Car dies while stopped or while starting?

Okay so I have a 1998 Honda Civic LX model and it has aorund 250,000 miles. The engine has around 112k or so so it cant possibly be anything too bad. Recently, whenever I start my car it turns on for about 1 second then dies. and it happens randomly too. Yesterday night though it did it especially bad because I couldnt keep it running until the 4th or 5th time of trying to get it to keep running. Also earlier that night when i turned on the defrosters for the rear window I saw the HEADLIGHTS dim for a split second.. I looked it up online and I guess it's either my alternator is bad, or I need new spark plugs and wires. Any thoughts? I checked the spark plugs and I do need new ones because the electrodes are wearing out, so Im planning on changing them sometime next week, im just trying to figure out if its that, or the alternator so I can just buy the alternator at the time as well, or even sooner for that matter. I also might add that the dash and all the lights and stuff have been really dim too, which adds to the bad alternator, but I don't know if that adds to it. Thanks for the help! :)

Oh yeah! also, when I was checking the spark plugs one of the spark plugs had quite a bit of oil on it.. Do you think that might be it? None of the other spark plugs had oil, just one of them. If not, any help on what that might be? thanks.

3 Answers

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  • Frank
    Lv 6
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Change your fuel filter, those clog up after a while and this type of thing can happen (running for a moment then dying). Test your alternator with a voltage meter, measure the battery, then start the engine and measure again, the voltage should drop when you start it, then rise quickly to around 12.5+ volts while it's running, if it doesn't rise within about 30 seconds that means trouble with the alternator. Unlike hydraulic parts, alternators can be rebuilt successfully in most cases, a decent shop can do that for a lot less then a new one.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    It can be a multitude of things.

    It could be the spark plugs/ignition coils as they are responsible for firing the pistons in the engine. It could be a dirty fuel injector, intake value or combustion chamber, which will hamper the transfer of fuel to the engine. It could also be a bad fuel transfer unit or bad fuel pump. If either of them are failing, the fuel pressure won't be right and the engine will die.

  • 7 years ago

    Check and replace the ignition switch (The electrical part - not the ignition lock cylinder); the contacts wore out and will create the described symptoms.

    Want to fix it yourself? It will take about an hour or less. Go to the Auto part store and ask for the part then go home and there will be plenty of YouTube videos will show you how to replace it.

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