Car used to start fine 49 out of 50 times but without obvious reason it sometimes struggled to start (as seen in video). This can be on a cold start or a warm start. Happens in warm, cold, wet and dry weather.

EDIT: This morning, the car fails to start at all. Nothing I try will make it start. I took a video last night - this was an example of the starting trouble that I have experienced intermittently for the last few weeks. But this morning the same thing happened but it will not start.

Video of car trouble

Bought the car a month ago - full service history - local mechanic gave it the once over (after we noticed this issue) and said that everything looks good.

It has had a new battery (installed after the original one failed a week after purchase) so I doubt this is the issue.

It has been plugged into two separate garage's computers for diagnostic with no errors recorded. Two garages could not find a fault (they didn't witness the starting problem - I have only just managed to capture it on video). Any ideas?

Current ideas (based on some online research)

  • EGR value not forming a seal prob due to the fact soot is stopping a valve or something to operate correctly.
  • Throttle body air valve getting stuck closed because of soot in the intake causing to harden when engine is powered off and not releasing when trying to start it.

Are both points the same? Could this be logical?

  • What is that "question mark inside of the car" warning on the screen in the video?
    – JPhi1618
    Feb 4, 2016 at 18:35
  • Hi, the main screen is just a message asking if I want to turn on/off the internal scan (car security). Happens whenever I turn the engine off. The 2 warning lights which come on the dashboard and seem to remain longer than the others are the oil and battery light.
    – sw123456
    Feb 4, 2016 at 18:39
  • Oil and battery light will always be on until the engine hits idle speed (when it starts...). Is that security light always there? It's not some kind of immobilizer system or smart key that's stopping the engine, right?
    – JPhi1618
    Feb 4, 2016 at 18:41
  • Great point but you can usually turn the car off then on again 50-60 times without any issue and at the end of the video you can see it eventually kicks into action. It is so weird - thanks for your help by the way.
    – sw123456
    Feb 4, 2016 at 18:43

1 Answer 1


..So it looks like after 4 trips to the garage we do have a solution. It was the inlet manifold butterfly flap. It was getting stuck in the closed position intermittently after the engine was switched off. It's meant to close in order to stop air getting into the engine immediately after switching off the engine, then after a few seconds it opens again. Mine however wasn't aligned properly and was sticking closed. Anyway, valve was replaced and so far the car starts every time. Common problem apparently with the 2.0 tdci smax. Hope this helps others

  • Please get back and let us know if this fixed the problem.
    – Zaid
    Feb 6, 2016 at 14:02
  • For future reference, what was the code?
    – Ben
    Feb 6, 2016 at 14:08

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