Q: Owner is told car's stalling is phantom problem

asked by on September 14, 2016

This car has been stalling for a long time! We purchased it used and it has been in the shop multiple times. They keep telling me that it is a phantom problem and they can not replicate it at the shop. When the car has been sitting for several hours is when it usually stalls out. One time when pulling out from a stop sign and a gravel-filled dump truck came over a hill, my car stalled and the truck barely missed me. Last week it stalled when I was in front of a school bus filled with children! The ETS light and also the check engine light sometimes come on, but not always. After a stalling episode it needs to sit for a few minutes. Sometimes I can get it to restart and then I have to rev the engine to be able to keep driving. I need your input as to what is causing this and what I need to do to get it repaired. Thanks.

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Hey there. You cannot operate a motor vehicle on public roadways if you know for a fact that it stalls unexpectedly. So the first order of business is to STOP driving the car especially given the two frankly lurid examples of near catastrophic crashes that you have described in your question. The second issue is easier: although there are AT LEAST a dozen obvious causes of the symptom you are reporting, and it is laborious to track down each possible "cause," the problem is definitely fixable.

You either have fuel or ignition related component(s), possibly both, that are intermittently cutting out. It might be possible to obtain enough data via your car’s OBD-II DTC interface to diagnose the problem at the time of failure and/or get in the general "area" of the failure. Given the age of the car, one issue to keep in mind is you could have a combination of problems that ultimately cause the stall. To have this problem scoped out, a certified professional from YourMechanic can come to your home or office to inspect the stalling issue and have this corrected.

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