Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: My car has been stalling out on me.

asked by on

My car has been stalling out on me at stoplights but if I hit the accelerator, it jumps back on. I got bad gas this summer around the same time my area got hit by a nor'easter and I did drive through some water but it wasn't bad at all and ever since, my car has been acting CRAZY (having to cold crank when I never had to do so before and sometimes wouldn't turn on).

About a month ago, I stopped on my way to AutoZone and they told me I have a bad battery, which at the time made sense with it shutting off.

Well for about a week (since I got my oil change), whenever I'm at a stoplight for a long time, it will just shut off on me. I figured out a trick about 3 days ago if I put the car in park and rev the engine lightly while waiting, it won't shut off.

I just don't know what to do and wanted to get advice before going to some mechanic and having them rip me off because I'm a young woman and obviously clueless about cars.

My car has 178000 miles.
My car's transmission is unknown to me.

This may be a sign of a failing idle air control valve. The idle air control valve is located on or near your intake manifold that monitors the air intake as it is mixed with fuel prior to being injected into the engine.

This valve is controlled by the vehicle’s computer which will adjust idle speed based upon other measurements such as engine temperature, intake air temperature and electrical system load or voltage. When you accelerate, the engine RPM increases, and as you let off the gas, the RPM slowly returns to the normal idling speed.

However, when the engine RPM drops below the normal range of 800 RPM (for most cars), it is more than likely that you are dealing with an IAC valve problem. In cases where this valve is clogged or is failing, your vehicle will stall instead of slowing to an idle after the release of the throttle. I would recommend having a professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, come to your home to replace your idle air control valve.

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: Car stalls during braking and deceleration

It is possible that the noise and "no power" symptom you experience is the exhaust pressure in the turbocharger of your engine being released. In some cases, an excessively rich mixture of fumes in the exhaust is ignited causing a...

Q: Hi Pete, I've got my friend here w/a Nissan Maxima

It is not recommended to drive the vehicle if it does not have enough coolant or a major coolant leak or the engine may be damaged from overheating. It would be cheaper to rent a car now over having to...

Q: My car shows P0172 but the car is running fine

Hi there. As you already know, replacing components without diagnoses, can be expensive and time consuming without resolution. The P0172 code is an indication of too much fuel or not enough air is being delivered to the engine. The ECM...

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...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
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...