Car suddenly shuts off

Car is a 2004 chevy classic with the 2.2l ecotec… About 276k on the clock.

I clocked out of work earlier and was rolling through the line in the parking lot waiting my turn to get out. While I was stopped for a brief moment, suddenly and without warning or any other issues, the engine cuts clean off as if I turned the key off. It didn’t bog down first, the RPM just dropped cleanly and it died. I’m assuming it’s not a fuel delivery issue based on that, I’m also assuming it’s cam/crank sensor related. That’s why I come to you guys though because I know it’s bad to assume lol.

This isn’t the first time this happened. It happened a few months ago during the summer in the same exact parking lot right as I was leaving work. The first time I chalked it up to a fluke because it turned right back on and ran without issue. Same thing this time around. Drove it home no problem.

No check engine light, no codes, except for a stored bank 1 sensor 1 code which I’ve had for a while now. I’ve also got a very intermittent p0172 that comes and goes. Don’t have it now and it’s been at least a month since I saw that code pending.

How do I go about this?

When someone came to the shop with that symptom, the first thing I suspected was a bad crank sensor

The problem is, to test for a bad crank sensor it has to fail at that time.

So, all you can do is replace it and see if that fixes the stalling.

Because one these times, the engine is going to shut off and not restart.


Many possibilities, but my guess is a faulty ignition switch. Try driving using only the single key, nothing attached or dangling. Eventually you won’t be able to restart the engine. That seems bad, but it is actually good b/c your shop should be able to figure out the cause.

It’s possible sometimes for a diy’er to determine if the cause is spark or fuel, but the problem would have to be manifesting at the time.


That was exactly my conditions. Replaced a lot of stuff and with two shops, never did solve the problem. You might get lucky with rhe crank sensor. Lots of other stuff to try but would be nice to see the fuel pressure and if you lost spark when it happens.

IIRC there was a spate of bad ignition switches on some GM cars some years ago. Yours might be part of a recall or other special GM program; your VIN will determine that. Even if not, that switch could be bad.

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Great info here guys. I think I’ll replace the crank sensor as suggested and hopefully it solves it. Seems pretty cheap. There a relearn procedure?

As for the ignition switch, I think it has actually been replaced once before so It shouldn’t be the original. I tried jiggling the key around a little bit while it was running to see if I could get something interesting to happen but nothing.


That makes sense. No relearn needed.

On my Pontiac the sensor had to be synced to the pcm with a tech 2. So it was not a diy job. Might want to check if chev is the same.