- The information on this page applies to 2000 thru 2006 Dodge Stratus and Sebring 2.0 L, 2.4 L, 4-cylinder and 2.7 L, 6-cylinder engines that stall or idle rough.
Engine stall is a condition when a motor vehicle or its engine stops running. It’s usually caused because of an overload on the engine. The term idle rough refers to when an engine runs slowly and uneven while the motor is either out of gear or disconnected from a load. In other words, a rough idle is when the speed of an engine is too low to continue operating. It is a common condition for an engine to idle rough before stalling. In fact, in many cases when both conditions occur together it is a result of one defect.
Different reasons and circumstances can cause an internal-combustion engine to idle irregularly and or stop running. The good news: Only a few possible causes usually trigger an engine stall or idle issue e.g., idle speed too low, incorrect fuel mixture, intake manifold leakage or faulty ignition coil(s).
Use the troubleshooting guide below if your engine stalls or idles rough, or both. It will help you trace and correct the malfunction so you get your car up and running again.
Engine Stalls or Idles Rough
Symptom of a Faulty Ignition Coil
An ignition coil is a coil assembly that supplies high voltage to the spark plugs so as to ignite the fuel. Ignition coils last around 100,000 miles but a number of conditions can lead to premature damage. Several circumstances can indicate a bad or failing coil.
- The automobile engine misfires, idles rough or experiences a loss of power. A faulty ignition coil almost always trigger a noticeable engine performance issue.
- Check engine light illuminates. If a check engine light comes on and the vehicle experiences a rough idle or stalling issue, the ignition coil could be the cause.
- Car does not start.
Symptoms of Intake Manifold Leak
An intake manifold is the part of an internal-combustion engine that supplies the air/fuel mixture to the cylinders, and sometimes a worn or damaged intake manifold gasket can cause an air leak. An intake manifold air leak is described as lower than normal manifold vacuum. It can result in one or more cylinders to stop functioning. To diagnose and test for an intake manifold leak, do the following:
- Start the motor.
- Use a spray bottle to squirt a stream of water in the area of the suspected leak.
- If the engine’s RPM’s change, then you’ve found the leak.
- Repair as needed.
Warning: When the engine is running, never stand in direct line with the fan or put your hands near belts, fan or near the pulleys. Secure any loose clothing.
Incorrect Fuel Mixture
If the air-fuel ratio (AFR) is not in accordance with factory specifications it can cause a vehicle to stall or idle rough. Several issues can trigger an air-fuel mixture imbalance, making it difficult to pinpoint a faulty or damaged component. An OBD-II scan tool is a device that helps identify the faulty components. The following issues can cause air-fuel mixture imbalance:
- Clogged fuel filter, faulty pressure regulator
- Pinched fuel supply return line
- Clogged or faulty fuel injector
- Incorrect injector installed
- Fuel injector needle sticking
- Faulty O2 or MAP sensor
- Faulty intake temperature sensor
- Worn or broken spark plug(s)
- Damaged, disconnected vacuum lines
Some automotive part stores can connect an OBD2 scanner to your vehicle so as to identify any fault codes, free of charge, then recommend a replacement part. You can buy one on Amazon at a cost of $25.00 – $75.00. Scanners are great tools to diagnose vehicle problems.
Idle Speed Too Low
When an engine idles too slowly it usually means not enough air flow is entering the engine. Numerous sensors and devices that, when faulty, can create an air flow imbalance. Worn out spark plugs can cause a low idle but it would also cause erratic idle and possible engine stall. Refueling patterns that alternate between unleaded fuel and E-85 should be avoided. Doing so can cause hard starting and rough idle situations when the ambient temperature is above 90°F. A severely dirty air filter can cause low idle. The most common reasons for minimum air flow include:
- Vacuum leak
- Faulty air control valve
- Dirty throttle body
A dirty throttle body can momentarily cause low idle and engine stall. This occurrence most often happens when abruptly coming to a stop. Although, the best way to find the reason for low idle is to use an OBD2 scanner. The last thing you want to do is start randomly replacing parts only to find out it wasn’t the cause of the problem. Having an OBD2 scanner is like owning a personal mechanic.
Sometimes you need to spend money to save money. That’s why I commonly recommend buying a OBD2 scanner tool. It can save you a lot of time and money in professional mechanic repair cost. The Onboard Diagnostic II tool can quickly check the engine and vehicle system and communicate all the possible errors in a matter of seconds.
Anyhow, it’s often hard to know what is wrong with a vehicle without observing the problem firsthand. If you’ve tried everything listed on this page but still cannot get your car running correctly, leave a comment in the comment box below. Make sure you describe in great detail exactly what the problem is and what you’ve already checked. I’ll try and come up with an answer.