CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Saturn wagon problem

I have a 2003 Saturn wagon that I picked up pretty cheap. Sometimes before it’s warmed up the check engine light will blink while I’m accelerating and the car will run all choppy until my desired speed is reached and then it will smooth out. I think that a blinking check engine light means a misfire. Anyway yesterday it was doing this choppy thing that it does but it never smoothed out and then after getting on tbe onramp the engine died entirely. It won’t start now. It will sometimes and run for a few seconds but that’s it. Then it dies again. Does anyone have any ideas about what could be wrong? I don’t hsve an OBD reader but I’m guessing coilpacks. Also is there any way to turn the headlights off when not needed?

Are you confusing the DRL ( Daylight Running Lights ) with the actual headlights ?

1 Like

I would skip the preliminaries and do a compression test.

1 Like

If the check engine light is blinking… that is BAD. Much more than just being ON. Damage is being done.

Then get one. Anything else is a wild guess that will result in you spending money on parts that won’t fix your car.

Hmm. Flashing check engine light, running badly, and then suddenly shutting down and won’t restart?

I’d be considering my options for a new car. Hopefully I’m wrong.

Is this the one with the beautiful looking 3.0 Opel engine, One of my granddaughters had one and It started running badly and no one in the small town she lived in had a clue. I spoke to my mechanic about it and he said, don’t bring it to me, I have been stuck with two of them when people abandon them because of the cost of repairs. They come in with one problem and along the way you find others.

Fortunately she found a semi-retired German mechanic who took it in as a project. I know he had to make a fixture to hold the cams while replacing the timing belt and suspect he did something unlawful to the 4 converters that are $1000 each. He told her to sell it while it is running good.