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Car Stalls at Low Speeds

My 1998 Honda Civic stalls at low speeds. When it stalled, I either turned at a low speed or slowed down when I approached a traffic light. I was traveling under 20 mph each time it stalled.



This happened after I cleaned both the battery and the distributor cap. Here are the specifics:



Cleaned the Battery:

I disconnected the negative and the positive cables from the battery. I then sprinkled baking soda on each terminal post then washed them with a small amount of water. Then I cleaned the mess with a towel. It’ a maintenance free battery from Sears (Diehard). I read in the Chilton’s book that baking soda/water solution is great for cleaning terminal posts but avoid getting it into the filler holes on the battery because it can neutralize battery acid and de-activate a battery cell. I don’t know if the baking soda/water solution dripped into the filler holes. The battery currently measures 12.5 volts on my multimeter when the vehicle is off.



Distributor Cap:

I took off the distributor in order to clean it. I wiped it with a cloth and inspected the four contact points (my car is a four cylinder) on the distributor cap.



I understand erasers are good for conduction so I wiped the four contact points with the eraser. Unfortunately, a small piece fell from one of the contact points. It was a tiny piece with a color similar to battery acid buildup on a terminal post. The small piece was solid, not chalky. It was only a small part of the contact point, not the entire thing. I put the distributor cap back on, then connected the battery.



After the two actions, I drove the car. The car stalled about ten minutes after I started driving. I restarted the car but it stalled again after another ten minutes. When it stalled, I still had power (radio, lights, etc.)



Also, while I was stationary at some traffic lights, the car was running rough.

Is other maintenance such as plugs, air, and gas filter, and oil changes in your maintenance?

Since you had some corrosion inside the distributor cap and a small piece fell off I am assuming the cap is pretty old, maybe the original. Replace the cap and wires to see if you have any improvement, in addition to the plugs etc that Waterboy lists.

I changed the spark plugs two months ago. The air filter was changed about one month ago. The fuel filter was changed two days ago. The oil was changed about a month ago.

I bought the car used, so I don’t know if it’s the original distribution cap. I checked the resistance of the spark plug wires and all four were okay.

I might change the distributor cap. Thanks.

From what I read, I would replace the cap.

I installed a new distributor cap and it solved the problem! No more stalling! Thanks.