Q: Check engine light and car idles low/runs differently

asked by on November 15, 2016

Check engine came on, hesitated to start and when accelerating car hesitates to push while driving. Also idles low. Had full maintenance about a year and a few month ago including spark plugs etc a complete tune up, spent nearly $2k in repair. What could be the problem?

My car has 153000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

This may be related to a dirty or failing idle air control valve. The idle air control valve reads the air intake as it is mixed with fuel prior to being injected into the engine at low speeds and at idle. This valve is controlled by the vehicle’s computer which will adjust idle speed based upon other measurements such as engine temperature, intake air temperature and electrical system load or voltage. When you accelerate, the engine RPM increases, and as you let off the gas, the RPM slowly returns to the normal idling speed. When the engine RPM drops below the normal idling range of 750-800 RPM (for most cars), this often times will cause the engine to stall indicating a dirty or faulty idle air control valve. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and repair your idle air control valve.

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

Car starts and then turns off

Your symptoms are very similar to a vehicle experiencing problems with air metering, or fuel delivery. A clogged fuel filter may sometimes offer enough fuel for idle, but lack the volume to maintain an operating engine. In your case, it...

Water leak from engine block

This might be from a freeze plug. Freeze plugs are metal plugs installed on the engine. These plugs are designed to come out if coolant starts to freeze in the engine block to avoid cracking the block. Over time, water...

I have a 02 Ford crown Victoria and it ran and drove fine until a little while back. I was at the gas station getting gas and noti

Hi Torrey. Thanks for contacting us today. The ticking noise is often caused by a lack of lubrication of cylinder head hardware. So, if you are two-quarts low, it's likely that the valve lifters are the source or have come...

Related articles

2012 Ford Escape vs. 2012 Honda CR-V: Which One Should I Buy?
SUVs represent one out of every three vehicles sold in 2012, making them one of the most-purchased types of vehicles in the country during that time period. Compact SUVs are a sub-class that are slightly smaller and offer the most...
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Ford F-250
When When it comes to large, heavy-duty pickup trucks, the 2012 Ford F-250 only has two competitors – the Chevrolet Silverado HD and the Dodge Ram 2500/3500. Though the F-250 doesn’t outperform the Ram in the towing department, it certainly...
Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Idler Pulley
Common signs include a damaged bearing or pulley, squealing from the engine area, and visibly worn pulleys.