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Help! My car dies while driving and won't start!


I own a 2001 Daewoo Lanos S which has about 96k miles.

Today, I was driving my car home and it just died with no warning or anything. I drove it earlier to work and back and even an extra stop and didn't even could tell that there was something wrong. The power didn't go out though like from the battery. I then tried to start it back up and it won't start now. Like the engine can't get that kick to start up. I was told the oil valve gasket(?) was leaking, but I checked it everytime before I drove it and it did have oil in the car. Also, I have had the problem of smelling gas inside the car when I fill it up (fuel filter??) I know that the Lanos did have a recall over the crankshaft sensor, so could that be it? I just don't have a lot of money to spend on random parts that won't fix it nor (unless I absolutely have to) go to a mechanic since I live with one, just need the part(s).

Was so excited too because I just found a replacement for my passenger window regulator. Thank you!

Just wondering if anyone else has gone through this that knows a bit more about cars than I do. Right now, everything rides on my car working so any help is appreciated.


  • It is hard to understand the symptoms as you've written them. The car died while you were driving. When you went to restart it what happened? The starting motor worked, or not? The starting motor sounded normal and the car was cranking normally, but didn't start? You get a clicking sound but no action from the starting motor? You get no action from the battery, lights work?

    You could have a bad alternator and your battery has run down to a point your car won't run. The crank position sensor could be bad. The motor could be seized up completely. Can't really tell whats wrong without hearing more details from OP on this one.
  • It wouldn't start when I tried to restart it like the engine wouldn't turn over. The lights and stuff work so I don't think it's the battery. I get a kind of clicking/grinding noise when I try to start it.
  • IT may be two problems: stalling and not restarting or it could be one problem.

    We'll assume it is one problem first:
    Did you check the cables from the battery to the starter and to the frame? Clean them off really well, make sure the wires going to the terminals are making good contact, etc.
    When you start and it just clicks, do the dash lights go off?

    If it ends up being two problems, the not starting part could be something related to the starter. Try whacking the starter by putting a piece of wood on it and hit the other side of the wood to see if it will start again.
  • edited June 2012
    From what you stated about the trouble it sounds like the engine is cranking ok when you try to start it but it won't fire up. A faulty crank sensor would be a good suspect in that case. There should be a code set in the ECU if that is the case. There could also be a problem with the fuel system or the ignition system. One easy trick you can do is spray a small amount of starter fluid into the intake of the engine and see if the engine fires up then. If it does then a fuel delivery problem is most likely causing the trouble. If the engine still doesn't fire up then the ignition system is suspect.

    You also stated you hear some not so ordinary noises when you crank the engine. This might indicate a pretty serious problem. I assume the engine uses timing belts and if it does and it has broken that would also cause the trouble but it will cost a lot more to fix that than other possible issues. If the timing belt hasn't been changed in the past, the mileage on the car is at a point where the belts can break. I hope this is not the case.

    Well my "mechanic" looked at it yesterday and said my starter was out. More specific the cylinder in the starter was out. I ordered a remanufactured starter from online and we're going to replace it to see if it works or what else maybe wrong with it. I'll try to keep ya'll updated.

    Btw, does anyone know if Daewoo would still cover the recall for the crank shaft/camshaft sensor since there was a recall in 2004?? Being hopeful here, lol. Anyway thanks for the help guys.
  • edited June 2012
    Starters have cylinders now? That's a new one..
    You may not have heard that correctly but a bad starter sounds like a very plausible cause.
  • Probably a bad starter solenoid. If the car had a factory recall I think their required to repair regardless of elapsed time if the recall repair has never been performed.
  • You didn't have to tell us you didn't know anything about cars.

  • oldtimer 11

    June 26

    You didn't have to tell us you didn't know anything about cars.
    I'm a gal that wasn't taught anything about cars ,except on how to drive one, that had to learn what I know now on my own. At least I'm trying to learn how to take car of my own car. I put my new window regulator in on my own and it works great. :) Lol, now I need to get it running.

    Anyway, back on topic.

    Still waiting on the starter, once we get that "new" one put in, we'll be able to see what else (if anything) could be wrong.

    Once again, I appreciate everyones' help and advice on here and will keep ya'll posted on what happens.
  • edited June 2012

    "Btw, does anyone know if Daewoo would still cover the recall for the crank shaft/camshaft sensor since there was a recall in 2004??"

    Ummmm...I hate to shock you, BoBrae, but Daewoo has not existed as a corporate entity since 2001, when they sold most of their assets to GM, and some other assets to one of the Indian car companies.

    For several years, GM was honoring Daewoo warranties, but...your warranty ran out long ago, and GM's direct involvement with these cars ran out at about the same time that your warranty expired. While recalls technically don't expire, the complicating factor here is that when GM declared bankruptcy and reorganized, they essentially washed their hands of old obligations, along with a lot of old debts. More than likely, the recall on your car is no longer being honored by GM, could check with a Chevy dealer to see what they have to say about this issue.

    Daewoos were never reliable cars when they were new, and as the years go on, they are certainly not aging well. Owning an "orphaned" car that never sold in large numbers to begin with, and that now has very limited parts availability, is not a good situation for the car's owner. I would strongly suggest that you think about searching for a replacement vehicle, from a company that still sells cars in the US.
    (Hint: Don't buy an Isuzu, a Sterling, or a Peugeot!)
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