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Q: Engine idle on 2000 Dodge Avenger

My 2000 Avenger w/184000 miles started idling rough.Rpms drop from 1000 to below @ idle.Check engine light is now flashing.Head gasket? plugs?
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A flashing MIL lamp indicates an engine misfire which can be attributed to excessivly low idle speed. A prolonged misfire will set a diagnostic code, causing the MIL lamp to be illuminated continously. Before panic sets in, try cleaning the throttle body before you start replacing parts. Over time the bore in the throttle body becomes dirty and plugged from residue created from the combustion process. When the air gap between the throttle plate and the throttle bore becomes plugged up, this will cause stalling, usually when lifting your foot off the accelarator pedal as when comming to a stop. It can also cause a hard start condition as the Idle Air Control Motor cannot respond fast enough to compensate for the lack of "Minimum Air Flow" past the throttle plate. A dealership or repair shop can clean the throttle body for about 1 hours labor. If you are mechanically inclined, you can perform this yourself. Purchase a aersol can of Throttle Body cleaner at your automotive supply store. remove the aircleaner and duct assy exposing the throttle plate. With the engine OFF. open the throttle plate, spray the cleaner sparingly on the throttle plate and bore and wipe with a rag wrapped around your finger. repeat this until clean on throttle plate and bore. Use caution not to spray cleaner on sensors (TPS) attached to throttle body and they can be damaged by the chemicals within the cleaner. Also, be careful not to let the throttle plate close on your fingers as the return spring is quite strong. If the condition continues, then further diagnosis will be needed.
A Check engine light can come on for many many reasons. The first step is to check the codes, before that you can perform a visual check of the wires and hoses, but that;'s about it. If you can get the codes and post someone can give more info.
If the Check Engine Light is flashing it means that there is a misfire. The flashing CEL is to warn you that the misfire is severe enough to damage your CAT converter. Be prudent with how much you drive your vehicle in this state. Misfires are most commonly caused by worn out plugs, wires or bad coils.
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