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PT Cruiser Dies When Starting

So… I have some friends who are snowbirds. While they’re gone, I keep an eye on their place and start their car, which is a PT Cruiser (2001, I think). It gets started about twice a month, and they always want me to run it for 10 minutes with the A/C on and another 10 with the A/C off. Which I do. About every other month, they reinstate the insurance so it can be driven around for a day or two.

I had just started it about 3 weeks ago… and it was fine… But, when I was over there the other day, it fired right up… then died. I did it again. Fired right up, and died. Did it again, this time with lots of gas. Fired right up… ran a little rough while I was giving it gas. And died immediately after I took my foot off the gas pedal.

I’m not a mechanic, but… can’t really figure out why it would start fine a few weeks ago, and then… this happens.

Also… where we live (desert southwest) little packrats gnawing on wires is a problem. They actually have a system rigged up where they leave the hood open and a light on a timer comes on at night and drives them away. They had a problem with them a couple years ago… and that was actually the first thing I thought of. Little packrats chewing on wires. But I checked thoroughly. NO SIGN of any critters.

So… do you think it could be the fuel filter? I have no idea. They’re set to come back at the end of this month, but I don’t think there’s anything I can do.

Like I said… battery is fine. It cranks over just fine. Just won’t keep running.

Have it towed to a good mechanic, there is nothing you can do.

And there is nothing you should do. Inform them that it will not run and that is the end of your chore. If they ask you to have it sent to a shop fine but you are not their mechanic. This comes under the no ggod deed goes unpunished file.

I’m pretty sure they have AAA and can have it towed to their nearby mechanic when they get here. They use one of the 5 star rated ones here on the Car Talk files, so I’m sure they’ll figure it out.

I guess I was just posting to see what the general consensus of opinion was… not so I could fix their’s, but in case the same thing (knock on wood) should ever (by chance) happen to me! LOL.

If you really want to help, get their AAA number and you can have it towed for them.

Remove the air filter housing cover and see if critters have built a nest in the housing.

If air can’t get into the engine, the engine won’t run.


That had actually not occurred to me (check the air filter housing for critters), but that is something easily doable by me. Thanks!!!