Car Only Starts When Engine is Cold

Asked by Mar 02, 2016 at 03:26 PM about the 2002 Chevrolet Malibu Base

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My '02 Chevy Malibu will only start when the engine is cold. I'll turn the ignition
and it will crank and crank like it wants to start, but it won't. I took it into the
mechanics, but they had a hard time replicating the issue. They said they did
see an error code for the Mass Airflow Sensor, which they replaced. But the
issue persists.
I checked the spark plugs, and there is spark. If I crank too long, I can smell
gas, so I think the fuel pump is working. Coolant level is fine.
This seems to only happen in warmer months, I went from Nov-Feb without
issue. And once the car starts, it runs like a champ; smooth idle and peppy
I'm at my whit's end, any suggestions would be great. Thanks!

2 Answers


Hard starting is an indication of a fuel pressure issue, could have the fuel pressure checked, and have the fuel filter replaced, another would be the Coil, or Coils being weak. The spark should look white if good, yellow orange if it is weak. These can be tested at Auto Zone or a garage.

This was indeed a fuel pressure issue. I had the fuel pressure regulator replaced (as recommended by a trusted mechanic) and the car starts every time now.

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