Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Idles and stalls again.

asked by on

the car is starting quite nicely but does not idle for long before the engine dies. even when you start it and quickly engage into reverse or drive gears from park, it cuts off the engine.

My car has 192000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi There, Depending on when exactly the engine dies, this could be related to a dirty or faulty idle control valve or possible a faulty neutral safety switch. The idle air control valve monitors the air intake as it is mixed with fuel prior to being injected into the engine at low speeds and at idle. This valve is controlled by the vehicle’s computer and will adjust idle speed based upon other measurements such as engine temperature, intake air temperature and electrical system load or voltage. This is also an important function when starting the motor as it allows the motor to run and idle on it’s own once the motor fires. When you accelerate, the engine RPM increases, and as you let off the gas, the RPM slowly returns to the normal idling speed with the help of the idle air control valve making the transition from a higher RPM back down to idle speed while adjusting the air/fuel ratio constantly to allow this to happen smoothly. When the engine RPM drops below the normal range of about ~800 RPM, this often times will cause the engine to stall indicating a dirty or faulty idle air control valve.

Your vehicle also has something called a neutral safety switch that will prevent the vehicle from starting when it is in any gear position other than park or neutral. Occasionally, this switch can malfunction causing the car to stall as soon as you put it into any gear. This switch usually also monitors gear selection data as well to transmit back to the computer. This switch is connected to the starter solenoid which allows it to complete the starter circuit only when the transmission is in park or neutral. I would suggest having a professional from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your vehicle.

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

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: Tire making loud thumping/knocking noise

Hello. You may have a wheel bearing going bad or flat spot on your tire. I suggest that you have a technician such as one you can choose from YourMechanic perform a suspension evaluation on your vehicle to help you...

Q: My 2000 MR2 rear tail lights will not turn, also my power door locks constantly open and close by themselves while driving.

It sounds like you have a faulty light switch that may not be properly shutting the circuit to allow the tail lights to turn off. Regarding the door locks, this is often related to a malfunctioning door lock actuator, a...

Q: My car runs for about 30 minutes then when I come to a stop the oil and battery light turned on and car shuts off what could it be

Hi There, It is normal for the oil and battery lights to come on when the car stalls. When the engine is not running and the key is in the ON position, you will see these lights light up as...

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...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...