Car won't stay on

I have a 96 Saturn SL2 that was running fine this morning, but after work I drove it about 3 miles down the road to a store. When I came out of the store and started my car, it started just fine, but then it died right away. It would only stay on if I kept my foot on the accelerator pedal, but once I removed my foot, it would die again. I drove all the way home with my left foot on the break and my right foot constantly giving it some gas so it wouldn’t die until I was home. Anyone know what is wrong? Thanks.

Several ideas; but, first, a couple of cheap, easy possible solutions. Look at all the vacuum hoses on the engine. Make sure that no electrical connector has become disconnected, especially, the one going to the MAF (just past the air cleaner). Get, and use, a spray can of MAF Sensor Cleaner (Mass Air Flow), and a spray can of throttle body cleaner. You could also take the idle air control valve (iac) out and clean its pintle (“plunger”) and the pocket it goes into. DON’T push in on the pintle part of the iac.
If the check engine light is on, have it scanned at an auto parts store (free). Bring any trouble codes here for advice,
The fuel pressure could have “gone south”. Make sure the fuel filter has been changed in recent history. If, after doing the sprays, it still has a problem, take fuel pressure readings.

green saturn:

what is the history of the car?

what repairs have been done lately? when (in relation) to the sputtering did you fuel up last? has the car done this before? as kit said, is the “check engine light on”?

I haven’t had much trouble with this car at all in the 3 years I’ve owned it. It is always very reliable. I had the alternator replaced a year ago, but that’s about it. No repairs have been done lately and the car seemed to be in good condition and was running well until tonight when it wouldn’t stay on. I had the oil changed two days ago, so I checked the oil level tonight just to make sure it was ok and it was. The last time I put gas in it was about a week ago. Car has never done this before and there is no “check engine” light on. One thing I forgot to mention before was that on my difficult drive home tonight I kept smelling antifreeze every few minutes, but nothing seemed to be overheating or anything. The first person to answer my problem had really good advice, but unfortunatly I don’t know too much about cars yet and my husband knows even less than I do…also I am not sure what some of the parts are that they are telling me to check and clean. Maybe I should just take the car to my mechanic in the morning. Thanks for the help, though!

I agree with hellokit. I really think it’s your IAC valve. I would do as hellokit suggest. If you don’t know how to do the work then take it to a trusted mechanic and see if they will trouble shoot it for you.