Help! My car dies while driving and won't start!


I own a 2001 Daewoo Lanos S which has about 96k miles.

Today, I was driving my car home and it just died with no warning or anything. I drove it earlier to work and back and even an extra stop and didn’t even could tell that there was something wrong. The power didn’t go out though like from the battery. I then tried to start it back up and it won’t start now. Like the engine can’t get that kick to start up. I was told the oil valve gasket(?) was leaking, but I checked it everytime before I drove it and it did have oil in the car. Also, I have had the problem of smelling gas inside the car when I fill it up (fuel filter??) I know that the Lanos did have a recall over the crankshaft sensor, so could that be it? I just don’t have a lot of money to spend on random parts that won’t fix it nor (unless I absolutely have to) go to a mechanic since I live with one, just need the part(s).

Was so excited too because I just found a replacement for my passenger window regulator. Thank you!

Just wondering if anyone else has gone through this that knows a bit more about cars than I do. Right now, everything rides on my car working so any help is appreciated.

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It is hard to understand the symptoms as you’ve written them. The car died while you were driving. When you went to restart it what happened? The starting motor worked, or not? The starting motor sounded normal and the car was cranking normally, but didn’t start? You get a clicking sound but no action from the starting motor? You get no action from the battery, lights work?

You could have a bad alternator and your battery has run down to a point your car won’t run. The crank position sensor could be bad. The motor could be seized up completely. Can’t really tell whats wrong without hearing more details from OP on this one.

It wouldn’t start when I tried to restart it like the engine wouldn’t turn over. The lights and stuff work so I don’t think it’s the battery. I get a kind of clicking/grinding noise when I try to start it.

IT may be two problems: stalling and not restarting or it could be one problem.

We’ll assume it is one problem first:
Did you check the cables from the battery to the starter and to the frame? Clean them off really well, make sure the wires going to the terminals are making good contact, etc.
When you start and it just clicks, do the dash lights go off?

If it ends up being two problems, the not starting part could be something related to the starter. Try whacking the starter by putting a piece of wood on it and hit the other side of the wood to see if it will start again.

From what you stated about the trouble it sounds like the engine is cranking ok when you try to start it but it won’t fire up. A faulty crank sensor would be a good suspect in that case. There should be a code set in the ECU if that is the case. There could also be a problem with the fuel system or the ignition system. One easy trick you can do is spray a small amount of starter fluid into the intake of the engine and see if the engine fires up then. If it does then a fuel delivery problem is most likely causing the trouble. If the engine still doesn’t fire up then the ignition system is suspect.

You also stated you hear some not so ordinary noises when you crank the engine. This might indicate a pretty serious problem. I assume the engine uses timing belts and if it does and it has broken that would also cause the trouble but it will cost a lot more to fix that than other possible issues. If the timing belt hasn’t been changed in the past, the mileage on the car is at a point where the belts can break. I hope this is not the case.


Well my “mechanic” looked at it yesterday and said my starter was out. More specific the cylinder in the starter was out. I ordered a remanufactured starter from online and we’re going to replace it to see if it works or what else maybe wrong with it. I’ll try to keep ya’ll updated.

Btw, does anyone know if Daewoo would still cover the recall for the crank shaft/camshaft sensor since there was a recall in 2004?? Being hopeful here, lol. Anyway thanks for the help guys.

Starters have cylinders now? That’s a new one…
You may not have heard that correctly but a bad starter sounds like a very plausible cause.

Probably a bad starter solenoid. If the car had a factory recall I think their required to repair regardless of elapsed time if the recall repair has never been performed.

You didn’t have to tell us you didn’t know anything about cars.

oldtimer 11

June 26

You didn’t have to tell us you didn’t know anything about cars.

I’m a gal that wasn’t taught anything about cars ,except on how to drive one, that had to learn what I know now on my own. At least I’m trying to learn how to take car of my own car. I put my new window regulator in on my own and it works great. :slight_smile: Lol, now I need to get it running.

Anyway, back on topic.

Still waiting on the starter, once we get that “new” one put in, we’ll be able to see what else (if anything) could be wrong.

Once again, I appreciate everyones’ help and advice on here and will keep ya’ll posted on what happens.

“Btw, does anyone know if Daewoo would still cover the recall for the crank shaft/camshaft sensor since there was a recall in 2004??”

Ummmm…I hate to shock you, BoBrae, but Daewoo has not existed as a corporate entity since 2001, when they sold most of their assets to GM, and some other assets to one of the Indian car companies.

For several years, GM was honoring Daewoo warranties, but…your warranty ran out long ago, and GM’s direct involvement with these cars ran out at about the same time that your warranty expired. While recalls technically don’t expire, the complicating factor here is that when GM declared bankruptcy and reorganized, they essentially washed their hands of old obligations, along with a lot of old debts. More than likely, the recall on your car is no longer being honored by GM, but…you could check with a Chevy dealer to see what they have to say about this issue.

