Question about 1996 Nissan Maxima

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Drives a bit funny, dies while idling

I have an 07 Kia Spectra, automatic engine. Just over a week ago, it gave me a bit of trouble starting. I figured, I hadn't driven it in 48 hours, so maybe it's just cold. But I noticed it driving a little weird - changing gears wasn't as smooth or something. A bit noticeable. And it died twice at red lights when it was close to work. I took it in for a 30,000 tune-up the next morning and mentioned the problem to the mechanic doing the servicing and then didn't give it another thought when I picked my car up.

Yesterday, on my way to work again, I had fueled up my car and went on toward work. No problems until I got within 2 miles of work (this job is 21 miles from my home). There's a stretch of surface street that's flat and straight without lights, and I noticed that it started changing gears but didn't completely change. And when I stopped at the light at the end of this stretch, then it died while idling. Started up right away, but then it died at the very next light. It starts up right away, but I'm at a loss at the whole reason why my car does this -- the whole reason of buying an 2007 automobile is not to have any kinds of problems.

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I may not have the correct solution but there are a few possibilities.
You exhaust catalytic converter may be clogged. This would prevent proper exhast flow, loss of power, and eratic shifting. To check for this, wait for your car to cool down and crawl underneath it. Locate the catalytic converter and hit it with the palm of your fist. If you hear a rattle, then it needs to be replaced. You can also roll down your window and listen while you drive over bumps if the sound has something to bounce off of like a wall or divider. If you hear a rattle like a loose part, it's probably the catalytic converter. These are expensive, expect to pay upwards of $200 to have it replaced or $80 to do it yourself (you need to weld and cut exhaust).
Your transmission could be low on fluid. Automatics have a dip stick that need to be checked while the engine is running and idiling. Your owners manual can be more specific.
Since you had a tune-up, this eliminates spark plugs, fuel filter and wiring. You may need your O2 sensor (oxygen sensor) checked. Your EGR (Exhaust Gas Return) valve may not be operating properly.
But,... your right, a 2007 should not be having any of these problems unless it has not been properly cared for. Whoever sold this to you, knew it had not been taken care of.
The best you can do, other than sell it, is to catch up on the problems and maintanence and address problems as soon as you notice them.
Vehicles that run poorly are difficult to diagnose because all of the parts are working, to some degree. The difficult part is to find out which component is not performing it's best.
There is a heiarchy as to why and how vehicles run. You need fuel/oxygen/spark. The spark should have been done in the tune-up. Correct fuel pressure and clean injectors are the next step. Then one would figure out if the oxygen or air/fuel mixture is correct. Some of these were mentioned above.
I hope this was somewhat helpful.

Posted on Oct 06, 2009


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