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Car stalled at light

I have a 2003 Ford Taurus with over 117,000 miles on it. I use the car to get home from Texas to Florida about twice a year, but otherwise hardly touch it since I’m a college student. I’ve noticed lately that the car has been jumping when either waiting at a light or driving at lower speeds.

However, yesterday something strange happened. I was waiting at a light and the car started bucking more than usual. It was at night, so the dashboard lights started fading and the car stopped. The air and radio worked still after the car shut off, but the car wouldn’t move. I tried cranking it, but it wouldn’t crank. I pulled the keys out, cranked and it started it successfully. While it waited at the light it bucked violently. Then, when the light turned green it ran no problem like it normally does at normal speeds. When I got to my car parked at my place, I let it sit in the parking lot for five minutes running and it didn’t buck once.

I am about due for an oil change. I haven’t reached 3,000 miles yet, but my last change was in August. I’ve read a few other topics with similar problems on here and people have suggested transmission flushes. I did have my transmission fluid flushed at about 70,000 miles. Is it possibly due for another one?

Thanks in advance for any help.


I’d check the battery connections first. Also check the ground connections from the negative terminal of the battery going to the frame and from the frame to the engine.

Check battery connections, have the charging system checked and have the battery load tested. If the car is driven infrequently it could be as simple as a bad battery or low on charge. Unlike cars of the '60’s and 70’s newer cars that have computer management will not run properly if the battery gets weak or is in bad condition, because nearly everything is electronically controlled.