I own a 2003 Ford Taurus 3.0 24 valve V/6 engine with 110,000 miles. Randomly, regardless of weather conditions, when the engine is at an idle it will stall. It occurs often when I get off the highway and am sitting in traffic. Some days it will happen three to four times, other times it does not stall at all. There are no computer fault codes stored. I have had all the tune-up parts replaced. Do you have any ideas?
QUESTION: I own a 2003 Ford Taurus 3.0 24 valve V/6 engine with 110,000 miles. Randomly, regardless of weather conditions, when the engine is at an idle it will stall. It occurs often when I get off the highway and am sitting in traffic. Some days it will happen three to four times, other times it does not stall at all. There are no computer fault codes stored. I have had all the tune-up parts replaced. Do you have any ideas?
ANSWER: A few things need to be looked at, including a lazy EGR valve and lazy idle air control motor. Carbon buildup in the throttle body will also affect idle speed and quality. In some cases unmated air from a vacuum leak and or PCV valve can also effect the idle, however this fault should set the check engine light on, and a lean condition should be in the computer memory. Have your technician disconnect the vacuum line to the EGR valve for testing purposes first. If this does not make any difference, have him manually turn the idle screw up 200 RPM, and again road test the car.
QUESTION: With our gasoline having alcohol already added, do I need to use gas-line antifreeze during the cold winter months?
ANSWER: I would not recommend the use of any form of gas-line antifreeze unless you know there is some water put in the gas tank.
QUESTION: I live in New York and own a 2004 Saturn Ion. The dealer was no help while under warranty. The problem is when the temperature drops below 32 degrees, the engine does not start. The dealer said the problem was the key; they replaced it and I still have the same problem.
ANSWER: I was alerted by a reader of a major ignition switch failure. Have the technician check Alldata and or Identifix for a history of this problem. You can also check you local AAA office for a list of AAA approved auto shops in your local area.
QUESTION: In 2007 I purchased a new Kia Spectra. The first winter and the first cold night I found a dead battery in the morning. After three tows the dealer replaced the battery. It worked fine until the next winter and again the battery went dead and again they replaced the battery. They told me to make sure the trunk was closed so the light would not come on and that I shut off the automatic headlight feature. Again this year, another new battery. Do you have any idea?
ANSWER: First if the dealer thought the problem was the trunk light all they had to do was disconnect it or remove the bulb. The same holds true for the hood and glove-box light if equipped. For a battery to go dead, something has to be draining it overnight unless the battery has an internal short. I would like the car left overnight at the shop of your choice. They can hook up a meter and check parasitic drain as well as check the battery voltage before they close and again in the morning and see if the battery voltage has dropped.
Junior Damato writes regularly about cars. You can send questions to him care of the Old Colony Memorial, 182 Standish Ave., Plymouth, MA 02360, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.