Car shuts off while driving


#1

All,

I have a 1998 toyota sienna with 170k. Yesterday when I was driving on the highway, the car turned completely off, and then after about 2 seconds started back up again. When it turned off, the electronics turned off along with the engine. I had no brake power, lost power steering, and couldn’t even turn on the hazards.

It did it 2 more times before I got home.

The second time, I noticed that it did this when I turned on the headlights. This time the engine stayed on, but the speedometer and tachometer went nuts (bouncing up and down) and all of the console lights turned on and off. When I turned the headlights off, everything went ok.

When I got home and turned the car off, it went dead. Haven’t tried starting it today, but the battery light went on dimly when I put the key in.

Took a quick look at the battery. The terminals are corroded. I’m going to clean them today, and see if that helps, but I’m feeling that it won’t do much. The battery light didn’t turn on, so I’m thinking that the alternator is ok (am I wrong?). Since the electronics and brakes died when the engine died, I’m thinking it’s not the distributor coil.

Is my ecu fried?

Anyone had this problem?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.


#2

Sounds like a bad battery or bad connection to it.
The car’s electrical system depends on the battery to keep the system voltage stable.
When the battery can’t do that job strange things can happen when the load changes, like when turning on the headlights.
How old is the battery?
Clean the terminals properly (take them off and clean the mating surfaces) at least every year or two.
It’s possible there’s also a loose or corroded connection elsewhere.