Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: My car is idling weird and cuts off when I put it into any gear

asked by on

I bought this car last year and it was running hot, I recently started to try and fix it after letting it sit for a year and now when I crank it it idles weird and then when I go to put it in gear it cuts off. What could be causing this ?

My car has 200000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello there. A few common problems will cause your 1996 Nissan Maxima to cut out when it is put in gear and have a rough idle. The idles issues and cutting off could be related or separate issues. Likely causes for the idle issues are a vacuum leak, MAF sensor, fuel pump, spark plugs, plug wires, ignition coil, or an exhaust leak.

When a vehicle cuts off when the transmission is placed in drive, the most likely fault is a locked up torque converter. When the torque converter locks at idle it causes the engine to stall and shut off. A few faults can cause the torque converter to lock up such as low fluid level, transmission leak, a failing torque converter, or a transmission mechanical issue.

If you would like to have this all scoped out, a qualified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, will be able to diagnose your stalling issue and perform any repairs required.

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: Strange electrical issues that seem unrelated

Hello. It does sound like you have a lot of electrical issues that may or may not be related. In order to find where the problems are, the circuits will need to be tested with a voltage meter. It...

Q: Sluggish shifting

Oil leaks, unfortunately, will only get worse over time. So identifying the type and source of the leak will be vital to the overall health of the vehicle. Some possibilities on the engine would be the valve cover area, the...

Q: Where is the fuel filter location? It is spitting and sputtering, backfires. Like either not running on enough fire or something

I'd suggest having the vehicle checked for correct fuel pressure. The filter is located in the tank and on the pump. Another possibility is that you're having an issue with Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF). It would need to be tested...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
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...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...