Racing Engine at No Warning Syndrome-Honda Accord


I had a 1986 Honda Accord that, around 1996, developed a very bad habit of ?Racing Engine At No Warning? Syndrome. It first occurred while approaching a curve at about 45 mph. After that, it occurred usually while backing out of a parking place, or shortly after starting the car and driving just a short distance. My first thought was that the accelerator was sticking, but pulling it up had no effect ? I always just had to wait it out. There was never any warning, the occurrences were weeks or months apart, and I could never reproduce it at will. Of course, no mechanic or my husband ever was in the car when it happened and, quite frankly, I think they don?t believe me.

It was quite frightening as the engine revved up to 3000-5000 r/min. each time. Luckily I was always able to slam on the brakes and prevent the car from moving forward rapidly. I lived in fear of the syndrome occurring on ice.

The problem ?solved? itself when I was rear-ended in 2002 and the car was totaled.

We now have a 1995 Honda Accord (purchased in 1997). Over the last year and a half, this car has developed the same syndrome. It has happened 3 times ? once when I was leaving my garage (about 20 feet forward), and just last week when I was leaving the parking lot of a home improvement store (about 100 feet). I am again living in fear of icy streets.

Do you have a clue? The car is perfect in every other way, and I want to drive it as long as possible. I would still have the 1986 Accord if that woman behind me had only been paying attention and I want to keep this car as long as possible too. TIA.


What do the two Hondas have in common? Several things; but, of particular interest (to me), they have an “idle air control valve”. If this valve were to go “full open”, it could send the engine rpm 'way up! Of course, an intermittent vacuum leak (like, from the brake power booster hose)could, also. Click on this Web page for a viewing of the iac valve.,iac%20valve/shopping/allResults.htm From your favorite store (Walmart) get a spray can, or two, of carb and throttle body cleaner. Remove the black plastic tube after the engine air filter. Spray inside the aluminum throttle bore and throttle plate. Disconnect the vacuum hoses from the idle air control valve, and spray into the iac valve very generously. Let sit a few minuets to soak the carbon and oil deposits. put everything back together. Start and run the engine at a fast clip. The exhaust will be very smoky for a few. Repeat the process as many times as you wish.
Will it fix the rpm racing? Don’t know. It might.


Learn to put the shift lever in neutral. This will free the drive wheels from an over-revving engine. People who drive stick shifts don’t have this problem because it is second nature to push the clutch in at times like this.

Left foot braking is another way to minimize this problem, especially while parking. But I hesitate to recommend left foot braking because most people are not capable of doing it safely.

Use throttle body cleaner as described previously. I use it on my wife’s '98 Accord every 12k miles and haven’t had repeats of the throttle sticking problem.


I forgot to mention that it is a stick shift.


In fact, they don’t have too much in common. The '86 had a carburator (no IAC) and the '95 is fuel injected.


According to, the 1986 Honda Accord LXi had FI. But, either way, the carb/throttle body cleaner should be used gererously in the throttle body, through whichever openings (non-electric, of course).


I took my 93 Accord to the mechanic this week, along with a printout of this thread. I told them to read it and do what you said. I explained that I’d had this problem on 2 cars, and no one had ever been able to find the cause or duplicate it.

When I came back, they’d charged me $90 to look for the problem and had not used the carb/throttle body cleaner. I protested and with a little persistence, they removed the charge, but are trying to sell me a $225 fuel system cleanup and now are pissed with me.

I asked if they wouldn’t just try the carb/throttle cleaner and he said if something in the part was Teflon, that stuff would eat through it.

So, I still have my $90, but my racing engine problem still looms and now my mechanic is mad at me (and I know that I should be … and am … mad at him!). Is there any credence to the Teflon eating story?