Q: I have a Ford Focus the car is jerking and engine light turns on but turns off when I shut the car off

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The car will jerk usually when I come to a stop and will do it after the stop it even stopped in the middle of the road and wouldn't let me drive it until I turned it off and on

My car has an automatic transmission.

A couple of things may cause this to happen such as a faulty cam position sensor a transmission problem or in some cases a dirty or faulty idle air control valve. The camshaft position sensor is a magnetic sensor that monitors camshaft speed to regulate ignition timing and fuel injection timing. It gathers and sends information about the car’s camshaft speed to the car’s electronic control module. This information is used by the computer to further calculate the time of ignition and the timing of fuel injection required by the engine. When this is not working properly, you may experience a drop in power, poor idling, poor fuel mileage and problems starting the vehicle. As the sensor begins to fail and gets worse over time as the signal it provides to the computer weakens.

The idle air control valve monitors 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 and will adjust idle speed based upon other measurements such as engine temperature, intake air temperature and electrical system load or voltage. This is also an important function when starting the motor as it allows the motor to run and idle on it’s own once the motor fires. When you accelerate, the engine RPM increases, and as you let off the gas, the RPM slowly returns to the normal idling speed with the help of the idle air control valve making the transition from a higher RPM back down to idle speed while adjusting the air/fuel ratio constantly to allow this to happen smoothly. When the engine RPM drops below the normal range of about 750-800 RPM, 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 inspect your vehicle.

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