Surges and Stops

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Hi Bob,
I keep a diary of all your tips. We love your column. Our car has been surging for several months now. We have taken it to two dealers and they cannot locate the problem. Sometimes it does it and sometimes it doesn't. All spark plugs have been replaced, oil and air filter. When it does surge it jerks and sounds like it's choking and sometimes backfiring. Any suggestions? Also when your car's brakes lock up what do you do?

Dear Puzzled,
First, why are your brakes locking up?? This is not a good thing. Now, if your car has anti-lock brakes, and you feel they are activating, or you are in a situation that from past experiences you know the brakes are going to lock, then keep your foot on the pedal and apply even pressure! Now, remember this is only for those vehicles equipped with anti lock brakes. DO NOT PUMP THE BRAKES!! This defeats the anti lock computer. Remember that the computer can pump them faster than you. In years past, we were all taught to pump the brakes to avoid them locking up. That is all out the window now. Now, if this is not what you are asking and your wheels are indeed locking up, then you should have the system checked by the dealer!

Now, back to your initial question, this "surging" business. Choking is usually due to insufficient fuel mixture, backfiring is usually due to bad timing. It would sound to me that you are having an emissions component failure. But, which one? I would have either the mass air flow sensor or the map sensor check (depending on which you have) then the ignition module, and while you were at it, have the fuel pressure checked. A loss of power could also be due to a catalytic converter being plugged, but why did it plug in the first place?
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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