CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Intermittent Stalling at Start - 2004 Focus

My 2004 Ford Focus Hatchback has 152,000 miles on it. At the end of last year the engine started dying/stalling as soon as I started it - I would have to keep my foot on the gas to keep the engine going. I took it to the dealer and they put in a WHOLE NEW THROTTLE BODY. They also told me I needed a new battery and updated the car’s software. Total $700. About a week to 10 days later, the car started doing the dying out after starting thing again - intermittently - didn’t matter if the engine was hot or cold, fuel high or low, weather rainy, cold or clear and warm. This morning I worked for 20 minutes to keep the engine going, made sure the engine was warm, and it STILL stalled out. I called in for a tow, called the dealer and said I’d be coming in, went back out to the car … and it started right up without stalling. Arrgghh! Drove it to the dealer and they’ve now told me they can’t find anything at all wrong with the car. They are keeping it overnight to see if they can duplicate the stalling tomorrow morning. Any thoughts? The new throttle body cost me about $500 in December. (Don’t know if it matters, but the defroster fan was super loud this morning, but once the engine was able to idle, the loudness disappeared …). It’s been a great car, but maybe it’s time to start looking. Thanks !

I believe the idle air control valve may be your real problem. If they are able to fix it, you shouldn’t have to pay for both repairs. They need to give you a break.

http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=382745&cc=1434123

Thanks db4690 - just called the Ford Service guy and passed your comment re idle air control valve on to him to pass on to mechanic. (Wish we could actually TALK to the mechanics at the dealership like in the olden days!) Thanks, again!

@MaryAinMI, you can meet with your service advisor and request to meet with the mechanic. Of course, the service advisor will also be present.
The main reason customers don’t talk to mechanic is because they’re generally not allowed in the shop. If a customer were to get hurt in the shop, the legal department would have a field day!