Honda Fit 2007 - check engine light NOT on, but car keeps dying at stop signs

Hi Car Talk Community,

Our beloved '07 Honda Fit Sport is having a mid-life crisis. We’re at 195,000 and have been running smooth - BUT for 3 months now it’s been dying at stop signs. This wouldn’t be a big problem, if the check engine light were ON - then our mechanic could make sense of it - but the check engine light is not on! When the mechanic runs a diagnostic on the car, no codes show any errors. He’s stumped.

When in drive, idling at a stop sign, the car loses RPM and silently dies. After we turn it back on (sometimes it takes 2 or 3 cranks), the car has trouble getting into 2nd gear. It goes into first, and as it accelerates it skips, and doesn’t go in 2nd, for a moment. We release the gas, try again and it engages.

The first time it did this, we had pushed the car on the freeway up and down hills, let it rest for about 2 hours, and then tried to drive. About a mile in, the car simply died at a stop sign.

The car seems to die more often after we’ve pushed it, let it rest, then driven it again.

So far the mechanic has done the following: Reconfigured the computer so that the engine would idle at a higher RPM. Cleaned the throttle body. Replaced the Throttle Body.

We took it to the Honda Certified mechanic and they thought the Throttle Body needed to be reconfigured. They did that, and it didn’t make a lick of a difference.

None of this has worked. We don’t want to keep throwing our money at it without a sense of what the problem actually is.

Anyone out there know what could be going on?

I would say you have a transmission problem causing the car to die.

The hint, I think, is the shifting problem. Possibly your torque convertor clutch is not releasing.


I thought about this as well, but I don’t think the OP would be able to idle at a stop sign before the engine stalls. It seems to me that the engine would stall as the car’s speed nears zero when approaching the stop sign, but maybe I’m wrong here.

Maybe a faulty crankshaft position sensor.


While researching this problem I found others with this vehicle and this problem and it turned out to be a bad EGR, and it did not set off the check engine light for some reason.

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Interesting. The car stalls after it has reached zero, while idling-- not as we approach zero.

Reading up on this, that seems like a possibility because 1. when the car dies it sometimes take a few cranks to get it going again 2. it’s been stalling 3. the car stutters between gears 1 and 2 and also sometimes in higher gears.

… but still, why no check engine light? Up until now the check engine light has worked just fine and always brought up error codes no problem…

Thanks for this. We don’t think it’s the EGR because the idle is not a rough idle - it’s normal and then just dies silently, no shaking, vibrating or additional noise.

Interesting that it didn’t set off the check engine light for others, though… maybe that puts the idea of a bad EGR back in the running?

If you read the article, it states the Check Engine light doesn’t always come on. And you may experience problems for quite some time before it does.

The tachometer gets its signal from the crank sensor.


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My first thought was the same as WW’s above EGR. That part is pretty easy for a shop to check. If I had that problem first thing I’d do is apply vacuum to EGR at warm idle and verify it stalled the engine. I’d also look at the EGR pintle (valve gadget) to make sure it is moving back and forth with applied vacuum. Next I’d make sure the EGR isn’t being activated when it shouldn’t be, at idle etc.

After that, besides the good idea above, other possibilities are

  • faulty throttle position sensor
  • overly lean operation at idle due to vacuum leak or intake air leak (check intake boots, fuel trim test)
  • ignition system or compression problem

hmmm … thinking about my experiences with stalling at stop signs? Most recent was on my truck, that was an ignition system problem causing a weak spark. Another time on my truck, problem was vacuum leak. Before that, on my Corolla, engine rpm was set too low and throttle position sensor not set correctly.