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My car died for my birthday

I went to pick up a teen to go for supper for our birthdays today and tomorrow. I let the car idle longer than expected, about 15 min. It is a 2000 Impala, 3.8 engine. It ran fine yesterday on a 60 mi. roundtrip and today for uptown errands. Tonight it was snowing and after idling fine, it started jumping and finally stopped a block down the road with battery line on then. It is a new battery. I had seen the service engine light for awhile, but think it went off about 2 weeks or so after the new battery was installed. So, tonight, we got going after it died and it seemed ok. Then it acted up badly after a short stop on our way. We had only gone a short distance a few blocks and it was jumping and acting as if to die again. I pulled over and I think restarted once and when I gave gas to get it going well, it clunked a lot up front. Any suggestions? I did use a new gas lately V Power Shell with nitrogen. Thanks for the help.

Have you checked the oil level in the motor by pulling the dipstick?

The symptoms you are giving, jumping and acting like it is dying, are very hard to associate to any particular problem.

Did the temperature guage stay in the normal range, or was it up toward the H for hot?

Happy birthday!

First off, I’m sure the new battery eventually cured your Service Engine Soon light, albeit 2 weeks later.


You may have a fuel delivery problem, overheated engine, or you may have a bad alternator. You didn’t say whether the battery light was on BEFORE the engine died. Of course, the battery light will be on after the engine dies because the alternator is not turning.

You need to find out if the fuel injection rails are seeing about 60 psi of fuel pressure. Then, you need to purge the rail and see if there is any water in the fuel. Then you need to check the battery for 12.2-12.6 volts. Then check for 13.6-14.2 volts with the engine running.

After that, collect your notes from high school chemistry and ask yourself why anyone would want nitrogen in their gasoline…

Thanks! I will check the oil tomorrow. It was too dark tonight. I didn’t notice any change in the temp gauge but could maybe try a short run and check it out while close to home.

Thank you too. I don’t think it overheated because we stopped and shopped at the pharmacy after we left her house and it seemed to be running better. Then it ran and started the chugging somewhat lie when my folks old van needed feathering of the gas as a poor carbuetor. However, it really clunked when I tried to push on the gas as if to break through the problem. I wondered about that gas too; all the pumps had the nitrogen. I wondered about the fuel injectors–rails. Not sure if the battery light came on right before or after the dying, but that was only once, but it was running bumpy and really noisy when I tried to press ahrd on the gas.Tchanks to you all for help. We have an uncle who is a little car savvy and he suggested I ask here and I appreciate the ideas. I just had to buy a new furnace so if we can get this figured out on our own, it would be great.

Your car has the mileage where some people have a problem with a dirty fuel filter. Change the fuel filter. It’s under the car, near the gas tank. The brand of gasoline is not a factor.

Happy birthdays.
Sounds much like my late mother and my daughter. They share the same birth date and would make an entire week out of it.

I vote for fuel filter first and check air filter too.

Thanks, I’m getting a ride to pick up filter today.