Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: About every 2-3 weeks the car will just stall, usually when stopped or slowing down. What is wrong?

asked by on

it used to stall more often but after the cam sensor was changed it didn't do it for a long time then about 2 months ago it started doing it again what could be the problem also sometimes it will seem like the car loses power and I will look down at the gages and the rpm's will be jumping up and down do you know what may be going on unless its just getting tired when the car stalls if you put it in neutral it will start right back up

My car has 209000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

This may be related to a dirty or failing idle air control valve. The idle air control valve reads the air intake as it is mixed with fuel prior to being injected into the engine at low speeds and at idle. This valve is controlled by the vehicle’s computer which will adjust idle speed based upon other measurements such as engine temperature, intake air temperature and electrical system load or voltage. When you accelerate, the engine RPM increases, and as you let off the gas, the RPM slowly returns to the normal idling speed. This is all controlled by the idle air control valve. When the engine RPM drops below the normal range of 750-800 RPM (for most cars), this often times will cause the engine to stall indicating a dirty or faulty idle air control valve. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and repair your idle air control valve.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  • Home
  • Questions
  • About every 2-3 weeks the car will just stall, usually when stopped or slowing down. What is wrong?

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Replaced thermostat, no leaks,coolant full, still overheats, no water in oil, stumped, sensor maybe?

If the vehicle is registering it is hot and it is just started then you will need to scan and test the temperature sensor to see if the sensor is causing gauge to say hot when it is not or...

Q: Broken timing tensioner pulley

Hello there, a broken timing belt tensioner pulley will cause big issues with your 1990 BMW 325i. When the timing belt slips or breaks it can cause the valve timing to get thrown off and the valve can hit the...

Q: Car cuts out while driving also makes a squeaking sound

Although your engine has to be fully diagnosed, a malfunctioning idle air control valve could cause the symptoms you are reporting. However, there are other causes such as vacuum leaks, a malfunctioning air sensor, clogged fuel injectors, and even cylinder...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...