Question about 1990 Buick Reatta

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Car dies while driving

The car is a 1990 Buick Reatta. The car will die while driving, Im talking about complete electrical system failure. No dash lights, everything is dead. Car could stay dead for couple min. up to couple days, then it will start like nothing has happened. Battery is not drained and alterantor is fine. Also cant check comp. for errors because it clears the system just like the battery cable had been pulled to clear it. Thanks for the info.

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  • Anonymous Jun 10, 2008

    I had a similar problem on my Olds Toronado. Car would just die, and then restart in a few minutes or sometimes overnight.

    Turned out to be the mass air flow sensor. Took several mechanics to find the problem. I replaced most electrical, except computer, before problem was properly diagnosed and repaired. Dennis in Idaho

  • Anonymous Sep 02, 2008

    I have a 2003 Buick Lesabre that stops suddenly while driving. We already used a complete fuel system cleaner in the gasoline tank but still do the same thing.

  • Lewanna Sep 15, 2008

    There is a tech service bulletin that tells you how to fix an intermitent starting problem. You have to wire around something to do with the alarm kill switch. At least I think thats what you are wiring around. But look for the tech service bulletin, I used to have the same problem and it fixed the problem. Boy was it annoying. Also you wil find that even if lightning stikes to close to your car the same thing may happen. The car is very sensitive to drops or changes in battery power.

  • happydaise62 Dec 26, 2008

    While driving my 2002 Buick Regal LS, the car would shut off and on in matter of seconds while all the instrument lights come on all while on the highway. It would do this like three times and then stop. Two days later it did it again. This time while I was putting on the turn signal. It did it just that once. Before all this happened, a few weeks ago I would put the car on cruise control and the air bag light would come on and off but nothing would happen. Can anyone tell me if its a computer problem or alternator or if it's neither? Thank you in advance.

  • allodds May 11, 2010

    The problem occurs while driving and all lights and radio stay working also the car will immediately restart (sometimes in neutral sometimes not) but will always restart in park. On occasion the starter will stay engaged and keep running until the key is shut off but then the car can be started normally.I believe the problem is either the ignition switch or module but cannot find a manual on this car locally. I did replace the egR valve which solved the surging problem I was having but when it dies there are no warning signs such as sputtering or loss of power.

  • Anonymous Mar 18, 2014

    After turning off the car and taking out the key the car behaves as If I have turned it on to acc mode. The dash lights stay on as well as it seems to be continually in diagnostic, checking engine, fuel levels etc; the only way to stop it is to pull the cable off the battery or it stays on over night, as it did the last time and drained the battery completly

  • Dean Dea
    Dean Dea Dec 18, 2015

    More than likely this car has been fixed already yet I will post anyway. 1 Replace ignition switch, 2 replace lock and tumbler. The tumbler is tricky on these cars and when you install the tumbler assembly. you have to make sure the key will turn all the way back to the accessory position. If you don't, you will have the contacts misaligned and even thou it may start and run ok for awhile, you will later down the road start having the same problems/symptom's you have now.

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I bought my 89 Reatta in 2000 with less than 10,000 miles on it. It ran perfect for a couple of months and then it would just die for no reason. No lights-nothing. This would seem to happen more often as I drove it. I finally zeroed in on the battery connector as the problem. I had my local Goodyear dealer replace the positive cable with a different type of connector and the problem disappeared. It has not ever happened again since replacing the battery cable. I hope this helps you.

Posted on Sep 21, 2008

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Sorry to hear about your vehicle. First things first. When you say driving, what are you ding and where are you? such as; on the highway, at a stop light, making a left hand turn, coming to a stop. Second, when you say dies , do you mean your driving, your cars "shuts off" and your stuck in the middle of the road? and when you say stays dead do you try to start it? does your radio come on? are your light on or are they dim? all these are very helpful in diagnosing the root cause of this concern. also was there any work done recently to the vehicle? if the car is running and it dies a few things could be the cause. one, not that common, your engine could be starving of fuel, fuel pumps, filters and injectors and throttle body could all cause a fuel starvation. two spark cuts out. I work for volvo and i see coils (devices that increase spark) on 98+ vehicles literally crack in certain areas and cause rough idles, choppy acceleration (stuttering while getting on a freeway) but third and most likely battery/ charging system (these are just three common flaws there are lots of other little things associated with the electronic fuel injection system and monitoring that could and may well be the cause). the way your vehicle works is the battery stores a charge and your vehicle draws from the charge what it needs. on start up its battery power until your alternator reaches a certain speed (or the computer tells it to turn on) that supplies the power to the vehicles electrical system. now that i know you have an understanding i can suggest what, giving the limited info i have, i would look for first. if there is no rough idle apparent when the vehicle is warm that suggests fuel probably is ok and so is spark. now if your alternator cannot keep filling the battery up with an electrical charge, your car could just plain turn off. now this could cause a slow cranking when trying to start the car again and it may not even start. but as to why it will come back to life after a few mins or few days is interesting. check connections at the battery because that will prevent the flow of electricity. make sure its clean of dirt and paint too. take a wire brush and clean it. also is there anything white or powder-like on the terminals? oxidation causes a poor connection. that can be cleaned with spray cleanser from auto parts stores or scrubbing with baking soda and water but thats my guess without having the car to test. please post what you find out about your car.

Posted on May 14, 2008

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Clean the battery cables and battery side-posts , replace both battery cable bolts. Some batteries will leak acid on the cables where you can't see it. Have seen this a lot working at a buick dealership.

Posted on Apr 26, 2009

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I got a 2002 mitsubichi eclipse while i was diving cut off and now it don' want to start
iI been trying to star the car but it will not star , you can hear the starte but nathing els.
is sean to tun but not start

Posted on Nov 19, 2008

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