occasionally not starting

My Mazda PR5 intermittently will not start. I changed battery, the battery cables and the starter. But on occasion the car will not start. The car usually starts by the time the tow truck arrives. What should I do now? Do you have any ideas?
Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Hello. You need to start by checking the ignition system on your vehicle. You need to check for proper spark at the end of the ignition cable. You will also need to check the status and condition of the spark plugs themselves.

If the issue does not pertain to the ignition system, your next step is going to be to check the fuel system and the fuel delivery system. Start with the fuel pump and tap it a few times. Turn the key to accessory and listen for the fuel pump to prime. It will sound like a faint "whirring" sound. At this point, try to start the vehicle again. If you need further help having this looked at, a certified professional from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to inspect the starting issue and let you know what should be done.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

The most common reasons a Mazda Protege won`t start are a dead battery, an alternator problem, or failed starter.
If your Mazda Protege`s key won`t turn, check to see if the transmission is in Park. Many models will prevent the key from turning if the car isn`t in park when turned off. Make sure your car`s parking brake is enabled before you do anything else.
A dead battery is often the most common reason your car won`t start. Batteries age out, so if it`s been some time since it was replaced, you should visit us.
You want your Mazda Protege to last as long as possible. With proactive maintenance, your Protege has a good chance of hitting 200,000 miles or more.
If the car cranks when you turn the key, but the engine won`t start, it could be because fuel isn`t getting to the engine. One potential reason for this could be dirty fuel injectors. Over time, the fuel injector nozzles can become clogged with rust, corrosion or debris.
When your engine cranks but won`t start or run, it could mean your engine is having trouble producing a spark, getting fuel, or creating compression. The most common causes are problems in the ignition (for example, a bad ignition coil) or fuel system (for example, a clogged fuel filter).
Clutch Issues

The clutch is a vital part of any manual vehicle and when things go wrong, it can be devastating and often costly to repair. Mazda owners have unfortunately been subject to issues with the clutch system, leaving it to fail or wear down prematurely if not dealt with properly.

With the right amount of care, your Mazda can easily last 17 years based on 15,000 miles of driving per year. Many Mazdas have even been reported to last 20+. and tires commonly need replacing within the first 50,000 miles (3 years) of ownership.
Your Guide to 2003 Mazda Protege Scheduled Maintenance

If you put in the effort to keep up with proper maintenance, your Protege could be on the road well past the 200,000 mile mark.

A dead battery or a failed starter motor will not allow the engine to crank at all. But these components don`t always fail suddenly one day. If a battery is low on energy, or if the connections are loose, your engine may be able to crank, but it may not start–or it may take several tries.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Fuel pump engages. Batery good, alternator good volts, jump start helps when wont start. Temp does not matter. Intermittent?
ANSWER : Hello. Thank you for writing in. There are several reasons your vehicle may only start when jump starting. The first and most common is a build up of resistance that is causing you to need a boost of voltage to get the engine started. This may be due to poor battery cables, a bad ground connection, a poor starter solenoid, and a couple of other issues. The first thing you want to do is perform a visual inspection of the starting system. Make sure there is no corrosion build up in the battery cables. You can also check the resistance across these wires and make sure you have a solid connection between components. You then want to make sure the starter solenoid is doing its job. It is responsible for taking the small amount of electricity sent by the ignition and turning it into a huge electrical charge that is strong enough to push over the engine with the help of some gear ratios in its favor. Do some more testing, and stick to the basics before assuming its something seriously complicated.

Read Full Q/A … : occasionally not starting

Vehicle won’t start, once it’s jump started it only stays running until you turn it off, then it work start again without jumping.
ANSWER : Hi there. There could be two problems here. It is possible that your battery is bad and will not take a charge from your alternator while driving. In that case every time you shut your car off you will not have enough juice to start it again. Inspect your battery – it should have at least 12.5 to 13 volts to start your car, if it doesn’t you will need to replace the battery. The second problem could be that your alternator is bad and not charging your battery, in this case you will need to replace your alternator. Both the battery and the alternator can be tested in your car. If you would like to have the car checked for you, a certified professional from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to diagnose the starting problem and proceed with repairs.

