Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car hesitates only on cold starts - 1997 Dodge Dakota

asked by on

97 dodge Dakota hesitate only on cold starts. Clears up completely after a minute or so of idling or driving about a mile. After the cold hiccup stage it runs great. I have changed the iac, tps, pcv valve, plugs, wires, cap and rotor. I don't mind letting it warm up for a minute but I'm afraid it could be a sign of a more serious issue. There isn't a check engine light or trouble codes. Fires right up. Almost as soon as I turn the key. You just can't drive it right away unless you want to deal with the slight hiccup the first mile. Gets decent fuel mileage for a 318. About 14 in town and 17-18 highway. I have searched around for vacuum leaks but can't find any. I can't figure it out. If I let it do its warm up ritual I can get strait onto the interstate and run 80 mph no problem. No problem while driving either. I just just went on a 300 mile trip with no issues at all.

My car has 150000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi there. In most cases, cold starting issues are commonly caused by low fuel pressure inside the fuel injector nozzles. When it gets cold, fuel that is inside the fuel lines tends to flow backwards, which causes hesitation and engine stumbling upon initial fire. As the engine warms, the fuel pressure improves and this problem goes away. It’s sometimes caused by dirty or clogged fuel injectors or the throttle body being dirty as well. Sometimes, cleaning the fuel injectors will help to reduce this issue. Otherwise, you can contact a mobile mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, and have them complete an inspection to determine why the car is hard to start so they can figure it out and recommend the right repairs.

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 hesitates only on cold starts - 1997 Dodge Dakota

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: Squeaking/Chirping while driving

Some of the most common causes of the symptom you described are a stretched serpentine belt, a dried out idler pulley, or a dried out tensioner pulley. I would recommend enlisting in the assistance of a qualified professional to use...

Q: Truck still won't stay running when you push the gas to go ?

Hi there. Of the parts you listed, the only parts that might have contributed to this problem is the throttle position sensor. In most cases, this is a fuel delivery problem, caused either by a dirty fuel filter, fuel pump...

Q: What would cause my GEN light and low battery gauge readings

Hi There, This is quite likely a sign of a failing alternator which is generally what causes the GEN light to come on. As you may know, the alternator is responsible for charging the battery while the engine runs by...

Related articles

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...
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...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.