RepairPal is your advocate for car care advice and guidance

Q: Car cut off and will not restart. on 2004 Pontiac Grand Am

My wife was driving vehicle as normal, everything was running perfect. She went over some railroad tracks (bump), and the car cut dead off and would not restart. What is causing this?
Get a Repair Estimate
Guaranteed by certified locations nationwide. Learn more
RepairPal estimates are guaranteed at over 1,700 quality certified locations nationwide. Learn more
could be a lot of things but a couple to check are your battery & your fuel pump. if your battery is loose it could touch something & blow fuses. your fuel pump could have shut off because it was going out or thought you rolled the car. near your power steering pump is a small black cap with a valve (looks like a tire valve) under it. push the end of the valve & if fuel sprays everywhere you have good fuel pressure.
this means you have no fuel pressure, your pump likely went out or has an electrical problem. if you have a test light you can check for voltage at the connector that comes through the body to the underside of the car just behind the fuel pump. gray wire should have battery voltage and black wire should be ground. if you have power and ground and the pump isn't running then it's bad, if you tap on the tank with a mallet it might it get it to start. the power to the pump will only be there for a couple of seconds after the first key on or during cranking so you might need someone to help you. hope this helps.
I tapped on the fuel tank and it started but it was spitting and sputtering then died on me again. Do you think I might have gotten some water in the gas for it to do this?
it's a possibility but since it died going over rail road tracks then it's not likely that the water showed up at that point, the pump is probably putting out too low of pressure. you can cycle the key on and off a few times to build pressure and then if it starts and runs longer the pump is probably weak. you can take off the line at your fuel filter, put the line in a clear plastic container and cycle the key to get a sample of your gas. shake it really good and let it sit. you will be able to see a line of separation if there is water in your gas. also listen to the pump to see if it sounds like it is sucking at an empty tank, it's not uncommon for the gauge to be wrong on your vehicle. you can also rent or borrow a fuel pressure gauge from the local auto parts store and attach it to the valve you pressed to check for fuel. good luck.
Didn't find what you were looking for?