Most car owners have experienced some form of a car idling problem at one time or another. The various issues that can disrupt a smooth idle are numerous, making an encounter with the issue fairly common. Fortunately, most problems are small enough to be looked over at home, rather than requiring a visit to a mechanic.
Engine idles low or stalls during idle - This is most easily noticed at a stop sign or stop light when the engine is still a bit cold. The second your foot leaves the gas pedal, you may feel the car get a bit wonky before giving out and stalling. There are a few issues that can be causing this, but the most common cause (for fuel-injected vehicles) is having a dirty throttle body. When a car is turned on and off, the air that goes through the engine is filled with vapors and soot, which build up around the throttle body and throttle plate. This means the air passageway begins to get clogged slowly, making it more difficult for the air to flow through, which is ultimately responsible for the engine stalling while idling. Use a toothbrush and cleaner to scrub the throttle body and surrounding areas if you suspect this to be the issue.
Engine idles high - Occasionally, the engine can also idle high. You can notice this on your dashboard or you might even be able to hear the engine make a higher pitched noise when idling as well. There can be a few causes for this, but the most common issue is a vacuum leak. Vacuum lines are the rubber hoses that connect the throttle body to the intake manifold, and while it can be difficult to locate a leak on the lines, they are cheap and easy to replace. It could also be the engine overheating. Keep your eye on the temperature gauge on the dashboard, and if the needle ends up close to the H, you know it's also time to take a look at the cooling system for the car.
Cars can be intimidating, especially when they seem to die out of nowhere. Thankfully, cars can be pretty simple to diagnose with a bit of education. Reading through your vehicle's owner's manual and being responsible with regular maintenance will go a long way to avoiding these types of issues. Foresight and education are the best weapons when it comes to auto mechanical problems. If you're ever unsure of what's wrong with your car, don't hesitate to take it in to an auto maintenance service like G P Automotive.