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

1988 Mustang - Starting Hesitation

Hello.

For the past year or so, after I’ve driven a while, e.g., home from work, and I stop at Rite Aid, when I come back out, my car doesn’t want to start. It makes that slow uuuUH … uuuUH sound like when you jump a dead battery. This only happens when it’s hot. It will eventually turn over, but it’s making me nervous. Any ideas or suggestions? Thank you!

How old is the battery?
Have you tried cleaning the battery post connections?

Thank you for answering me. I don’t know how old the battery is. To clean the posts I use baking soda and water and a toothbrush, right?

If it’s the posts (and it may well be – I haven’t looked at them in ages) why would it only be that way when the engine is hot? I don’t have a problem starting it in the a.m.

An engine that is hot is sometimes harder to turn over than a cold engine. Furthermore, a starter can become heat soaked and cause this condition. To clean the terminals, purchase a terminal puller and terminal brush from an auto parts store or possibly even WalMart. This should cost you less than $10. You have to remove the terminals from the battery. Remove the negative terminal first with the puller. One end of the brush will fit over the terminal. Twist it back and forth to clean the terminal. Put the other end of the brush into the cable end and twist it back ond forth. Repeat the same process with the postive cable. Reconnect the positive cable first, then the negative cable. For an additional couple of dollars, you can buy a tube of anti corrosion jelly to spread on the terminals to slow down the corrosion.

If this procedure doesn’t work, have the battery tested. It may be near the end of its useful life.

There is an Auto Zone in the strip mall on the way home. I’ll stop by and see if they’ve got that stuff. Thank you so much for the info – I didn’t realize there were procedures! Thanks!