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Doesn't want to idle and sometimes the engine dies when i turn the wheel?

(2004 Kia Optima)
in Independence, KY on August 14, 2009
When my car goes to idle it tends to act like the car is going to die. Now when i start the car it stahls a little like it isn't going to start but after giving it a little gas it will, but unless i put it in drive or reverse right away it will die? Also a couple weeks ago I was making a left hand turn and the car engine died but i didn't know because the radio and light were still working. I was able to start it but it took a couple minutes and it was kind of acting like it was flooded. A week after that I was backing out of my drive way and the same thing happened. After that the idling problem got a little worse and then the check engine light just came on that evening. I need any help i can get. I don't know what to do? The idling has been on and off for about 1.5 to 2 months now?
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Popular Answer
on November 08, 2009
I had a customer with a problem very similar to this. He got his codes pulled, and the CRANKSHAFT POSITION SENSOR (B or A, doesn't matter) CIRCUIT (LOW, HIGH) INPUT was printed. That would definitely cause his running and starting problems, because the CPS sends the information of where your pistons are for ignition control.

Anyways, as I am replacing this part which is behind the timing belt, I noticed that his timing belt had only about 1/2 the teeth it should have. That would also have set the CPS, and if that wasn't replaced, could absolutely ruin your engine! This is because this is an "interference" engine, meaning the pistons and valves come so close together, that if your timing was off (easy to do if you blow a timing belt) substantially your pistons and valves would actually smack into eachother and cause massive damage.

So, I went ahead and replaced his timing belt (about $50) and the Crankshaft Postiion Sensor (~$50-100), and his car runs great! This is generally a more expensive repair at most places, ranging from ~$300-$600 or more. But, if your handy and have a set of metric wrenches, you could save yourself some money and get it done in a day, starting early.

So go and get your codes pulled, your problem is most likely a bad timing belt throwing the sensor off a bit (replace it anyway while your in there), or another sensor, like the Mass Air Flow sensor, or possibly the Fuel Pressure Regulator.

Codes tell a lot, so whenever your Check Engine Light Comes on, get the codes pulled for free at Auto Zone or O'Rielly Auto Parts, and get their opinion. Also, especially with Imports such as the Kia, call the dealership and ask if you can talk to a technician (they probably won't let you, but this is your in on asking the service rep his opinion on your code, and he'll tell you what they normally do for that trouble code. Generally they just say "you must bring it in". Just tell them that you bought their dealer part and they will hopefully help you.)

Sidenote - never buy Stealership parts when working on your car - much too expensive. just google your part and find the exact OEM factory part for much cheaper than the dealership.

So, hopefully it's just a simple-to-replace Mass Air Flow Sensor, but if it's the timing belt and sensor like my experience, I can guide you through that process with pictures and step-by-step instructions.
on September 29, 2009
Did you find out what was causing the idle problem? Have you had the codes for the check engine light checked?
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