1996 Saturn Stalls/Loses Power Intermittently



My 1996 Saturn SL has been having intermittent stalling problems. Several times, I’d be driving down the road, and the car would momentarily shut off, then start back up again. Another time, the car had been acting fine, but I stopped at a gas station to fill up, and when I went to restart the car, the battery completely died and I had to get a jump start. The car acted fine for a while after that. Another time I pulled out of a parking space, and went to turn on the A/C and it stalled again, battery completely dead, had to get a jump start, and it acted fine for a while afterwards. Today, I went to turn left, tried to put on my turn signal, and it wasn’t working. About 2 seconds later, the car died. When we tried jump starting it, it started, but when I removed the jumper cables from my battery, it stalled and wouldn’t restart. Then we tried again, it started, but when I pushed on the brake pedal to put the car in gear, it stalled again, and subsequent attempts to jump start failed. I took the battery to the auto shop where I had bought it less than a year ago, and they tested it and said the battery was fine. I took the battery back and replaced it in the car, and it started up first time! No stalls in getting the car back to my house.

I’m planning on taking it in Monday, but would anyone have any experience with this type of problem?


I have had some experience, but it always had the same solution. I didn’t have the stalling problem, but I have had all the other symptoms. The best cause to have is a bad engine to body ground that only requires disconnecting the body end of the wire and scraping the connector clean. Likely to happen on cars built much earlier than yours. You could have corrosion with deposits on your battery connections, even if you have side terminals. We used to be able to pull the rubber back from the metal and scrape it clean. The ignition switch could be another culprit. I’m sure that there are some new things that I haven’t heard of too.