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: Fuel smell

This is likely related to your EVAP emissions system and something called a purge valve solenoid. The EVAP system prevents fuel vapors from the fuel tank from escaping into the atmosphere. The EVAP system collects and temporarily stores the fuel...

Q: Rough idle, seems to misfire but never dies and no Check Engine Light.

This may be related to many things such as an ignition misfire, low fuel pressure or a dirty or failing idle air control valve. The ignition misfire may also be caused by the low fuel pressure or idle control problem...

Q: My car has a low idle and will stop at lights or stop signs

Hello. The symptoms you describe can be caused by a few different things. A few other possible causes are issues with the idle air control valve, with the transmission, or with the throttle position sensor. The idle air control valve...

Related articles

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...
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.