Explorer engine accelerates when stopped at light | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Explorer engine accelerates when stopped at light


New Member
February 3, 2010
Reaction score
We just got a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT. It had a few cosmetic problems but nothing big. My dilemmas are the following. Its happened to me a few times since we've had the car. What happens is that sometimes when Im stopped at a red light...the car accelerates (the rpms go up and down a few times) by itself and then shuts off. Then I just turn the car back on and its fine. Also, I dont know if this is part of the same problem....but its done this to me twice and like 3 times to my husband. WHat happened to me was that I was stopped at a light and the car just jerked forward even though I had my foot on the brake. He told me that just today...he came to a stop to let a car go that was pulling out of a parking lot and that when he pressed the brake...the car then accelerated and also jerked forward. Is that the transmission or engine...Im not too familiar with mechanics. Thanx.

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

Probably not the case, but I have to mention it because Ive seen it happen.

My father in law took my explorer. He said when he comes to a stop the explorer wants to go.. like the motor revs up a bit and its hard to keep it stopped. The harder he pushed on the brake the more the truck wanted to go.

I had no idea... then the next day he admitted, he just needed to move his foot a little further left when pressing on the brake! his foot was pushing the brake and gas when he was stopping.

ha ha. yeah. i asked my husband the same thing.. since he has big feet. but...no...because its happened to me...and I know just what you mean. Ive done that myself. but in my case...the car accelerates...even if i put it in park. without having my foot on the brake. for example...i can turn the car on...and it would accelerate on its own...maybe with no one even in the car...and the rpms go up and down a few times and then just turns off.

This could be a problem with the power brake which is operated by vacuum. A leak in the brake booster bellows could cause the engine to speed up. This can also happen with a frozen check valve but clears up after about 5minutes of operation.

I had a similar experience when the battery clamp cracked on a 97. A power spike caused the computer to reset and cause the IAC to open up as if the vehicle was just started. It is a rather shocking experience that a cop would never believe after an accident.

I have a ford explorer sport, when i went to start it up the lights were flickering and it started, So ten minutes later I turned the heat on and the car accelerated on its own. Can anyone help me please

Most likely a failing Idle Air Control Valve (IAC Valve). My 02 v8 did the same thing. The warmer the engine got the higher the idle speed went. Replaced it with a new one and is fixed that problem. Only use a Motorcraft replacement, I had issues with auto parts store brands.