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Q: Car Starts but Shuts off

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The car took several tries to start - to begin with. Now the car starts but idles erratically and soon after shuts off.

I think it's the Mass Air Flow sensor. I took it (MAF) out and the car started perfectly fine with the exception of, obviously the "engine" light on. I even drove it back home. Ordered a replacement MAF. I sprayed the old MAF with MAF sensor cleaner but it didn't work. Maybe I didn't spray it enough - the car is 24 years and that has to be an original part. 180K miles on it.

Do you think it's the MAF as I do?

Hi there. It is possible that your MAF sensor combined with a dirty EGR valve that is causing this issue. Although cleaning these components might clear things up for a while, if they have never been replaced, it is probably time.

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Hi There, The MAF can cause this type of erratic running condition as you describe. If this does not correct the problem, I would also suggest checking the idle air control valve as this is also a common issue that will cause it to stall and idle erratically. The idle air control valve is a small valve on the engine’s intake system that reads the air intake as it comes into the motor. This is controlled by the car’s ECM which uses this information to make adjustments to the air/fuel ratio depending on various inputs such as outside air temperature, intake air temperature, load and various other things. As you accelerate, your car’s engine is receiving a much higher dose of fuel than when at idle and conversely, when you let off the gas pedal, there is a sudden change in this fuel supply as a result of your foot letting off the pedal. When this happens, the job of the idle air control valve is to bring this deceleration down to a slow and smooth idle rather than suddenly cutting off the fuel supply causing the motor to die. When the idle air control valve is not working properly, this cause a disruption in this process resulting in the engine not being able to idle properly. I would recommend having a professional come to your location to diagnose and inspect your vehicle.

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