Q: Engine stutters then check light comes on at startup

asked by on

We know we have an exhaust leak, and are wondering if this issue is separate or related. When starting the car most of the time the engine will stutter and the wrench light comes on. We can drive it after this but it doesn't have much force, like low acceleration hard to get high speeds. We usually turn the car off and on several times until it doesn't do this, then it drives normally.

My car has 185000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Exhaust leaks can cause the check engine light to set. If you have an exhaust leak, it should be repaired because carbon monoxide is deadly. You can have the source of the leak identified, and repaired, by requesting an exhaust leak inspection. With regard to the poor idle, when the engine is cold, the engine coolant temperature sensor must be working properly to signal the PCM to enrich the mixture on cold start. If there is a fault with that sensor, you can experience rough idle idle as you are describing. Other possibilities are a vacuum leak, an air induction fault like a stuck idle air control valve, problems with the mass air flow sensor, defective spark plugs, a weak coil and defective oxygen sensor(s). If you desire that this problem be diagnosed by a certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, please request a rough idle diagnostic.


With regard to the incidents you are experiencing with the engine losing power, the cause of that can be diagnosed, and any required repairs made, if you request an engine loss of power diagnostic. To give you an initial idea, although there are many possibilities, a partial list would include oxygen sensors, fuel pump and/or filter, vacuum leaks, ignition system malfunctions, bad valve timing if the timing belt or chain is worn or skipped, blocked exhaust (e.g., catalytic convertor fails or become clogged), airflow sensor, throttle position sensor, and so forth. Whatever the cause, if you request the engine loss of power diagnostic, the certified mechanic will get this resolved. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Engine stutters then check light comes on at startup

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: Is engine replacement complicated?

This would be impossible to answer since the Crown Victoria never had these engines and adding the larger engine with unknown changes from one engine to the other. The motor mounting, exhaust manifolds, wiring harness and computers are all different....

Q: Change electrical shift solenoid A p0753

This may be a sign of low transmission fluid or a faulty transmission control solenoid. As you know, automatic transmissions use pressurized hydraulic fluid to change gears. Every time a gear change is required, the car's computer activates a transmission...

Q: Q: How do you use the manual transmission?

If your car is equipped with a manual transmission, you’ll need to shift through gears by hand rather than letting the transmission handle things. Here’s how to work the system: Always press the clutch pedal all the way down...

Related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.