CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

OK to drive?

Last night, in extremely icy conditions, my 2001 Ford Windstar couldn’t make it up the hill on ice. I gunned the engine, the tires spun, I got to the top of the hill, but then the engine stopped, with first the battery light, then the check engine light on. The lights and radio stayed on, but I was pressing the accelerator and the van wouldn’t go. I activated my hazards and turned off the ignition. I waited a moment, and it started right up, no dash service lights on, and I made it the half a mile home… is it OK to drive today?

Did it start ok, today?

It sounds to me like the van stalled. I don’t think anyone can tell you whether it will stall again or not - but there’s only one way to find out. I think your biggest problem is the ice rather the engine.

Who knows why it stalled? Just go ahead and drive it and keep an eye on the guages for any issues. Can’t see how spinning the wheels up a hill would have done much except overheated the tires and transmission.

If you have to ask…

Seriously, if you aren’t sure, you shouldn’t let strangers on the internet decide. Get it checked out by a mechanic.

I’m wondering if this vehicle has some kind of traction control system that cut your power. Reading the owner’s manual might shed some light on the situation.

Thanks… it worked fine today. I let it warm up well to make sure no lights came on, then traveled 20 miles without any problems. I’ll take it to the shop next week.

Did you rev the engine all the way to the redline (which really wouldn’t be a good idea)? If so, maybe your rev limiter malfunctioned and stalled the engine completely.