I was wondering if this literal translation of English idiom was correct, but I found only one hit: http://arquivo.oficinabrasil.com.br/forum/impressao.asp?codPOST=8758
Its used when you try to start the car and you cant or when from time to time it turns off....
It's correct. I don't think it's a literal translation, I think it's a coincidence.
I tried, "The clock is dying" out of curiosity when the clock was "parando" but got that wrong. I guess that cars can die but not clocks. Maybe that is why some people refer to their cars using the pronoun "she" but don't do that for clocks.