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jrloar, ASE Master Cert
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Experience:  ASE Master Certification
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Ford Focus ZX3: I have a 2002 Ford Focus that has only 16,000

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I have a 2002 Ford Focus that has only 16,000 miles on it. Today I was running errands and at the last stop when I went to start my car the engine started but as soon as I took my foot off the gas the console lights came on and it died. Can you help me.

jrloar : Does the care run ok now.
jrloar : Sorry I should of introduced myself. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do my best to help you with your problem.

Hi Jim,


My car runs okay now but this is the second time in a month that it happened.

jrloar : Does the car run ok now?

Yes. but I'd like to know could have caused the problem.

jrloar : Does ihow do you get it to start when that happens?


jrloar : When it shuts off will it start back up?

Yes, it starts back up but then as soon as I take my foot off the gas it shuts off. I called AAA and was going to have it towed but when the tow guy came he tried gunning the motor for a couple of minutes which seemed to fix it. Again I'm concerned if this will happen again and wanted to have some idea of what is wrong before I take it to my mechanic.

jrloar : Do you always have your foot on the gas when you start it?


jrloar : I am guessing you are from the time you had caborated engines?
jrloar : Sorry befor fuel injection

I'm sorry, I don't understand.

jrloar : When you start a fuel injected car you should never apply any throttle.
jrloar : The computer will do this on its own.
jrloar : However to your problem.
jrloar : How far apart was your two problems?

Ohhhhh. Is my Ford Focus a fuel injected car. If yes, is it unnecssary to take it to my mechanic if I don't apply the trottle.

jrloar : It is fuel injected.
jrloar : But that still don't excuse the problem you have.
jrloar : The two times this happened, how far apart were they?

The last time it happened was about 1 month ago. Again, I had been driving all over town and making stops but at the last stop it happened. I was lucky that a mechanic stopped by the gas station I hoppled to and he fixed it my putting the car in neutral and turning the key 3 times and the problem was solved. He said it may have been a computer mix up.

jrloar : A computer does not have mix ups. They either work or not.

With the turning the key 3 times he said the car went into self analysis. I tried it when it happened today but, unlike him, in neutral the engine was turning over.

jrloar : However I am wondering if you have either water in the gas or a bad fuel pump relay. It is also possible the fuel pump is going bad on you.

Should I have my mechanic check the fuel pump. Is it costly to replace?

jrloar : If it is the fuel pump it is costly. Do you have any check engine lights on now?


jrloar : I personally would run a bottle of fuel injector cleaner threw it and runit to see if it accrues again. The problem with an intermittent problems like this is they are hard to find the problem. Thus they can be expensive to find and the repair...
jrloar : Then one thing you can try if it happens is turn the key off and on several times repeatedly without hitting the start position. If it is either the fuel pump or the fuel pump relay it may start. It that does solve the problem then I would say it is either the pump or relay.

That makes a lot of sense. Thanks for your help Jim. Now I have some knowledge that hopefully will save me money.


I think that's what the first mechanic did to get it to start.

jrloar : Like I said, Also do not push the throttle when starting a fuel injected car

I never knew thaty. I promise I won't.

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