Engine Idle Speed Is Erratic and Surges


My Ford compact has a idling problem it does not keep the correct idle speed when at a stand still. The car drives fine going down the road. It only does it at a a stand still do you have a solution for that?


Hey there,

I think so, a common problem with Ford products is a “dirty throttle body” and dirty “idle speed control motor” which should be cleaned periodically for good maintenance. When these parts get dirty it can cause erratic idle speed and dying at idle problems.

Your local mechanic or even some of the fast lube places can clean these items for you relatively cheaply and quickly. Cleaning these parts usually produces smoother idle speeds and quicker starts.

Some mechanics like to replace the idle speed motor but I prefer to try and disassemble them and clean them with a mild intake parts cleaner you can buy at your local auto parts store. The little motor has a tag that says “Do Not Clean”….but I do it anyway with success.

Keep me posted will ya?

Austin Davis

These are some pictures of a typical throttle body

Picture 209

Picture 211

Here is a video I made of me cleaning a throttle body

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."
  • Alexander Vargas

    Hey, what type of cleaner can I use? Is there something that can be found in the house for this? Take note that I am not living in the US, therefore, getting common cleaners in your repair shop or lubes is not that easy.

  • Austin Davis

    I would first clean the throttle body and idle speed motor and see what happens. Yes, a vacuum leak can also cause this type of problem.

    Here is a video of me cleaning my throttle body, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXwqBf4cqic

  • m j somner

    2002 monty 3.8 series 2 high idle rpm @ 3000 ,changed $150.00 misc parts no change .do I have vaccum leak. help.