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99 Cavalier shut down after turning on A/C


I have a 1999 Chevy Cavalier with 103,000 miles on it. I had just started out for school (going about 15 mph) and turned on the A/C when the car shut down. The oil and battery lights turned on when it shut down.

I was able to promptly restart the car, and it got me to my destination in seemingly normal fashion.

My questions:

1) What could be behind this?

2) Is this indicative of impending doom for the Cav?

Thanks for any input.

When you turn on the AC the compressor kicks in, and this puts a load on the engine. If everything isn’t just right (all maintenance up to date, etc) this load might be enough to stall the engine.

If this only happened one time, and the engine and the AC are now working normally, I wouldn’t worry about it.

It is certainly not a sign of impending doom.

If it continues to happen take the car to your mechanic and let him or her check it out.

Thanks, I suppose it is better to turn the A/C on before starting down the road.

No, it shouldn’t make any difference. You should be able to turn the AC on at any time. Actually, when you’re already driving turning on the AC should have LESS impact then turning it on when the engine is idling.

I’m just wondering whether I should take this as a sign to sell now (before the next major repair) and move on to something a little newer (I commute 150 miles/4 days a week)…Thanks again for the info.

You need a mechanic to check it out. When the A/C is turned on, it tells the engine computer. The engine computer orders more fuel and air to make the engine run stronger. The mechanic needs to check that that signal is being sent to the engine computer; that the engine computer is sending out the orders; and that the idle air control valve, and fuel injectors, are responding correctly.