or three times a week, and then not at all for the rest of the month. Still other times, it will happen maybe five times through a month. It is extremely sporadic and doesn't seem to have gotten any better or worse over time. In early 2018, I decided to take it to the local Chrysler dealership. They also said they had no idea what was wrong and said their diagnostic machine was reporting everything was fine. They wouldn't even hazard a guess at what the problem might be, which was quite annoying. The only other aspect of this problem that I need to mention is that sometimes, my engine light or oil light will come on and stay on for the duration of the drive, and then be off the next time I start it up. This too is very sporadic. On one occasion, the oil light even came on a day or two after having gotten an oil change. The oil light was on the time I took it to the dealership, and I told them I had gotten an oil change just a week earlier. Again, they said they had no idea why that was and were no help at all. I'm somewhat desperate at this point, so if anyone could help me I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

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