Stalls After Dead or New Battery

Engine Stalls After New or Dead Battery

Engine idle is necessary for proper vehicle operation; it allows the engine to operate at the lowest RPM level possible without your foot on the gas pedal. At idle, your engine produces the least amount of emissions than in any other time it is operation. Even when your key is in the off position the vehicle still utilizes electrical power from the battery. The amount of electrical power used is a very small amount; the battery can sustain this usage for many weeks. But, when electrical power is completely removed from the system the natural memory is erased. This natural memory is a result of an accumulative data that has been processed and learned by the computer

One of the natural memory events is the engine idle speed. When the car battery is dead or replaced this natural engine idle speed is lost. After the battery is replaced or charged the engine idle will need to re-learn itself, this is normal. In some instances this re-learn procedure is un-noticeable while others are quite noticeable. During the idle-relearn period the engine will stall when in idle mode, but it is not unheard of too idle to high also. If you have replaced or charged your car battery and now the engine is stalling at idle, or idling to high or low follow the idle relearn guide below.

Step 1 - Engine idle low or stall: Once the new battery is installed or charged start the engine. When the engine try's to stall hold your foot on the gas pedal just a little to aid the idle speed. You will need to continue doing this until the engine is warm. When the engine is at operating temperature the basic engine idle setting will engage, the engine should re-gain idle properties. If the engine is still not responding a short drive is sometimes required, both feet will be used to perform this procedure. Put one foot on the throttle and the other on the brake pedal. Continue this until basic engine idle is achieved

Step 2 - Engine idle to high: Once the new battery is installed or charged start the engine. Start the engine and allow to warm up to operating temperature. As the engine warms the engine idle should return to normal. If the engine does not return to idle a short drive will be needed. (Note: if engine idle is extreme do not attempt this step). Drive the car until normal engine speed is engaged.

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Written by
Co-Founder and CEO of
35 years in the automotive repair field, ASE Master Technician, Advanced Electrical and Mechanical Theory.


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Article first published (Updated 2013-08-16)