I have a 2002 PT Cruiser. I have recently been experiencing some problems with it that no one at the dealer can solve. It started with going to start the car one day and nothing happening. No clicking, no half start, nothing just silence. All the lights would come on, radio, etc. like the key was on but the car would not start. I tried it twice with nothing and on the third time it started like normal and nothing else happened. A day went by and then I was driving highway speed and the car stalled for a second and turned itself back on. Speedometer and Tac both dropped and came back up. The car shook and then it was over. Then it started to do it more than once a day. Then it started to completely kill and I would have to coast to a stop. All the lights were on as well as the radio, the engine was not. I coasted to a stop and tried to start it…nothing. Same as before only this time I tried it about 8 times with nothing. So I sat there for a few minutes wondering what to do and tried it one more time and it started. Later that same day when I tried to start the car again after sitting for at least 5 hours, again there was nothing. For at least 10 times. then it started again. Then, one day When I was idling for about 10 minutes it started to get hot. So I left where I was and started for home. It killed, I coasted, it started right up first time. A few more miles down the road it killed again, I coasted, it started up but didnt want to stay started. I revved the engine and it stayed started with a loud belt squeal. Within ten miles it stalled and started itself MANY times. I took it to a Chrysler Dealer shop. The only thing they found was a short in the Radiator fan. They unhooked it and told me to drive it for a week and see if it would do it again. I left and it stalled and started again twice on the way home within 10 minutes of driving. The day after next I took it back to the shop they had it all day. The technician drove it as well as the shop Manager and neither had a problem. They put 40 miles on with no problems. It was fine for about 4 short trips. Then it started doing it again. Intermittent stalling. I have to coast to a stop and sit for about 5 minutes and then it will start. then today I drove it for half an hour with no problems. Let it sit for a few hours, went to start it and it wouldnt start no matter how many times I tried. I let it sit for a half an hour and it started. Now when i took it to the dealer they said that they called to Chrysler for any bulletin updates, etc. They did diagnostic tests and the whole thing, they cant find anything wrong other than the radiator fan short. But even with that disconnected it still is doing it. They said that it needs to do it on a more frequent basis like everytime I drive it(which it is pretty darn near) or let it get to where I just cant start it and tow it in. I had my battery and alternator checked and they are both fine. All of this has transpired with in the last two weeks. WHAT IS GOING ON? and more importantly…HOW CAN I FIX IT(so it wont send me to the poorhouse!?)
The dealer doesn’t have it going on. Ask around, from people you meet, for a good independent shop. There will be one who knows how to troubleshoot.
Have a mechanic show you how to check for spark and how to use starter fluid for starting. Then when the engine will not start do the test to see if spark is missing. If there is spark, squirt some starter fluid into the throttle body and see if the engine will catch momentarily. If you find that you have spark and the starting fluid does not work, check the timing of the spark if you have a timing light and know how to use it. Practice ahead of time to see where the timing for #1 spark plug reads on the timing reference while cranking when the engine will start. Timing might be off intermittantly. At least if you can narrow the problem to one system for the mechanic, then they may be able to zero in on it. The mechanic may have to do a ‘shot gun’ approach by changing parts if he/she cannot get the problem to rear its head on a regular basis.
I am betting on the ignition switch.
Hope that helps. Get back to us when you solve the problem