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engine light came on, car sputters stopped in drive, revs up in park. What's wrong?

(2002 Ford Focus)
in Loveland, CO on March 29, 2010
Not real sure about the engine SOHC or DOHC?
It just started this 3 days ago. It has about 67,000 miles on it. Every time I drive it and stop [in drive], the engine sputters and acts like it will die. When I put it in neutral while stopped, it quits sputtering and revs up softly off and on until I go again. If I put it in park, the engine revs up too.
I'm afraid that it will die completely if I don't have it checked out soon!! Help?? Should I have diagnostics done on it?
Thanks, lilygal
Displaying 1 answers & 3 comments
Popular Answer
The sputtering and poor running could be caused by many things but most likely a bad spark plug or ignition related item or a vacuum leak but basic diagnostic tests need to be carried out before jumping to conclusions. If the Check Engine light/Service Engine Soon light illuminates while you are driving, the car's on board computer sees a fault in the engines management system that is causing an excess amount of pollutants to be emitted from your car. This could result in engine damage if left neglected. Some problems that can cause the Check Engine light to stay on may take two "drive cycles' to complete before illuminating the Check Engine Light. The computer sees a problem and looks for an identical set of circumstances to occur to confirm that it has indeed seen a problem before turning on the light. A Check Engine light that continually flashes while you are driving is serious and is a sign that the computer sees a problem that seriously risks damaging the catalytic converter which may result in an expensive repair or even may cause a fire! Diagnostic codes are stored in the vehicle's computer and can be retrieved using a scantool that communicates with the computer in your car. We have in our Repairpal website an encyclopedia with in depth articles about computer, and computer control systems, emission and driveability problems.
on April 01, 2010
Thanks for your advice. I had diagnostics done on it and turns out, there was a hole in a vaccum hose.
The repair cost only $85. I was shocked and relieved because this guy said just the diagnostics test was $85. I got very lucky with this one-man shop, bless him!!
Thanks again and I hope you will continue helping desperate people like me!! Lilygal
P.S. If anyone wants an honest repair guy in the Loveland/Fort Collins, CO area, it's WESTLAKE 66, right to the north of the north Kings Soopers!
on January 21, 2011
i think 85 for a vacuum leak is a real big rip off iwouldve fixed it for a six pack lol!! nah but im glad your back on the road in one piece!!
on January 21, 2011
I think the $85 was really for the test and he didn't charge me for the repair, since it was so simple. I'm assumming it was simple. Sounds simple to replace a hose. Are you a mechanic??
I just has to replace the original battery [2002] for $80 installed. Is that a good deal?? I looked around and that's what most of them were going for.
Thanks for replying 10 months later.
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