The idle stays up when shifting gears

I just bought a 1997 Saturn SL2 5 speed it runs great but when shifting gears the RPM stays high while changing the gears. The man who sold it to us said it’s done this ever since he’s had it (2yrs) and it also burns oil inbetween the oil changes. I’ve been told so much I’m torn what to try and do to fix’s the RPM to not stay so high while changing the gears. HELP IF YOU KNOW WHAT I CAN DO?

I forgot to say the RPM does drop to normal after 3 to 4 seconds but they stay to high when changing the gears.


How many miles?

Your clutch may be worn.

Here’s a "test"
Put car in driveway
Engage parking brake
Start car
Put car in 5th gear and attempt to drive forward
If the car does NOT stall, you’ve got a problem

As far as the oil burning goes, replace the PCV valve
Check and correct the fluid levels often (at least every week, from the sound of it)

My daughters Saturn did the same thing when shifting gears. It’s an emission control feature.

When you shift gears, you quickly release the accelerator pedal and this causes the throttle plate to close rapidly cutting the air off to the engine. This causes a sudden rich fuel mixture. The computer detects the sudden rich fuel mixture and commands the Idle Air Control valve to open more to let more air into the engine to lean out the rich fuel mixture which causes a higher idle.

As long as the idle drops to normal after a few seconds the engine is operating normally.


Tester is probably right. Still, I’ll chime in a bit w/some other ideas. A vacuum leak couuld cause this. My Ford truck – with an auto xmission – it refuses to quickly drop the RPMs when slowing down when it develops a vacuum leak. More so when cold than hot. Does it do this independent of the xmission? Like you were in your driveway reving the engine, then decelerating, pretending to shift gears? That’s one test you could try. Might provide a clue. One other thing. There’s an off-chance this may be caused by the throttle dashpot sticking or doing something it shouldn’t. It couuld just be the throttle is sticking somewhere too. Worth a try anyway since it is fairly simple to test and inexpensive to fix.

Most Saturns of that era are/were oil burners.

Thanks everyone I will have my fianc’e try some of these things. I sure hope it gets fixed I hate the RPM being so high when shifting the gears. I will keep a check on the oil as I’ve been told Saturn cars burns oil (sure don’t want it going to low and blow the motor). I like my little Saturn and the gas milage is much better than( my 4x4 it’s a gas HOG) Thanks for all your post :slight_smile:

Holding the throttle position during shifts was the only way they could get the stick shift models to meet emissions requirements…Many stick-shift cars of this period shifted like this, annoying but you get use to it…

Emissions compliance is why today there are very few stick shift models available…(in this country)