2000 Lincoln Town Car

My 80 year old dad’s fogey car, a 2000 Lincoln Town Car has intermittent starting problems. We replaced the battery one month ago. It cranks, but won’t turn over. The car is only driven about 20 miles or less per week. One time, we called a wrecker only to have it start and turn over and run perfectly before the wrecker arrived. Firestone could not diagnose the problem, and drove it around with no problems.

Today it will crank but not turn over. Is this a mechanical or computer problem?

Can you tie the starting problems to any specific weather conditions, or is it completely random?

It might be a problem with the gasoline. Gasoline doesn’t have a long shelf life, and at 20 miles per week or less it could be a while between fill-ups.

Dad should be adding fuel stabilizer to the gasoline to prevent trouble, and I would seriously consider having the fuel filter replaced if it has never been changed.

Firestone is a good place to go if you need tires, but perhaps not so good if you have a mechanical problem. I suggest you find an independent mechanic to test the ignition and fuel systems and figure out which is causing the starting difficulty.

I would also consider having someone drive the Town Car for 30 minutes or so at least once a month. A few miles at highway speed now and then will help, too. This will allow the engine, transmission, and differential to warm up to normal temperature.

The life the car is currently living qualifies it for the “severe service” maintenance schedule.

What do you mean by cranks but won’t turn over? That’s a contradiction. “Turn over” means that the starter is able to rotate the crankshaft of the engine. What is the starter doing if it is not doing this? Don’t you really mean that the engine turns over, but won’t start up and run?
(Getting your terms correct will reduce the confusion when you try to relate to a mechanic what the problem is.)

Two top possibilities:

  1. Is the PATS light flashing? If so, the theft prevention system is active. Try another key. Report back.
  2. Will it start if you give it a little pressure on the accel pedal? If so, it is the idle air control valve.

Crank it for a few seconds and then stop. Crank it again. Will it fire up the second time??