Starting issues in modern fuel injected cars

Saturn Won't Start

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Hi Bob,
I have a problem with my 2002 Saturn L200. In the last few weeks, I have felt that the car seemed to be taking a little longer each time it started. On Friday, I had to hit the gas to start it. It hesitated a few more times during the day, but for the most part, it turned right over (was turned on and off many times). On Saturday, it definitely took more pumping and longer to start. Today, it would not turn over at all, even after pumping a few times. I waited for awhile and still no luck.

I looked through some message boards and one guy was saying how he had to dismantle his security setting and that fixed his problem after his car would not start. I tried that (did not think it could hurt it try) and the car started right up. I have a sinking feeling that this is just a coincidence, since I have felt hesitation for awhile. That doesn't seem to "fit" having anything to do with security. I purchased the car in December last year with 70,000 miles, from a Saturn dealer (with carfax info). I also bought the warranty but am worried that if they tow me and it's not covered on the warranty I will have a hefty bill on my hands. Not to mention, I cannot be without a car, as I use it for work.

I think that it has something to do with the fuel. This all seems to have started happening when I switched to a "cheapo" gas station. Could it be as simple as "bad gas"? Or maybe the fuel pump? Most people I have talked to that know anything about cars say that "gas is gas." Any suggestions?

First off, on modern fuel injected cars, pumping the gas pedal (like on old carburetor engines) does absolutely nothing to help you start the car. In addition, it could be dangerous. You see, what the pumping action does in a carburetor is add more fuel. It is called the accelerator pump. In fuel injected engines, there is a similar situation, except it just adds more fuel through the fuel injectors for a brief moment. The reason that pumping a fuel-injected car does nothing is that without the engine running, the accelerator circuit is not active. The danger comes into play if you are pumping when the engine starts. This could add too much fuel to the mixture and cause issues. There have been reports of such bad backfires that the top of the motor blows off! The better way to "pump" your engine is to key on for three seconds and then key off. Then key on for three seconds and key off. This action turns on the fuel pump and pressurizes the fuel lines. My guess is that your fuel pump is weak, fuel filter is clogged, or fuel pressure regulator is defective.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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