Q: Car idles and dies on cold start but starts when warm

asked by on September 14, 2017

Car starts and goes immediately into a rough idle and dies when starting cold. If i can get it started and running, it will start up just fine after that. Issue got WAY worse after adding fuel injector cleaner to the point of turning over but immediately dying. Before the problem got worse, i could give a little gas during startup so it wouldn't die. (fuel injectors?)

Spark Plugs and cracked Air Intake hose recently replaced and that didn't change the issue. Does start with a bit of starting fluid.

My car has 128000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

It sounds like you may have a fuel supply problem in getting the proper amount of fuel to the fuel injectors. The fact that the condition gets better when using starting fluid also points toward a fuel supply problem. As you know, when you turn the key to on, the fuel pump is activated and the fuel system is primed with fuel at a specific pressure in order to supply the fuel injectors with enough fuel to start the motor. When this is less than what is needed in order for the motor to fire or in some cases higher than normal, you may notice an erratic fluctuation in engine RPMs, hard starting or a lack of power when accelerating as the engine may be starved for fuel if insufficient fuel pressure exists in the fuel system. This can happen when the pump itself is not working properly or when the fuel pressure regulator is not maintaining the proper fuel pressure in the fuel system causing the engine to starve for fuel. This can also happen when there is insufficient connectivity to the fuel injectors which can cause an intermittent fuel spray pattern into the intake system resulting in a lean fuel condition or the motor otherwise starving for fuel. The other possibility may be a bad coolant temperature sensor which relays the temperature of the coolant to the computer. During cold starts, if this is not working properly, this may cause inaccurate fuel adjustments to be made resulting in the rough idle problem. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose your fuel system.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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

Grinding noise, ABS light comes on

Without being able to hear the noise, it will be difficult to make an accurate determination. But based on the conditions that the noise develops, it seems to occur where a rotating component is contacting a stationary component when the...

Car makes a medium pitched whine or growl in sync with rpms.

If you are hearing the noise at idle when the car is not moving, generally the noise you are describing originates in the engine, the transmission (torque converter runs even at idle), and/or the accessory drives. However, if there is...

What is the outside air temperature?

The outside air temperature is feature on the information display that tells you what the temperature outside of the vehicle is. If this temperature is flashing, that is a warning that it is very cold out, and you should adjust...

Related articles

The Best Used Cars to Buy If You’re an Electrician
As As an electrician, you have to haul around wiring, tools and equipment, and tons of supplies. You can’t get by with a small used car, or even a big one. What you probably need is a good used cargo...
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Nissan GT-R
Sporty, Sporty, fast, aggressive – all those words apply to the 2012 Nissan GT-R. This track-inspired car manages to bring racecar-like performance to the street, and it does so in true Nissan style. Key Features It’s tough to choose...
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Nissan Versa
In In the world of subcompact sedans, the Nissan Versa is a serious contender. Not only does it come with a low price tag, but it also includes a lot more features than you’d expect for a subcompact, especially one...