Car will randomly not start

For about the last two years or so, my 2001 Saturn SC2 will every once in awhile not start up. I looked at the several posts about this, but my problem seems different…my starter turns, the engine starts, but only stays on for a fraction of a second (it dies right away). Usually I wait for 10-30 minutes, and then I try again, and it starts up normal. Nobody seems to know what’s wrong with the car, it always starts fine for the mechanics. I haven’t found any consistency with the weather, time of day, or how much I’ve been driving it. Also, the time in between non-starts is not regular - it has happened 3 times in one week, and then I didn’t have a problem for months. It is truly random. I highly doubt its a battery problem - I’ve listened to the radio waiting for my car to start! It is starting to get SO frustrating - I am afraid to turn off my car because I’m not sure it will start again! I’m wondering if anyone has had this problem and if there is a solution that my mechanics are missing. Thanks.

Does it tend to happen when the car has been sitting for a while? Or can this no start happen, even after minutes of stopping and restarting it?

I would also suggest checking all the electrical connections.

Yes, sometimes it happens when I’m out and about. There’s really no pattern to the timing of the malfunction. That link is helpful, but I’m afraid it might not apply to my problem…you see the engine actually does start, it just dies right away. I’ve also been told it might be bad gas, this problem only started when I moved to eastern Virginia, where there’s a lot of ground water that might be seeping into the underground tanks at gas stations. Thanks everyone.

Get into the habit for a while to turn the key to the position right before start, turn the key off and turn it back on, repeating that sequence maybe five times. Then turn the key to actually start the car. See if that consistently makes it start. There’s supposed to be some gas in the lines going from the pump to the injectors. It could be bleeding off. Doing that procedure primes the system. Do it for a while and report back.


Does the security light flash, or stay on, when it starts and dies?

The check valve for the fuel line might be leaking and fuel is leaking back into the tank so the engine isn’t getting the required amount of fuel at first. If the trouble only happens after the car is parked for a while that could be what is going on. There could also be a problem with the igntion system and might be hard to pin down the trouble since it is so intermittent.