Plugs, distributors, and the engine


I had a scary experience a few weeks ago. After my car had been stalling at idle only, it threatened to stall while I was exiting a hwy. The engine started to sputter and the rpm needle jumpded around wildly. I pulled in to a gas station and had it towed.

I had it previously diagnosed by the local Honda dealer. It is a 1998 Honda Civic EX, 4 cylinder with 117k. The dealer told me the P1362 check engine code and further diagnosis pointed to a bad distributor circuit. He said it would only stall at idle, and would just be an annoyance.

After the engine began losing power while I was driving, I went ahead and had the distributor replaced at Honda. Is there anything else that might cause those kinds of symptoms?

So far it has not stalled, but seems to vibrate more than it used to. I just got transmission fluid serivce last Saturday. I still worry about the symptoms returning.

Any insight is appreciated. I made a related post last May. Several had mentioned the cause might be the distributor, or a dirty throttle bottle (Thanks for that advice! I also asked them to clean the throttle body).

I want to make sure I have done all I can to prevent my car from stalling while I’m driving again, it’s very dangerous symptom driving on a hwy.


The diagnosis was done, and the part replaced and repaired. The problem went away.

As far as preventing it in the future, all you can do is follow the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual. Parts will break and need attention. Just the way it goes.

Stalling at idle only can also point to a dirty or faulty Idle Air Control valve. Cleaning the throttle body could POSSIBLY cure an IAC valve problem.

Stalling while going down the road could also be any one of a number of things. Some of the most likely are a failing fuel pump, failing main relay, or a failing ignition switch. (The distributor could also cause this)

The switch is under recall I believe, so if this has not been done I would advise getting it done pretty quickly. This recall is provided free to you by Honda Motor Co. Hope that helps.

Falling off of performance is often a result of falling fuel pressure. A dirty fuel filter will drop fuel pressure. Change the fuel filter.
Worn spark plugs can cause misfire. Replace the spark plugs. It’s getting near time to change the spark plug wires, too.

Yes, that is very helpful ok! I’ll have to call the dealer back this weekend. Thanks!

I hear you, but I’m crossing my fingers for about a month - syptoms seemed to come and go on a monthly basis before the shop work was done. Though there is no check engine code and so far so good - my main fear is stalling, or losing power on a highway and getting pancaked by a semi, or rear ended at high speed. A lot of people like to ride your bumper on express ways and would not have time to correct if a car in front of them should stall. If you suddenly lose speed/stall, a dangerous wreck could occur. I don’t want a bad back or worse for the rest of my life. It has stalled once before while I was driving - the code it put out at that time was related to the catalytic converter. I had that replaced. The more factors I can rule out, the safer I will be as well as other nearby drivers.

Thanks for that advice!