Car wouldn't start until I gave it some gas


#1

I have a 09 Spectra. This morning when I went to start, it turned over fine but just wouldn’t catch. I tried it and gave it a little gas and it fired up just fine and I drove to work with no issues. No CEL came on or anything.

This is the second time it’s happened. First was over a year ago and after it sat for a week while we were on a cruise. This weekend it didn’t go anywhere. I just moved it in the driveway a little bit so I could rotate the tires and and moved it back.

Any clue on what it could be? If what I understand is correct, pressing the gas pedal on a fuel injected car shouldn’t matter, but apparently it did, so I’m not sure what’s what. Thanks!


#2

Sounds like your IAC (idle air control) may be failing. It’s mounted on the throttle body.


#3

Thanks! I didn’t think about that. We recently replaced the IAC on my son’s Escort. But that was because his would chug and run at low idle.

But I suppose there could be a 1000 different symptoms for a part going bad.


#4

Of course, clean out the entire throttle body while you’re at it.


#5

I like the IAC diagnosis but it could be as simple as time. Car sits for a long time, crank to start, no fire, crank with throttle, starts right up. Right?

If the fuel lines won’t hold pressure, the extra time might be needed to build pressure so the car will run. That could be caused by a very small leak in an injector or the same in a check valve in the fuel pump. A little fuel injector cleaner in the gas tank might fix you right up.

Either way, seems like a minor inconvenience at this point.


#6

Thanks. It wasn’t a long time the second time. It was the weekend and I did move out in the driveway just a bit. True, since this is the second time in over a year, I’m not too concerned yet, but will probably clean the throttle body and maybe even change the IAC.
I did just get home and it started and drove fine


#7

Try the “key dance:” turn the key to On (not all the way to Start), back to Off, back to On, and repeat this cycle two or more times. Each time you should hear the fuel pump run for a couple seconds. That will build up fuel pressure and bring fuel to the injectors. Then turn the key all the way to Start.

Flooring the gas pedal will bring lots of air into the cylinders and clear out any excessive richness that may have resulted from a leaking injector.