Engine shuts down at random when driving at 40/45 mph; hard to restart.


Asked by Jun 28, 2013 at 09:06 PM about the 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata Base

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

After engine shuts down at 40/45 mph, it is hard to restart but will restart in ~15/20 mins if left alone.  Check engine light comes on but will clear in 3 or 4 cycles, then the problem resurfaces in 4 or 5 days. A new crank angle sensor was installed, because computer fault code indicated a bad sensor, but problem persists...??

17 Answers

yes...take 'er to an autoparts store....get a printout of your diagnostic messages....post them here for us to examine...thank you~

2 people found this helpful.

there are a lot of different sensors under the hood, if it were a crank sensor ECM would put it into "limp" mode and the CEL would come on and probably start flashing for a critical condition...TPS throttle position sensor can confuse the ECM too...one you are interacting with every time you get behind the wheel....those trouble codes please....posted one source under fifteen bucks +shipping for a fresh take on what the ECM thinks the problem is here~

2 people found this helpful.
Best Answer Mark helpful

I will get printout of diagnostic codes asap...Thanks

2 people found this helpful.



Diagnostic code says "Crank Angle sensor" but this was replaced 3 weeks ago. Could it be the bracket that holds the sensor?....problem also shows up when the air temp is above 90*....once temps cool down car runs fine. ???

1 people found this helpful.

My bad..."crank angle sensor" should read "crank position sensor".

1 people found this helpful.

of course you replaced it, now the car is perfect~


No, far from it, problem persists...especially when temp is high!

1 people found this helpful.

I'd suspect a temp sensor...the one the ECU uses...don't ask me why your vehicle shuts down...is it too rich preventing good combustion?


You may have gotten a defective crank angle sensor, you might want to return it for another.

1 people found this helpful.

the system ground....connection from the battery to the frame needs to be able to pull 300 cold cranking amps...use a wirebrush~

2 people found this helpful.

the EGR is supposed to introduce inert exhaust gas if conditions get to HOT..is a safety measure to stop the engine from self-destructing...but should not SHUT down the car...but make it funky instead~


1 people found this helpful.

My 2001 Mazda Miata MX-5 just died while driving. First the radio went off and on and finally shut down. After driving trying to get home had no power to go. I pressed the gas peddle and will not go fast until finally died. This is my third battery in 2 years or so maybe 3years. I do not know if it is the battery? I replaced the alternator last year. It was running fine for a year and now the car died while driving. Does anyone know what it can be? I am currently recharging my battery, but i feel it is something else besides my alternator and battery.

3 people found this helpful.

My 2003 MX5 is doing the exact same thing as you described nfp158: did you ever find the solution to this problem?


We are still battling now for 2 months to find a solution to the cut out problem while driving our Mazda. Have spent already ZAR15,000.00 and this amount is climbing......................... Have no anwers to the problem - thanks Colleen Louw

We've been having the same issue with it sputtering and overheating in temps around 90°+. We too, have to wait until it cools down, and then drive slow to a cooler climate. We changed out the thermostat, and the issue continues. For the last five months, it has started to cut out, sputtering randomly, yet will continue back to normal... ( not seeing any link to speed, climate, etc.) Check engine light does come on with all episodes, then later flickers off. In the last two weeks it has completely shut down while driving on the freeway, three times.

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