Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car sputtering while idling.

asked by on

When the car is idling, it starts to sputter like it wants to stop running. I have to keep my foot on the brake and gas at the same time to minimize sputtering.

There could be a number of issues that can cause this concern. If the issue only occurs after the engine has warmed up. A problem in the electronic throttle control actuator either in the motor or one of the sensors contained in the actuator assembly could be to blame. A faulty mass airflow sensor or oxygen sensor could be incorrectly calculating the air/fuel mixture. Dirty or clogged fuel injectors causing fuel puddling instead of atomization can cause a stumble at idle. Low fuel volume could also be an issue or a faulty engine computer if the issue happens even on a cold startup. The first step would be to read out the fault memory in the engine computer to see if there are any faults stored and then to look at the engine computer operating parameters with a scan tool. You may want to enlist the help of a mechanic, like one from YourMechanic, to use a scan tool to look at faults and engine operating parameters in order to get the diagnosis moving in the right direction and ultimately the final repair.

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: 2001 cavalier sputtering while driving.

Hi there. Try pumping out all of the fuel from the fuel tank and filling the tank up with fresh fuel. If the water remover was put in the tank and the vehicle started to run a little better, then...

Q: A/C going out

Hello there, over time it is not uncommon for the AC to stop cooling as well. Common failure points would be the AC fan, low refrigerant level, AC condenser, or a blend motor failure. A qualified technician, such as one...

Q: tapping noise in tranny when in gear and rpms are over 1000, 2007 Sentra. Shifts fine

You may have a loose torque convertor to flywheel bolt and is hitting something inside the bell housing of transmission if noise increases with engine speeds. I noise is only when moving and increases with speed then it may be...

Related articles

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...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
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.