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Why does my engine stop while driving?

My car: 1998 Nissan Pulsar n15 LX Sedan 1.6L incline 4 bcan15

While I’m driving my engine will stop, then I have to wait five minutes for it to start again. It happens more in hot weather. I don’t get any warning-lights leading up to it.

I’ve been having this problem for three months and just the other day I discovered my battery was flat. This is another clue because I definitely haven’t done anything that would cause that (i.e. I haven’t left the lights on at all) and the battery is less than 6months old. I realise this could be an alternator problem but I recently had it replaced so are there any other possibilities?

I saw a mechanic and he told me, next time it doesn’t start, it might help to hit the accelerator pedal. If this means anything to anyone: It did not help.


Does it crank (the motor turns with the starter) but not start? If that is the case, it sounds like a classic ignition system problem. Car gets hot, ignition component stops working when hot, car cools down, and will now re-start.

When the car stops, you need to try spraying some starter fluid into the engine when you try and start it. If it fires up, it is a fuel problem. If it doesn’t, check to see if there is spark. If this is already too deep for you, you need a better mechanic and time to leave the car with them to sort out the reason why it stops.

A failing crankshaft position sensor can cause the engine to shut off while driving.,1998,200sx,2.0l+l4,1316743,ignition,crankshaft+position+sensor,7196


If it stops for no reason, then cranks ok and starts up fine in 5 minutes, unlikely to be a battery or alternator problem. Good idea to check that the battery posts and connectors are clean and tight though.

I’ll venture three guesses

  • ignition switch – try driving w/just a single key in the ignition as an experiment
  • Tester’s idea above, crank position sensor (known to be heat sensitive)
  • Ignition module, also heat sensitive

All three of those would show up as a “no-spark”, so ask your shop to check for spark if you can get it to them when this is happening.