General Question

mowens's avatar

What is up with my car?

Asked by mowens (8353points) January 31st, 2011

When I am at a dead stop and I push the gas, the car seems to lose power, the lights dim, and the engine dies down. After a second or two of a lull, everything kicks back up. What is up with my car? It only happens at a dead stop? Do you foresee a future for me at the poor house?

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27 Answers

sonataking05's avatar

Well it depends on what type of car and or the problem. I would assume that from your description it is one of two possible things. First I was going to say it might be your fuel filter but the you said that the lights dimmed and I think it may be the battery. What year, make and model is your car, and when was the last time it was tuned up?

mowens's avatar

1998 Mercury Mountaineer – 8 cyl All wheel drive.

The battery is 3 months old. (tuned up 3 months ago.) :)

JLeslie's avatar

Spark plugs or some connection from the battery is my guess. Maybe the relay? I don’t think it is the battery or alternator. But, I am not a car expert by a long shot.

JLeslie's avatar

@mowens Was it tuned with someone you 100% trust? I once had a tune-up, and my car kept stalling out. Later I found out, by going to a different mechanic, the previous place had done nothing for my money. All the spark plugs were very very old, had definitely not been changed when I supposedly had the tune up. I had been competely ripped off. Once they were changed the problem was corrected.

tedd's avatar

Mike, its either your battery, your alternator, or your spark plugs. All three are very easy to check, try auto zone.

On a long shot it could be the belt connecting your alternator is worn out and is slipping. It would be spinning at idle, but it would increase in speed when you stepped on the gas, if its worn down it may slip initially and the lack of connection wouldn’t make enough power (hence the dimming electricity), until it catches fully.

tedd's avatar

and also, don’t give me any crap about the poor house, I know how much money you make..

ps: grumbles, no

mowens's avatar

@tedd Hahahah hey now.

mowens's avatar

@JLeslie As a matter of fact it wasnt. On top of other things, they left a napkin in my car and it caught on fire.

tedd's avatar

@mowens hahahahahaha sounds like these guys are bang up mechanics… real top notch

JLeslie's avatar

@mowens Please let me know if I wind up right so I can tell my husband I diagnosed a car problem. Lol.

john65pennington's avatar

Have you ever had the timing belt replaced? your vehicle is showing all the symptoms of a timing belt about to break. it shoud be changed about every 80,000 miles. if it is the belt, continuing to drive it may do more damage to your cars engine. find a mechanic and have him check it out.

tedd's avatar

@john65pennington Maybe…. But usually when the timing belt starts to go you experience misfirings and issues similar to the OP’s all the time, not just when initially applying gas from an idle. Could be worth checking though, even if its not the main problem if its never been changed it could definitely be time for it.

cak's avatar

Mechanic hubby says to have the alternator checked. Possibly the plugs. But if the alternator is going, it will drain a battery in a heartbeat. Autozone, Pep Boys – any of those places can check it.

sonataking05's avatar

The truck is a 5.0L pushrod V8 and does not have a timing belt it has a timing chain. I would still venture a guess that the fuel filter might be clogged. I have an 88 ford mustang with the same basic motor. It has EFI and if the fuel filteris clogged it will cause stumbles, stuttering, and possible stalling. The filter itself is between $8 and $10, and is not that hard to put in (rear of vehicle bolted to frame rail with a bracket) if your somewhat mechanically inclined. If the battery is newer, which you said it is. I would assume a worn belt ($25 to $35) depending on brand. Or it may be an alternator which can be tested as stated above at Autozone for free.

mowens's avatar

I did have the serpentine (SP?) belt replaced by the firey napkin people. Is that good or bad? haha

mowens's avatar

Oh and it is at the shop right now, so we shall see.

JLeslie's avatar

@mowens The same shop?

mowens's avatar

I took it somewhere else this time.

tedd's avatar

@mowens If they changed your serpentine belt, which in the vast majority of cars is what connects your alternator, then that would be the very first place I would check.

Given their propensity for leaving things inside the car to catch on fire… its not much of a stretch to assume they may have installed it incorrectly, not tightened it enough, used the wrong belt all together, etc.

The other possibilities (plugs, alternator, battery) are all very easily checkable at autozone.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t see how it can be the battery, and in turn not the alternator either, only because when my battery goes the car does not drop dead, what it does is not start. Seems like it is more likely the juice from the battery not getting to the rest of the car, something in the electrical system? But, again, I am not a mechanic by a long shot.

mowens's avatar

Dont say that that sounds expensive!!!! :)

JLeslie's avatar

@mowens Are you talking to me? I don’t think it is expensive. I still hold to spark plugs or the relay or something like that.

filmfann's avatar

Check your air and fuel filters.

mowens's avatar

Fuel injector cleaners did the trick.

tedd's avatar

@mowens Well thats easy enough…. Thats weird though that the power would dim from that. Wouldn’t have expected that.

JLeslie's avatar

@mowens Yay! Not too expensive right?

mowens's avatar

7 bucks.

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