Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car cuts off when sitting still and idling. What could that be that is causing it to do that

asked by on

Car cranks but when coming to a stop or slowing, idle changes and cars shuts off.

My car has 280000 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 monitors 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 may indicate a dirty or faulty idle air control valve. In cases where this valve is dirty or failing, your vehicle may stall instead of slowing to an idle after the release of the throttle. 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!
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Car cuts off when sitting still and idling. What could that be that is causing it to do that

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: Stalling fuel pump flapper on 1994 Ford Probe

Hello. The fuel pump on your vehicle is powered through the fuel pump relay through direct battery power. The fuel pump itself is located in the fuel tank and there is not an access panel to easily change it. The...

Q: In mornings before work (cold usually), my car acts like it wants to stall in idle/park. Give it gas 1-2 minutes. No more issues

Hello and thank you for contacting YourMechanic. What seems to be happening is the EGR valve is sticking open and when it gets hot, the valve shuts. This will cause an engine to stumble when first turned on. Anther thing...

Q: Can you bypass a neutral safety switch gone bad temporarily

Yes you can by connecting the purple wire and the purple with white stripe wire on the clutch switch. This should be done temporarily only for testing. It would be unsafe and unwise to keep it this way since it...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...