Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

What might be wrong

My car sometimes goes dead when I take my foot off the gas and press the brake at stop signs or red lights. It makes a noise (like you have run off the road that has the treads that are supposed to wake you up) then shimmy and shakes before going dead.

I have had the transmission fluid changed, new fuel filter, air filter, fuel injectors cleaned. Any ideas what might be wrong?

It is a 2002 Ford Explorer Sport. My brother has a Ford Truck and he said his did the same thing except it did not die, he said it made the same noise and the transmission went out. Any ideas or help would be appreciated.


Based on your particular car and year, the most likely cause is that the IAC has become dirty and is sticking shut. There is now a new part with some changes in the design that make it very unlikely to stick. You should check into this.
There are other possibilities of course (bad transmission, bad brake booster, engine problems, …) but a sticking IAC (Ford usually calls them idle air bypass valves) is a common issue for your car.

Thanks, I will check into that. In December 2006, my check engine light came on and after 400.00 worth of work, it came back on. They then told me it was the IAC and it was changed. Do you think it might have gone bad that quick?

It’s possible, but the new part was out before 06, so you should have the new one now which shouldn’t fail this way. Maybe time to look at the transmission. Don’t take it to a chain shop. Use a dealer or an independent mechanic only.

Three years? Yes, it can. No way to know, but it can. Before I got my 2002 Sienna, I had a rather disgusting 1989 Dodge Caravan. Great car, but every time I stopped to visit someone during my travels, as soon as I got into town, I had to call a mechanic.

The IAC went bad, and that time I could not find a after-market part, so I paid over $100 for a high quality part from the Dodge dealer in McAllen. Within a year that wonderful high quality Dodge part went bad, but I was able to find a cheap after-market part which was still working when I sold the car.

By the way, if your car has a tachometer, a bad IAC will show the rpm bouncing around more than it would on a good IAC. On a good one, it will usually go smoothly to the normal idle speed any time you would expect it to idle. A bad one will show it bounding around, going perhaps lower or higher than normal, then back down far enough to die. Once you learn what it looks like, it is very obvious, as many things are when you know them well.

Thanks for that information. I will start looking at the RPM to see if it is bouncing around. It only happens every so often but I hate to be stranded. When I took it in to fixed in Dec. 2006, it cost over 120.00 and I am not sure it is was an after-market part or not. I did not take it the dealership because they would not honor my extended warranty since it was a month after 4 years. Before the mechanic said it was the IAC, they told me it was the catalytic convertor but when I took it to a place that did that, they told that was not the problem.

Thanks again!