Read Full Q/A … : occasionally not starting

Cranks over start than dies
ANSWER : Hi There,
The idle air control valve is a small valve on the engine’s intake system that reads the air intake as it comes into the motor. This is controlled by the car’s ECM which uses this information to make adjustments to the air/fuel ratio depending on various inputs such as outside air temperature, intake air temperature, load and various other things. As you accelerate, your car’s engine is receiving a much higher dose of fuel than when at idle and conversely, when you let off the gas pedal, there is a sudden change in this fuel supply as a result of your foot letting off the pedal. When this happens, the job of the idle air control valve is to bring this deceleration down to a slow and smooth idle rather than suddenly cutting off the fuel supply causing the motor to die. When the idle air control valve is not working properly, this cause a disruption in this process resulting in the engine not being able to idle properly. I would recommend having a professional come to your location to diagnose and inspect your vehicle.

Read Full Q/A … : occasionally not starting

Why does my car struggle to start every 4th to 5th time?
ANSWER : It sounds like your starting issues may be linked to a problem with air metering or fuel delivery. A clogged or malfunctioning idle air control valve may show some of the same symptoms you are describing. The idle air control valve can be stuck in a cold start position which may work well if the car has been sitting a few hours, but as the engine warms up there must be a regulation in airflow. Consider hiring an experienced technician like one from YourMechanic who can come out for a closer look at your hard start situation and offer a more personal diagnosis.

Read Full Q/A … : occasionally not starting

My truck died while driving. Now will start, but dies when I push brake. If I start in neutral, I can put in drive and go but dies – 2003 Ford F250
ANSWER : Hello – your symptoms suggest that once your cold start features are no longer needed – engine warming up – there is an air "leak" that ruins low speed running. Causes could be a leaking exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve, or leak in the air intake. A failing fuel pump relay (burned contacts) could cause similar behavior, contacts become hot, then won’t pass enough current to run the pump. Failing pump can also act this way – gets hot and fails. I recommend a starts, then dies inspection performed by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will come to your location, diagnose this problem, and give you an accurate assessment of damage and cost estimate for repairs.

Read Full Q/A … : occasionally not starting

Car was sometimes not starting, not even cranking when i turned the key then after a few times itd start. Now it ont start at all
ANSWER : Hi there:

Without being there to inspect your vehicle, or having information about what type of car, truck or SUV you own, it’s very hard for us to give you some advice. You might want to have a professional mobile mechanic complete a car is hard to start inspection; so they can come to your location and determine why your vehicle is having these issues.

Read Full Q/A … : occasionally not starting

When I start my car it doesn’t start after the jump start it started but later it didn’t and the battery was last replaced on 9/2012
ANSWER : As you may know when jump starting the car, the battery power provided is being supplied form the other car you are using to jump your car with. If the car does not start following the jump, this would suggest your battery may be dead and needs to be replaced. If the battery was last replaced in 9/2012, it is most likely time for a new battery as that is a decent amount of life for a battery.

Read Full Q/A … : occasionally not starting

My car will not start Intermittently. I purchased a new battery 2 weeks ago and yesterday the car wouldn’t start. Got a jump and
ANSWER : The issue you are having is probably due to an intermittent fault in the starter motor itself or a deficiency in the starter electrical circuit, for example a large voltage drop due to a poor ground or a high resistance connection. These issues can be readily diagnosed and resolved on a mobile basis if you request a hard starting diagnostic. If you request that diagnostic, the responding certified mechanic will get this resolved for you promptly. Based on Toyota’s Factory Service Manual, the battery should not be disconnected if the vehicle engine is running. The battery acts as a large resistive voltage sink and consequently taking the battery out of the circuit, while the alternator is still running, can create a voltage spike on the car’s electrical system which is not good for voltage sensitive components such as the engine computer. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

Read Full Q/A … : occasionally not starting