Auto Repair Help


by Kyle McFadden

The engine stalls when coming to a stop or on deceleration. The engine runs normally otherwise. If the engine runs poorly you should address that symptom first.

A problem in the idle speed control system or transmission is the usual cause of this symptom. Almost all modern vehicles utilize computer controlled idle speed control. This system automatically compensates for loads placed on the engine, such as the air conditioning compressor or heavy electrical loads. A failure in the automatic transmissions torque converter clutch that prevents it from disengaging on deceleration, can also cause this symptom.

The first step in the diagnostic process is a visual inspection of the throttle body. Inspect the throttle body for binding or sticking linkage. If the vehicle is port fuel injected, a visual inspection of the throttle body for excessive carbon build up will be necessary. Remove the rubber duct that attaches to the throttle body. Inspect for black carbon build up around the throttle body. If the throttle body requires cleaning, a spray cleaner is available at any auto parts store. Spray the cleaner on a clean cloth towel. With the engine off, open the throttle and wipe the carbon from the throttle body plate and bore. If the throttle body is clean and functioning properly, the vehicle may have a defective idle speed control motor or valve. Refer to a manufacturer specific repair manual for specific test procedures.

Use caution when working around hot or rotating engine parts. If the symptom is only present while driving then coming to a stop, the transmission torque converter should be inspected for proper operation. This might best be done by a qualified transmission shop. This should only be done after the idle speed control system is found to be functioning.

(Kyle has an affinity for Pale Ale and tooling on his 1956 Chevrolet Nomad Station Wagon.)

7 responses to “Diagnose Engine Stalls When Coming To Stop Or On Deceleration”

  1. Alex says:

    engine shuts off at a stop and start up when engine cools off.

    • Ryan says:

      Is the engine overheating? Verify electrical fan operation, and condition.

      If equipped with a silicon liquid clutch fan, verify it isn’t leaking or dammaged.

  2. Alameer says:

    what about EGR , may be a cause??

    • Chris says:

      EGR was the problem on my Chrysler 300.

      • Ryan says:

        The issue with EGR is if it is stuck closed, the engine will seemingly run “rich” and the extra NOx emissions can overheat the catalytic converter and dammage the substrate in it. A stuck open EGR may cause the engine to stumble and run lean. Sometimes all these require is cleaning, other times they simply need to be replaced, and on some
        Models the solenoid goes on it and will either be NO/NC.
        (Normally open/ normally closed )

  3. ivan says:

    Engine stall upon accelerating from stop to go when air conditioning set at max temp with load (2 passengers and luggage in trunk approx 400 lbs. Car is Hyundai accent 1.4 CVT automatic transmission.

  4. John Ferrell says:

    Thanks for saying that we need to take precautions when we are working on hot or rotating parts. I’ll need to make sure I get a professional to help me with my car so that I know that it will be done properly. Maybe I should find a professional that is experienced when I am trying to get my car fixed.

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