Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car has been randomly sputtering/hesitating when driving on the road.

asked by on

When driving on the interstate, it will start randomly hesitating/not wanting to go. It sputters along and usually will go back to normal. Yesterday it would not stop hesitating so I pulled over. I tried to start it up and it would not crank. After about 20 min, it started back up and I got home. Brought it 2 different places today and they could not find any "codes" or anything else wrong with it. One person said it might be the fuel I buy which is from Race Trac. Does that sound right or any other possible ideas? Thanks!

My car has 156000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hi and thanks for contacting Your Mechanic....

Hi and thanks for contacting Your Mechanic. Bad fuel or too high of a fuel rating will cause a sputter problem. Fuel that has been sitting for a while and is not regularly added by fuel trucks will have excessive water. This water will sink down to the bottom of your fuel tank and when your fuel pump picks it up, the engine will stumble due to the engine not wanting to run on water. I recommend flushing out the fuel tank and putting in good new fuel from a high flowing fuel station and retest the car. If the issue persists, then seek out a professional, preferably a YourMechanic professional who can come to your home to diagnose the sputtering you’re experiencing and make the necessary repairs to your vehicle.

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!

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: It's not moving what's wrong?

Hello there, a few common faults will cause your 1994 Honda Civic to shut off when you push the gas pedal. The most likely faults are the fuel pump, shift linkage, Idle air control valve, fuel filter, vacuum leak or...

Q: Burning oil

I am not sure how adding oil can increase your compression. However, if two of the cylinders are producing 25psi less than the other two, I would consider this to be a piston ring issue. This would involve a complete...

Q: Kia Optima hesitates when in gear. Does not while in park. It has slowly became worse over the course of many months. It still dr

If the transmission is not faulty (e.g., clutches slipping) and thus the problem is engine related, among the possible causes of the hesitation are faults in the throttle position sensor, mass airflow sensor, vacuum leaks, a clogged fuel filter, defective...

Related articles

How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
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...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...