Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: My car will start, but will not run

asked by on

driving home on the freeway in stop and go traffic jam, car ran out of power. was able to pull over before car died. waited a couple of minutes and car started up. Made it home, but now car won't run. It starts when the key turns, but won't idle and immediately dies. it dies before I am able to press the gas to see if i can rev it. could it be the IAC, or is it a more complicated fuel issue? any way to tell at home?

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

This may be a sign of a failing idle air control valve. The idle air control valve 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 indicators such as engine temperature, intake air temperature and electrical system load or voltage.

As you accelerate and engine RPM increases, and then let off the gas, the RPM slowly returns to the normal idling speed with the help of the idle air control valve. However, when the engine RPM drops below the normal range of 750-800 RPM (for most cars), this may indicate a dirty or faulty idle air control valve. In cases where this valve is clogged or failing, your vehicle will stall instead of slowing to an idle after the release of the throttle as you have described.

I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose the starting issue and repair your idle air control valve as necessary.

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: reverse gear

The transmission filter inlet is toward the rear of the vehicle on the transmission. When you are pointing down hill, you may be starving the transmission for fluid and it cannot engage without fluid. You should try parking on a...

Q: Backfires around 70 mph and feels like gas might cut off at low speeds

Hello - fuel starvation or failing ignition could cause the behavior you are experiencing. If you accelerate from a standing start up a long hill, does the engine behave in the same way in each gear? Ignition problems will show...

Q: VVT solenoid malfunction

Hi, thanks for writing in. Before a quote can be given, the code will need to be diagnosed thoroughly to isolate the cause of the code. On some of these engines the variable valve timing is caused by camshaft mechanisms,...

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...
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...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.