Idling Problems With an Oldsmobile Alero

by Edmund Gary
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When the engine of an Oldsmobile Alero is not idling smoothly, you have cause for concern. The next question is whether you can remedy the problem with a do-it-yourself job or whether the car has to go into the shop for repairs. Logically narrowing down the source of the problem is time-consuming, but if you continue to drive a car with an idling problem, it can be dangerous. You risk stalling at an inopportune time.

PCV System

The positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system helps control automotive pollutants by drawing blow-by gases from the crankcase into the intake manifold, where they are mixed with the fuel-air mixture and burned in the engine. The Reader's Digest Complete Car Care Manual says that yearly inspection of the PCV valve and plastic hose can ensure the system is clear of blockages. The 3.4-liter V-6 models have the PVC valve on the front valve cover and next to the upper radiator hose.

Ignition Coils

The experts at Repair Pal say corrosion may develop at the connection between the ignition coil tower and the sparkplug wire. This problem arises with V-6 models. You can correct the condition by replacing the ignition coil and the sparkplug wire. The sales brochure for the 1999 and 2004 Oldsmobile Alero says the sparkplugs for all Alero models last 100,000 miles before replacement. Malfunctioning ignition coil modules or ignition coil housings can cause two cylinders to misfire, according to Great Auto Help. The internal circuits fire two cylinders as a pair. The symptoms are no power, hard starting and poor idling. This problem can arise with the 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine.

Fuel Pump

The fuel filter may cause poor idling or complete failure of the fuel pump. The technicians at Repair Pal recommend that the fuel filter be replaced every 30,000 miles so it will not cause a strain on the fuel pump. Engine stalling or failure to restart is also a symptom of a bad fuel pump.

Flow Sensors

Airflow or mass flow sensors measure the volume of air flowing through them and convert the measurements into voltage, according to Module Master. If these sensors malfunction, they will not be able to measure the air flowing into the intake manifold. Therefore, the engine control unit (ECU) will not be able to meter the appropriate amount of fuel to send to the combustion chamber.


Idling problems with Oldsmobile Alero can be an annoyance. You can discover the source of the problem by taking the time to examine the possible causes. A methodical analysis will help you keep your car running well for a long time.

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