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Why does my car stall at red lights?

Posted by tom zoebelein on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 @ 12:36 PM

why does my car stall at red lights?

So you’re driving along just fine until you hit a red traffic light and have to stop.  For some reason, your car chooses that moment to stall out.  It can be more than a little embarrassing to be the stalled car in front of a line of cars once the light turns green, but this issue is more common than you think.  If your car stalls out at red lights, it means that your engine suddenly can’t control the idle.  When your engine loses the ability to control the idle, this could be due to several factors, including the following:

  • A malfunctioning or dirty mass air flow sensor.  We’ve mentioned before in this blog that your car contains a large number of sensors that send information to your car’s computer.  The mass air flow sensor monitors the quality and quantity of air passing into the engine, which lets your engine know how much fuel to use.  If the sensor is dirty or not working properly, then it will send incorrect information to the engine and cause your car to stall out when idle.  In such a case, cleaning or replacing the mass air flow sensor can fix the problem.

  • A clogged or malfunctioning idle air control valve.  The idle air control valve is an important air regulator in your vehicle because it allows only the perfect amount of air into your engine to keep it running properly.  However, carbon can build up on the valve and keep it from letting the correct amount of air through or the valve can simply malfunction.  When either of these problems occurs, your car can begin to stall when idle.  The valve may need to be cleaned or replaced in order for your car to work well again. 

  • The spark plugs are worn out.  Your spark plugs are responsible for sending electric currents to your car’s engine from the ignition.  If the plugs and their wires are worn out, this can cause a disruption in the flow of electric currents and make your car want to stall or even misfire.  It would be a good idea to get your spark plugs and wires replaced as soon as possible, if this is the case.

Don’t worry—you won’t always be the unfortunate person stalled at the red light.  At Ward Automotive in Bel Air, Maryland, we can have your car working properly again right away.  We service every town in Harford County, including Aberdeen, Bel Air, Burns Corner, Darlington, Edgewood, Fallston, Havre de Grace, Hickory Hills, Jarrettsville, Joppatowne, Perryman, Pleasant Hills, Pylesville, and Riverside.  We are not only your Harford County auto repair shop and body shop, but we’re also your neighbor!  If you are looking for a neighborhood body shop that you can trust, rest assured that you have come to the right place at Ward Automotive.  Bel Air Autobody and Ward Automotive have been servicing the residents of Harford County, Maryland for over 20 years.

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Topics: Car repair Harford County, bel air mechanic, Harford county Mechanic, Auto Mechanic Abingdon, Auto Mechanic Edgewood, auto mechanic bel air, car repair Bel Air, Auto mechanic Bel Air Maryland, car stalls, car stalls in idle, car stalls at red light, spark plug problems, idle air control valve, mass air flow sensor, engine doesn't control the idle