Sound car makes before shutting down on its own


#1

When sitting in traffic, for instance, my vehicle makes that little rattling or trembling sound as if it’s about to shut off. However, it never does turn off on its own. But I’m curious what’s causing that sound. Any ideas?

Thanks


#2

If it’s a metallic rattle, it could be a loose heat shield near the catalytic converter or in the engine compartment.


#3

There’s also a sound of as if the car is trying to stay on. It’s almost like somebody is stepping very lightly on the gas pedal but it’s discernible.


#4

What can you tell us about…

the RPMs indicated by the tachometer when this situation is taking place
and
the maintenance record (in detail) of your mystery vehicle?


#5

Sounds like a tune up is in order and the computer is doing it’s job a little CYA.


#6

This problem is very common on those 1972 pintos, especially when the mileage is that high. LOL.

How about you start at the beginning. What kind of car is this and how many miles are on it? Other than regular oil changes (if that), what else can you say about maintenance? Plugs, wires, filters, etc.

With the almost nothing I know about the car and the symptoms I’m going to throw out the WAG of a small vacuum leak coupled with a loose heat shield on the exhaust.


#7

"With the almost nothing I know about the car and the symptoms I’m going to throw out the WAG of a small vacuum leak coupled with a loose heat shield on the exhaust. "

Did 1932 Essex sedans have heat shields on the exhaust?
;-))

For all we know, this “vehicle” could even be a John Deere tractor!


#8

My apologies for the omission, friends. It’s a 2002 Ford Explorer with 93000 miles. I bought it several months ago and I’ve adhered to the suggested oil change schedule. Although driven sparingly in the city, it has not needed any repair work in the time I’ve owned it.


#9

Ok, but oil changes are the least of it. You should pull out the recommended maintenance schedule for it, and go through it all. Oil changes are the least of it. It probably needs plugs and wires, fuel and air filters, cooling system service, etc. If you have service records from prior owner(s), then compare to see what is up to date or not. If you don’t have any service records and don’t know a whole lot about these things, I’d find a reputable, local, owner-operated, non-chain-store shop. Tell them that it’s coming up on 100K and you don’t know its maintenance history and want to bring it up to date. Ask them how to go about doing that without any huge sticker-shock (this is where the “reputable” part comes in).

This should all be done for your own long-term benefit rather than to “fix” this problem. Tell them about the rattle and they can probably find whatever is loose without too much trouble.

And it sounds like you are undershooting at idle. This can come from lots and lots of different things. That could get sorted out just by doing the maintenance. It could require some investigation.

Is your check engine light on?


#10

No it’s not on. But thanks for the advice. The mere thought of finding a reputable and honest shop (if it isn’t a myth) petrifies me. But I suppose it must be done as I don’t want to cause damage to the Explorer.


#11

…and even if the Ford Maintenance Schedule does not list it, you need to have the transmission fluid (& filter) changed. If you don’t, you can look forward to transmission failure sometime in the next 20k-30k miles. Hopefully you will do everything listed in the official maintenance schedule, plus having the transmission serviced.


#12

“The mere thought of finding a reputable and honest shop (if it isn’t a myth) petrifies me.”

Understandable. You need a really small place - like with 5 or fewer people working at it. I don’t use shops for much anymore, but the one I’ve gone to recently when needed is a young guy and his wife and one of his friends. That’s it. Their last name is on the business. Avoid places where you can’t talk directly to whomever is actually looking at your car and have to go through the counter instead. Just start asking anyone you know where they take their cars and what they think about it.

Or just find a friend that knows a lot about cars. An experienced eye can make some pretty good guesses about things like whether or not you’re still riding on the original coolant, plugs, wires, etc. and then help you prioritize how to proceed in a way that spreads it across your budget. I do this plenty for friends.