My car's engine has very low idling

Is it a common issue?
by Joey Bernardez | Mar 29, 2018


Good day!

First of all, good job with the informative articles and tips Top Gear Philippines has been posting. They're a big help for new drivers like me.

I am newbie driver, and I have a Kia Picanto as my first car. After a few months of driving, I noticed that when I go to stop/idle for a red light or to park, the revs go below normal (around 600-400rpm) to the point that the engine makes a weird clacking noise and vibrates for a few seconds before going back to normal again (around 800-900rpm). This is very noticeable and frequently occurs when the A/C is on.

Is it maybe the way I stop? What I do when I pull over is I depress the clutch fully then brake until the car stops. Then I change to neutral. Is this bad?

I didn’t encounter this in my driving classes with a Toyota Vios or when I drive my father’s Hilux, so I'm not sure if this is normal for the Picanto. I went to the casa for a check-up and they said they couldn't encounter this issue when they did a test drive. But they cleaned up the throttle valve and updated the ‘computer system’ (I don't remember the exact name) but still the issue is there. I'm not sure if this is because of my driving habits so I hope you guys can give me some pointers.

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I can't let other car shops inspect it as a Kia service staff mentioned that it will render the car's warranty null and void. So I hope you guys can help me figure this out or give a suggestion to avoid it. It's really annoying and keeps me worried that the car might stop in the middle of the road.

Thanks and more power!

Rain B.


Hi Rain,

It sounds like you’re driving the car correctly and you’re doing nothing wrong.

The items that your dealer addressed like cleaning out the throttle body and updating the ECU’s software are good first steps. But if your idling problem is still bugging you, I would pressure them to inspect a few other things like:

*Tune-up. Have them check the spark plugs. Your spark plugs may have gone bad or may be fouled. Have them cleaned out or replaced.

*Spark plug wires. Are the wires good? Have them checked with a continuity tester.

*Fuel lines, filters, and injectors. They could be partially clogged. Have them cleaned out or replaced.

*Idle air control valve. Sometimes this is also called the idle speed control valve. This part controls the idle speed under varying load conditions. Malfunctions of this part could be a bad connection or an intake manifold leak.

*Air-con compressor. Does this only happen when the A/C is on? It could be that your A/C compressor bearing has gone bad and the engine is having a hard time turning the compressor with the bad bearing at idle. Have the compressor checked.

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If your car’s still under warranty, I suggest you take advantage of that warranty and have all the foregoing items checked. No need to go to an independent shop. All these things can and should be checked under the warranty.

Hope this helps!

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