Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Wants to die at idle

Sis was driving to work today in her 97 dodge neon with 135,000 miles and had been running okay. Today it started just fine and off she went. After the car had warmed up it began to act like it wanted to die when she stopped at stop lights and such. She had to put into neutral and rev the engine a bit to keep it from stalling. But once she got the green it was fine. If she put it in neutral it seemed okay. She could turn the car off and it would start right back up. Any idea what might be causing this.

Last time you did the transmission flush? Maybe it’s trying to turn jello at a stop?

Transmission fluid red and fine, not the problem.

If she can prevent the engine from stalling by applying slight throttle, the problem might be with a finicky Idle Air Control valve. The next time you see her car, start it and while it’s idling take the handle of a screwdriver and tap on the IAC valve. If the idle speed changes, becomes erratic, or the engine stalls replace the IAC valve.


According to our mechanic it needed all new plugs and wires and some kind of gasket, of which I have never heard of or my sister was saying wrong. We shall see…total cost this time $150 total, parts and labor.

most common problem I have seen with these is the egr valve not closing all the way which makes it lean out and stall at a stop.

I’d have the battery checked as well, some auto parts chains will do this for you for free.

Has she ever needed a jump for seemingly no reason?

My theory: the battery (probably original) is not holding a charge very well, causing the alternator to run “full tilt.” When idling, the kick of the alternator coming on is probably pulling hard on the engine, which makes it want to die.

According to Batteries Plus a local battery store, the battery is fine. We have had some issues with the battery not getting a full charge and just had new belts and tensioner put on and that was suppose to solve that issue.