My son is going to college in Oklahoma and we live in New Hampshire. We bought him a 2001 Nissan Altima in May. It had 67000 miles on it. Him and I drove it to Oklahoma in early June. In July he called me and said it started having a problem where either when he first starts it in the morning or while driving when he stops at light, the car will not go. The engine is on but all the lights come on the dashboard and the car will not move. He shuts it off and restarts it…it then goes. I had him take it to a transmission specialist and two general automotive shops and none of them can find the problem. They flush the transmission and put the car on their computers and get no errors. He is about to drive from Oklahoma to New Hampshire alone and he is obviously nervous? Any ideas what the problem is…it may happen 8 times in a day or go days without occurring at all?
This sounds very much to me like the engine is stalling. He may have the key in “on”, but the engine may have stopped running.
There are a number of possibilities for this, but if it were me and there were no stored fault codes I’d look at the Idle Air Control circuit and check for poor fuel pressure.
If I’m right, and if he’s unable to get it diagnosed before his trip, it might be comforting to know that it should be able to reliably restart and that the engine won’t get trashed doing this. But I’d be sure he has an AAA card as well as a list of all the AAA aproved garages and the Nissan dealerships along his trip. The AAA office can help him with this.
The condition is a PITA, but it is not dangerous as long as he avoids driving through the heart of any big cities except where absolutely necessary.
Thanks for your input. My sone says the engine is still on when this happens. When he starts it in the morning it starts but won’t move. The steering wheel is stuck and all the lights are on the dashboard. When he pumps the gas nothing happens. If he shuts it off and starts it again it works. He will then drive for awhile with no issues. But then when he stops at a light it won’t move. The steering wheel is stuck and all the lights on the dashboard are on. He shuts it off and starts up again no issues. He can go for days without a problem and then one day have it happen all day.