Why does my SUV keep stalling?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader concerned that his Jeep Cherokee stalls in traffic.

The 2015 Jeep Cherokee.
The 2015 Jeep Cherokee. –Jeep

Q. I have a question regarding a stalling issue with my 2015 Jeep Cherokee. For the past 30 days, on three separate occasions, just after starting the vehicle and driving for less than one mile, my Jeep has stalled at a traffic light or stop sign.  It starts immediately back up with no problems thereafter. Is this something you have heard of or been aware of, and what do you think would be the cause? A colleague at work thinks it might be from a dirty or defective throttle-body. I would really appreciate your thoughts.

A. Generally, a dirty throttle-body will case a stalling condition just after the engine first starts. I would start with a basic under-hood check followed by a scan of the computer system. There may be a “pending” code or sensor reading that is almost out of the normal range which could give you a clue of the possible source of the problem. Some possible issues are the throttle-position sensor, cam/crank sensors, and idle-air-control valve. You could also try a quality fuel-injector cleaner. Dirty fuel injectors can cause intermittent stalling.


John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.