We have a 1996 Cierra SL with a little over 104,000 miles. Sometimes we have a problem starting it. The motor will turn over and sometimes catch and stop. There does not seem to be a pattern as to when this happens. After a while it will start, but we’re not sure why it refuses to start and what causes it to finally start. Possibly it starts after a short (few minutes) rest. This is happening more frequently. Can you give us any suggestions as to what might be wrong?
A car needs three things to run: Fuel, Spark and compression.
Spark is the easiest to test. The next time it fails to start, pull the wire ( hold the socket not the wire) off one plug insert the spare plug you are going to buy today and holding it with an insolated tool press the base tight against a clean solid part of the engine. Have some crank the engine while you look for a nice blue spark.
If you have spark, you next need to check for fuel. Removing a spark plug after it has failed to start should show wet fuel on it.
Of course if you don’t know if the spark plugs, wires and fuel filter are not past due for replacement, I would start by doing that fiest.