Q: Sputtering when engine is running

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Our Jetta has progressively gotten worse running well in wet weather. (Sputters as it's going down the road) We replaced the spark plugs and wires. It started after completed, but is still sputtering horribly when running and we are afraid to drive it out of the driveway. I don't know much at all about cars, but it seems like an air flow problem or something. (A good friend with some car knowledge helped do the plugs and wires) Sounds like the lawnmower does when the choke is acting up. It's our son's car while in college, so taking a car with this many miles on a shoestring budget to an auto store is scary! And we aren't sure it would get there anyway.

My car has 189 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

What you are describing sounds like a dirty or faulty mass air flow sensor. The mass air flow sensor monitors air intake as it is mixed with fuel prior to being injected into the motor. This sensor relays vital information to the ECM which uses this to make adjustments to fuel supply to the motor. A dirty or faulty sensor can cause an imbalanced air/fuel load to be supplied to the motor which results in an over fueling or under fueling situation depending on the conditions. This type of inconsistent fuel supply to the motor may cause a hesitation, loss of power, a jerking reaction, potentially a bit of black exhaust smoke and typically a strong smell of fuel when this sensor is malfunctioning. I would suggest having a professional from Your Mechanic come to your home to diagnose and inspect your vehicle.

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