Car "stutters" and stalls

Does anyone have any idea what problem could be when engine “stutters”? Feels like a transmission issue like the gears want to change. I stopped for gas & shut car off. Car was difficult to start again and “Service engine soon” light came on. I had oil changed and fluids topped thinking this would help. It has done it again & service light is still on. Manual suggests light is on due to emissions issue; however the odd drag on the engine suggests to me otherwise. I have no idea and no $ at moment to get checked out. Help me please!

An oil change and topping off fluids has absolutely no effect on the service engine soon light. If you have no money to get it checked out then drive on and hope you don’t do significant damage to the motor. You can go to an Auto Zone or other auto parts store for a free computer scan for “codes”. Post the findings here and you may get some help.

Also, vehicle info is needed; make, model, year, size of motor, miles on odometer, and maintenance history all useful in tracking down possible problems.

Thought Make an Model would show since I had to enter that info when posting. Oops! 2005 Nissan Altima SE 2.5L, 89000+ miles.

Thank you for the Auto Zone suggestion. I figured I’d need to get it computer scanned and was unaware of this free service.

For a period of time GM used the term “Service Engine Soon” as a indicator to draw your attention to a OBD 1 possibly OBD 2 code. We called them a “SES” light,had nothing to do with the car needing a oil change.

Sorry I do not know what OBD is. Please advise.

Never mind…I Googled OBD and found “On Board Diagnostics” and the many codes.


Go to one of the chain auto parts stores, like Auto Zone, Advance, Pep Boys, and ask them to do the free code scan. They’ll know what you are talking about. California doesn’t allow free scans, though. Bring those code here, and we will help you with them.
On your 2005 Nissan Altima SE with 2.5L engine, is there a stuttering problem at other times other than re-start, or during idle?

Only WHILE driving. However I just drove 16 miles and on the 16th as I was pulling back into the driveway at work, the car stalled and started rather roughly. On its way to Auto Zone as I am typing.

Thanks for the input!

I’m having very similar issues with a 2001 Sentra. I can have the pedal to the floor, and the engine will rev to 4000 or 5000 rpm but the transmission doesn’t seem to engage and I’ll only be able to get to 40mph. Easing of the gas and slowly picking up the speed will help. At other times I will loose power, and others the car will buck or jerk. I had the codes scanned and there was a lean fuel code, and some code pertaining to the knock sensor. Last year we had similar symptoms and the computer had to be replaced.

I must mention that I’ve had these problems for 2 weeks now, but it got worse after leaving my lights on and killing the battery. The computer reset, and everything is exaggerated after a jump start. Wondering if the computer is dying again, or maybe lost it’s programming.

I’m bringing it to the dealership. Last time we were told 10 different things by 10 different mechanics. I ended up spending close to $700 before finding out there was a recall on the computer and it was replaced for free at the dealership.

Hooked car to computer yesterday and codes said probable causes of SES light are: Open or short circuit condition, Poor electrical connection, or faulty TCM (transmission connection, I believe). So I guess my next stop is the mechanics for repairs.

Thanks to all for your help and suggestions!

Good luck Sheehanje!

Please give us the CODES. We can provide the code interpretations.
One of the usual Responders is a retire transmission specialist with many years experience. Maybe, he may see your question and respond; but, he needs the actual codes, also (such as P0704, etc.)

Sheehanje, even momentary power loss causes the engine, or transmission, computer to forget everything. Until either relearns, they can operate the engine, or transmission, very roughly.

I have a Ford Contour it does the same thing I was told to add gas addiative but it does not seem to work I will be taking my car to a shop for a test