Saturn Aura occasionally decelerates during highway driving - gas pedal doesn't respond

I have a 2008 Saturn Aura. Last spring I had an incident where I was driving on a highway (60mph or >) and the car started to decelerate and the gas pedal didn’t respond. I pulled off the road, and the car wouldn’t start, but the radio worked. By the time AAA came, the car started and I didn’t have another problem for 10 months. I did take it to the dealer after the first episode, and they couldn’t find anything. Recently I had 2 similar episodes on the same day, one hour apart. I was again driving on a highway. After 5-10 mins, the car was able to be started again. I feel like it’s a waste of money to take the car in to the dealer again, since they didn’t find anything the first time. Has anyone had anything like this happen? Any idea what might cause this to happen? I appreciate any responses.

Any front panel lights on? check engine light on?

When you say “won’t start”, exactly what do you mean? Does the starter run (whirr-whirr sound)? or not? What exactly happens when you try to start it?

No warning lights came on. When I first try to start the car, the lights on the panel come on, but the engine won’t turn over and stay on. But after 5 mins, the car started just fine.

does motor shut off at 60mph? Or keep running but does not rev when gas pedal is pushed? U say decelerates? Do u mean it dies? Yes, if motor shuts off I can see car slowing down. So it goes from slowing down to off and u cannot even crank motor? Does the car have a elec throttle body? Most saturns did have the crappy design. Reduced power warning?

Trish: Please be clear. “engine won’t turn over” ? do you mean the starter doesn’t run (Whirr-whirr sound) ? or do you mean the starter runs but the engine doesn’t “catch” or start running?

“the car started to decelerate and the gas pedal didn’t respond” at 60 MPH? I assume you mean the engine died?

In the eighties an old O2 sensor would cause this. Usually you get a surge of power after a second or two. Anything worse and you may have one of those “computer related” problems which I have bad dreams about.

Tell your mechanic to put a new “crankshaft position sensor” on the engine.

I hate my 2010 Kia (mind of it’s own) electronic throttle. Another thing “fixed” that was not broke.

Sounds to me like the engine is simply dying… and having a hard time starting again. Insightful’s CPS suggestion is one possibility, and a good one considering that it’s not an uncommon cause, as are others that might cut the spark or fuel during operation.

Personally, I’d want to put an engine analyzer on it for starters.

The first things I guess I’d be suspicious of if it happened on my Corolla are

  • Ignition switch
  • Fuel pump relay
  • Fuel pump

You’ll probably continue to have difficulties getting a correct diagnosis from any shop until the car completely dies and you have it towed to the shop, where it still won’t start. If you can somehow make that happen, the shop will have a good chance at figuring this out. Until then, be sure to bring your cell phone with you.

Suspect crankshaft position sensor.

Place transmission into Neutral and coast. Signal right and change lanes into the right lane when able.
Keep trying to restart while coasting.