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Car won't stay on

My 2002 Mazda MPV has been idling a little rough for a few weeks. A few days ago we drove it through a wicked thunderstorm and ridiculous pools of water. The next day, the car would not start. It’s been a couple of days of trying, and now we can start the car (with a bit of pumping of the gas pedal), but it dies as soon as the foot goes off the gas. I have no idea if the problem is connected to the exposure to monster puddles or to the rough idling. I’ll need to call AAA to have the thing towed to the shop but since we are both woefully ignorant of all things auto, they could probably tell us anything and it would sound plausible. Does anyone have any ideas on what might be the most likely problem? Thanks so much!

From your description of the events leading up to the problem, I would suspect that the high voltage ignition components got doused with water and/or condensation. Drying and cleaning the spark plug ceramics, the spark plug wire boots (both ends) and the coil pack towers should help. If this MPV still has a distributor cap clean and dry the high voltage towers, the inside of the cap, the rotor, and the coil high voltage tower.

Hope that helps.

I suggest you check to see if there is any moisture around the ignition wires or the ignition components.

Yours are the classic symptons of a wet ignition system. The cost to get it back running well should be basically a tuneup. New plugs, wires, filters, etc.

Wow, thanks so much! That was so fast, and you three are awesome!

You’re welcome for the help. Hope you find the trouble.