Page updated on 06-19-2018

Engine "sputters" only when starting.

01-25-2010, 11:16 AM
:confused: I have a 1996 Lumina 3.1L with 220k miles that has begun sputtering (sometimes) when I try to start it. The problem seems to be getting worse (for about 2-3 weeks) and yesterday for the first time it would not fire at all. It also backfired once or twice yesterday for the first time. I let the car sit for about an hour (after tinkered under the hood without really doing anything) and when I came back to try again it started just fine! When it does sputter (during starting), the problem clears-up very quickly and the car runs great with plenty of power. I never have noticed a miss-fire when the car is running at speed or idling. At first I thought the problem was only when the engine was cold, but that theory was put to rest this morning, because it started just fine on the first try after sitting in a cold garage all night. Any Ideas?

01-25-2010, 11:27 AM
you say it runs fine once it is running? if thats the case then check the starter. Do you have a remote starter?

01-25-2010, 11:38 AM
I do not have a remote starter. When I turn the key it cranks great, but the engine just starts rough. (ie: sputters, backfires, etc...) After the engine sputters for a minute or so it clears-up and runs good.

01-25-2010, 01:07 PM
try putting some sea foam in the gas to clean up everything.

01-25-2010, 02:01 PM
:rofl: I live about 1,000 miles from the ocean... Any other ideas?

01-25-2010, 07:24 PM
go to the auto parts store and ask for sea foam. it cleans every part of the fuel system.

01-25-2010, 08:06 PM
I sounds like you think that there is water (and other junk) in the tank, lines, filter, etc. and that "sea foam" will handle it. I'm also assuming that you believe that this condition could just affect the car during startup, but not during normal driving conditions?

01-28-2010, 12:59 AM
Take it in to O'Reillys, Auto Zone, or another auto parts store that lets you "borrow" a tester to read the engine codes when starting the vehicle. Or take it to a reputable repair shop to have it checked (this may cost).

01-28-2010, 10:21 AM
I just took it to AutoZone and on the way to the store the check engine light turned off. They hooked up to the computer anyway and it reported P0300 - Random Miss-fires... No particular cylinders... just "random". BTW the car has been starting decent the last 2-3 days, it hasn’t sputtered since Sunday. I haven't put in the sea foam yet, but I plan on it this weekend.

Add your comment to this topic!