Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car stalls when idling

asked by on

Hi a few weeks ago a friend tried cleaning the engine by hosing everything down without covering important parts and my car didnt want to turn on after that so I changed the distributor and got it up and running again. But ever since that day my car sometimes turns off when I am at a red light, waiting at a drive thru or just warming it up then the check engine light turns on then off right away but car turns on right away when I turn the key in ignition. I would like to know what could be causing this. I never had this problem before.thanks in advance

My car has 190000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Your problem may or may not be associated w...

Your problem may or may not be associated with the engine cleaning. But for a moment, let’s assume that it is. You hit the right spot when you changed the distributor cap, but if there are any covers or tubes that the wires go through that could hold moisture, they will need to be uncovered and dried out. There could also be moisture accumulation in the boots where the spark plugs connect. So take them off and make sure that they are dry. Other reasons for a car to shut off while it is idling are air leaks or problems in the idle air control valve. Air leaks could have been caused by the cleaning if a high pressure hose was directed onto a vacuum line or a rubber boot and pushed it off slightly. So check the vacuum lines and rubber parts under the hood for proper fit. If there is a problem in the idle air valve, that is probably not related to your washing and will need a proper diagnosis. If you contact Your Mechanic you can have a technician come to your home or office to diagnose your problem and tell you what needs to be done.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

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: Driver side window goes down but not up

When you operate the driver's window switch, if you hear the motor run in both directions, then the window regulator is most likely broken. The window regulator may require the motor and regulator together depending on part availability. If you...

Q: How do I use the floor mats?

While they might not seem like particularly important accessories, your car’s floor mats actually serve essential purposes. They protect the carpeting from dirt, debris and wear and tear. Properly used, they can help your interior last for a much longer...

Q: Brand new car has problem starting 2016 Nissan Sentra

Hi - the "hard start when hot" sounds like a weak starter solenoid - unusual for a new car. "Heat soak" the transfer of heat after a vehicle has been driven, can sometimes cause weak electrical components, like the starter...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...