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Startup Issues | 1999 Chevy Cavalier

Hi, first time poster here. I’m having troubles with my Chevy Cavalier and getting stumped at this point as to what the next move might be.

I’m not super savvy with cars, so I’m not sure if I am giving enough details, but I’ll try to provide more detailed information if you need it.

The Car: 1999 chevy cavalier 2.2L OHV 2-door coupe

Background: Had this car for about 5 years now and it’s been steady and reliable. It’s never started up right away, usually taking a try or two before starting up. But, that’s never been a big issue. Recently however, the startup has been rougher and the engine shook a little more violently. Finally, it wouldn’t start at all last night, simply turning over but never starting up.

The Fixes: We replaced the starter and that helped get it started, but it still took 5-6 tries to get it finally running. It seemed to be idling high, so we kept going. The fuel pump seems to be in working order. So, we decided to replace the spark plugs and fuel filter. That seems to have made the car run better overall and the idling is less rough.

The issue: It also starts up better than ever… Only, not all the time. It’ll either start up right away or simply take several attempts to get it running. It seems to idle better now, but it’ll still dip slightly. The engine light will also come on sporadically. I’ll likely take it to AutoZone today if the engine light comes back on, but until then, I was hoping to see if any experts had some insight and knowledge that might be useful.

Thanks in advance!