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2004 Corolla Died, Starts then Dies again

As I was driving, doing about 70 with cruise control on, the car lost power/died with a brief spike in rpm, as I pulled over to the shoulder, the engine when completely dead. When I tried to restart it immediately, there was almost no reaction, maybe a slight turn or two and a subtle whirring noise with the dash lights going dim as I cranked. If I wait an hour or so the car will barely start up with some rumbling then quickly die soon after. At most I can get it to go a hundred yards or so if I pump the gas a bit, but then rumbling and dying out happens soon after. Oil was low. Any ideas? Thanks

-Hopeless Commuter

How low was it?
If it was down “only” a quart or two, then this might not be too bad a situation.
If the oil was extremely low, then it is entirely possible that the engine is now… toast.


The problem may be a bad crankshaft position sensor.

The tach gets its signal from the crank sensor. And what you might have seen was the crank sensor giving up the ghost.