Daewoos were never reliable cars when they were new, and as the years go on, they are certainly not aging well. Owning an “orphaned” car that never sold in large numbers to begin with, and that now has very limited parts availability, is not a good situation for the car’s owner. I would strongly suggest that you think about searching for a replacement vehicle, from a company that still sells cars in the US.
(Hint: Don’t buy an Isuzu, a Sterling, or a Peugeot!)

The problem is I didn’t even buy the car a year ago and it took me a long time to save up for it since I don’t make much money. I read reviews online saying the car was a good economic reliable car. What’s sad is I spend almost a year looking when I did have the money saved up and this was the best one I could find in my price range. Any Ford or Toyota cars or even Chevy were unrealistically high for cars with 130k+ miles and most had bad body damage. I wanted a Ford Focus, but any within my price range (under $3k) were in terrible shape. The motor mount was loose on one and the car shook so bad.

@Bo Brae, the price of used cars have gone up tremendously in the past several years. It’s nearly impossible to find anything that runs for under $1K, even then it’s likely it will need an additional $1-2K worth of repairs just to make it reliable unless you can do the work yourself. My wife had an '87 Chevy Celebrity that had been in an accident before she bought it that damaged the front bumper, grill, both front fenders, the hood/roof/trunk are all covered with rust and there’s no weather stripping in either of the front doors. She put it up for sale for $400 and the first person who looked at it bought it. The car ran good and didn’t need any repairs other than front brakes, but it sure was ugly. We could have sold it for scrap metal for about $300, but figured if we could sell it for $400 we would make a little extra and it would make someone who needed a car and didn’t have much money a good daily driver. The person who bought it was a single mother who needed transportation, but didn’t have much money and she was tickled to death to get it for $400. Even if the car only lasts her a year she can sell it for scrap and get most of her money back. We could have probably got $500-$600 for it if we’d ask, but were just trying to help someone that could get some use out of it instead of sending it to the crusher. When my wife bought it several years ago to learn how to drive it wasn’t running right, she paid $75 for the car and I went to a junk yard and bought a used coil pack for $25 and put it on for her and it ran fine. When she sold it the car had about 189K miles and only used about half a quart of oil between 5K mile oil changes, the transmission still shifted good and it had good cold a/c. Most people wouldn’t have bought it simply because it was so ugly, but it’s probably in better condition mechanically than 90% of the cars that are selling for $1000-$1500.

Something similar happened to me. While I was driving my 2001 Nissan Maxima, and ready to turn to another street the car died completely (all lights came on and steering wheel locked). I waited 10 minutes and then started it again and it did. I had the car towed to the dealer and they run all the diagnostic on the car twice, the tech drove the car quite a few time during the afternoon while the car was at the dealer, and the result was: Everything in the car is correct, is running like is supposed to, and all the codes(?) were OK. Then can’t figure out why it happened. Now I am driving it but I am afraid it would happen again while driving on the highway. Any comments please?

Just to be clear, a starter failure would not cause the car to stall in the first place. It would be a coincidence that the starter motor went out at the same time. So even with the starter I think you are going to have a problem. Battery or charging system, or crank sensor or other items. If you have good battery power, and the starting motor works but the car won’t start, first thing is to check for fuel pressure or listen for the fuel pump to run. Then check for spark. If no spark, then could be crank sensor etc.

Does the fact that you can only find parts for this car online concern you? You searched high and low and thought you scored a great deal on al 13 yr old, 96k miles car when all the competition like Honda Toyota were 50% more expensive? That’s because your car is not very desirable. What good is a “nice” car that breaks down? Or you can’t find parts? Or no dealers?

so i have a 2000 honda civic ex, i recently got the ecm, elv module,wiring harnest and a new fuse box put in it, everything was going perfect until two days after i was driving it and it cut off ,took a while to crank up but it did. the next day i was driving on the highway and it cut off, but all my lights and radio was still working just the car would not start back up, i took it to the shop that had did the ecm wiring harness etc to the car, they diaogstic was a bad battery and a altenator,and a throttle body(but the was drivivng the car with the check engine light on cause iknew it was the throttle body when i got a new engine in the car way before i got the wiring harness, ecm ,fuse box and elv mdule on the car) they where charging me 1k to fix the battery,altenator,and throttle body that they claim was the problem that cause the car to cut on on the highway

are you asking for advise or contributing to the original thread?

original problem discussion is 5 years old and about different car, so start your own thread if need help with your civic

You just tagged onto a thread that started in 2012 and it seems that you are promoting your web site . Therefore you can count on being flagged as Spam .


Do you still have the car? I also own a Daewoo Lanos, a 2002 model with the 1.6L engine. I have had issues with it misfiring at idle (does not set a code) or while driving over 71 MPH on the freeway (sets a P0300 code, and then the CEL blinks until the engine is turned off). I have had more than one professional mechanic look at this car, and no one can figure out the problem.

I was not aware that the crankshaft position sensor was ever recalled, however I remember reading that the camshaft position sensor was. I already replaced that myself, and it made no difference. The new one looked exactly the same as the old one, and had the same resistance. I may try replacing the crankshaft position sensor, since I already bought one, but just never got around to installing it. Was that the problem on your car?