Q: Feels like it wants to stall

asked by on January 04, 2017

After driving 30 miles to work and sitting all day when starting the car to come home it felt like it wanted to stall. The engine was idling a little rough. It continued to have that it's going to stall feeling going down the road. Almost like ti wasn't getting gas or bad gas or condensation in the tank. I never got up over 40 mph and ended up having to put it on the side of the road and wait for a tow truck. I did have to turn the car on twice for heat. Once the RPM's kept jumping while I was just idling, the second time they jumped for a few seconds and settled right back down, so I tried again to drive it and the same thing. The dealer is saying its a air flow sensor, which of course isn't under warranty but since this dealer is known to screw people over with repairs, I'm not sure if I should trust them. HELP!! I need to get to work and not break the bank.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Idle Control Valve Replacement $146.15 - $920.51 Get a Quote

Hi Heather, What you are describing is a common symptom of a dirty or failing idle air control valve. 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.

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

What others are asking

Put gas in car instead of diesel

Hello. It is important that you do not drive this vehicle anymore until you can get it repaired. Your fuel system will need to be flushed, the fuel pump will need to be replaced, and it is possible that the...

Car ran out of fuel put more in but still not starting what could it be

Hello, thank you for writing in. Several things may be happening. One would be that the fuel pump simply burned itself out trying to suck for gas. This is not uncommon in these situations. Secondly, you may have sucked up...

dealer tells me that the ECM damaged the throttle body. For $1,100 they are replacing both. Does that make sense?

Hi there. From the description you have provided, the ECM (electronic control module) may have been the problem from the start. When the TPS (throttle position sensor) codes were stored in the computer. This would of been the time to...

Antifreeze is leaking

The best thing to do is to have your cooling system checked to find the cause of the broken tube. The system may have other issues that would need addressed at the same time. That being the case, I recommend...

I have a squealing noise when I drive but stops when I press the break

Hi there. That squealing noise that stops when you apply the brakes will turn into a grinding noise eventually. That is the wear indicator to let you know that the brake pads are worn to the point of needing replacement....

Cooling fan staying on after washing engine

Hello. Water may have gotten into a relay or the fuse box, which could be causing the fan to run or not work properly. I would suggest that you have a certified technician, like one from YourMechanic, inspect the cooling...

How can I stop my engine rattling?

Let me start by saying that there could be one or more issues contributing to a loud rattle and vibration. Diagnosing a vibration and rattle are a hands-on skill to determine the correct repair. There are two areas that should...

Car idles at high RPMs

Idling too fast can be caused by several things. But bottom line is that too much air is getting into the intake manifold. Manifold vacuum leaks are a common cause. Do a visual inspection to check for any vacuum hoses...

Gear shifter loose

That’s a tough one to figure out without actually looking at it. There’s a roll pin and a spring to attach the lever to the column. The position of the shifter P,R,D etc, is held in place by a mechanism...

Related articles

Understanding the Saturn Oil Life Monitor and Service Indicator Lights
Car symbols, or dashboard lights, are a car service reminder. The Saturn Oil Life Monitor indicates when and what service your car needs.
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2007 Ford Crown Victoria
This This enduring Ford classic enjoyed a nearly two-decade run before being discontinued from the retail market with the 2007 model-year being the last. Ever-popular with law enforcement (for whom models continued in production through 2011), and senior citizens, the...
Saturn Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Car Program
Drivers Drivers who are shopping around for a used Saturn vehicle may want to check out cars under their certified pre-owned program. Many manufacturers have a certified pre-owned (CPO) program, and each one is set up differently. Read on to...