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Car stalling at stops - safe to drive?

I have a 2001 Ford Escort with 92,000 miles that recently has started stalling when coming to stops. It’s especially bad on stop and go traffic. It starts up easily every time, and once I’m actually driving with steady speeds, it has no problems.

I’ve had plans to go out of town this Memorial weekend and visiting friends about 200 miles away (400 round trip). The earliest that I can get the car into the mechanic is Tuesday. This trip would be mostly highways and very few stops, but I don’t know if it’s safe to do so. Would I potentially be causing damage to the engine?

Stalling does not damage the engine.

How old is your battery? Numerous starts in a row could be hard on it.

Have you tried putting the car in neutral as you slow down to see if that makes a difference? You could even give it some gas if needed.

The stalling problem might be caused from a dirty or defective Idle Air Control valve.

The IAC valve is mounted on the throttle body and it's function is to allow idle air into the engine whenever the accelerator is released. If this valve fails to allow idle air into the engine whenever the accelerator is released the engine will stall.

You can remove the IAC valve from the throttle body and try cleaning it with throttle body cleaner. If that doesn't fix the problem then the IAC valve probably requires replacement. Which I find to be the case 90% of the time with Ford IAC valves.


Several things it could be. sounds like a classic case of sticky idle speed control to me.

Thanks for the ideas. I’ll bring them up with the mechanic when I see him next week.

Do you think I’m reckless going on the trip?

Go on your trip whether this problem is resolved or not. When you come to a stop and the car stalls, simply restart it. There is really no safety issue,

Incidentally, you can probably prevent stalling until you get the car into the shop. As you approach your stop, shift into neutral and give a little blip on the gas pedal. With a little practice you can keep the engine running at stops. If you occasionally fail to prevent the stall, simply restart.

So, did you survive the trip?