MeFi Mechanics--Older Car Issue
March 4, 2014 12:14 PM Subscribe
My wife and I have a rather old Lexus with low miles. On each of the last two times we took it out, the car shuddered a couple of times (like driving over a bump) and then lost all engine power, conking out in the middle of the road. There was no sound involved--just that little shudder, and then no power. Each time, we had to push it to the shoulder. Each time, the car would start up again with no problem--but would not stay on. Some more details inside--any ideas what's up?
posted by Admiral Haddock to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
Car is a 1999 Lexus sedan that's up to date with scheduled maintenance. All necessary fluids seem to be topped off.
Each time that the car has lost power, the engine and TRAC lights have gone on, but after a while (i.e., while waiting for AAA and after being parked on our street for a couple of days), the light would reset. When the car loses power, the electric has remained on--radio still going, heat still on, etc. When the power has gone, however, the power steering seems to go as well.
The car is with the mechanic now. When we drove it over, it actually died in front of the shop and we had to push it onto the lot. When the mechanic came out to take a look, the car turned over, and he was able to drive it to a parking space, but he said it actually died again four times as he drove it 15 feet.
He said the OBD is showing over a dozen error codes relating to the electrics and sensors, which he thinks is bogus, and he instead suspects a grounding issue. He's going to give it some more inspection. He said he didn't see any mechanical issues in his work so far.
I trust my mechanic--I like him, I think he's fair, and I think he does good work. But if you have any ideas that would help him diagnose (and fix!) this, that would be great. I'd like to squeeze some more life out of this car, if possible. I'm sure our next question is going to be about replacing it!