Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

1985 Olsmobile Car randomly will not start

My Mom has a 1985 Olds Delta 88. It has been a good car and only has 30,000 miles. Recently it will not start randomly. Like Mom drove it to the laundry mat then drove it to the grocery store from there. When she came out of the store it would not start. My brother-in-law went down about 1 hour later and the car started right up. This has happened a couple of times. It is only driven short trips in a very small town. This issue has stumped the local machanics. Any ideas?

The car needs to be seen by a mechanic when in failure mode so the culprit can be narrowed down. If the car will crank but will not start, my money would be on the ignition module. They are a fairly common problem and can be intermittent.

Thank you so much for the info. I will pass it to the mechanic.

I had a '77 Oldsmobile that had a similar problem. The contacts on the ignition module inside the distributer would get slightly corroded, enough to prevent contact, and the car would randomly stop, cool down a little, then start up again. I cleaned the 4 contacts and everything was fine. I had to do this about once a year. The contacts didn’t look dirty, but cleaning them did the trick.

The module has 4 contacts. Take off the distributer cap and you should see this white, ceramic, flat component with 4 contacts, one on each corner. Remove the wires one at a time and use an emery cloth to clean it up. Replace and go to the next one. Don’t drop anything down inside the distributer or you’ll have a real problem.