Struggles to stay running when I start it and only last about 15 seconds

When I start the vehicle it stutters and then dies last about 15 seconds and if I touch the gas pedal it dies instantly and it has become a gas hog

My car has 172000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
There are many possible malfunctions that can cause a engine to stall. As long as the engine is in good mechanical condition, it comes down to the engine getting the correct air/fuel supply, a sufficient ignition to fire the mixture, and an unobstructed exhaust to allow the gasses to exit the system. With that said, there could be a clogged fuel filter, failing fuel pump, clogged catalytic converters, an electrical problem, failed sensor, a vacuum leak, a failing ignition coil, bad plugs, or any number of other possible problems, that will cause the engine to stall. The first step would be to identify if the problem is with the fuel supply, the ignition, or the exhaust. Then, it will be a matter of identifying what component(s) in that system are causing the engine to stall. If this is a task that you feel you need a hand in identifying, and repairing, contact a certified mechanic, like those available at YourMechanic.com.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

Faulty Battery

A classic reason why your car starts for a second then dies is battery depletion. The car needs electricity from the battery to start. However, if your car starts then dies immediately, then the fault could be a lack of charging or damaged battery.

Lack Of Fuel

The most common and obvious reason your car may start then die is the fuel shortage in your engine. This happens because there`s not enough fuel in the fuel rail, and there`s no fuel pressure to keep the engine alive.

A Problem with the Ignition System

If there is a problem with the ignition system the engine will start, but it will die down just as quickly. The fault could be anywhere in the ignition system – a problem with the spark plugs or the battery could be the cause. Either way, have it checked out immediately.

Fuses – If the car dies while idling but restarts, there`s a possibility that there might be an issue with the fuses of the car. It`s conceivable that one of the fuses has blown. Take each fuse from the box and hold it up to the light.
Common causes of intermittent stalling may include a bad idle speed control (ISC) system, low fuel pressure, loss of ignition, vacuum or EGR leaks, or other problems we`ll get to later in this article.
The most likely issue is that a component is clogged. A clogged fuel filter is the most common reason, although a loss of power in your car could also indicate problems with the fuel pump or fuel line. Impurities or debris may be blocking the system, which causes the loss of power in a car.
Malfunctioning spark plugs can make an engine stop for a while and resume its normal functioning. It can happen when you are driving. The engine can also sound rough when idle. The misfires affect the proper functioning of your car`s engine due to failing spark plugs that have no power to ignite the fuel-air mixture.
Some of the most common sensors that lead to engine stalling include the mass airflow sensor (MAF), engine coolant temperature sensor (ECT) and manifold absolute pressure sesnsor (MAP). The idle air control valve (IAC) and exhaust gas recirculation valve (EGR) are also well known for causing engine stalling.
Faulty spark plugs can cause the car to exhibit starting troubles. Worn out plugs does not produce sufficient sparks, which is needed for starting the engine. This results in the engine to stall and fail to start quickly.
If the fuel pump relay fails the fuel pump will be left without power. The engine may still crank when the key is turned, however it will not be able to start due to lack of fuel. This symptom can also be caused by a wide variety of other issues, so having the vehicle properly diagnosed is highly recommended.
If your engine is sputtering or stalls in the middle of your drive, your fuel pump is likely the issue. The low pressure caused by a faulty fuel pump means that your engine isn`t getting the fuel and air mixture it needs to initiate combustion and power the car.
Your Vehicle is Stalling and Sputtering

Rough running can also happen as a result of a faulty fuel pressure regulator. There are some cases where you will not be able to start the engine at all.

While it is very unlikely for a running engine to die or stall due to the bad starter motor. However it still possible. It must be a series of events before that can happen. The bad shorted starter motor will cause a car battery to discharge.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Vehicle won’t start, once it’s jump started it only stays running until you turn it off, then it work start again without jumping.
ANSWER : Hi there. There could be two problems here. It is possible that your battery is bad and will not take a charge from your alternator while driving. In that case every time you shut your car off you will not have enough juice to start it again. Inspect your battery – it should have at least 12.5 to 13 volts to start your car, if it doesn’t you will need to replace the battery. The second problem could be that your alternator is bad and not charging your battery, in this case you will need to replace your alternator. Both the battery and the alternator can be tested in your car. If you would like to have the car checked for you, a certified professional from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to diagnose the starting problem and proceed with repairs.

I changed the fuel pump and truck ran great for 3 days. Now after 3 days, the truck dies. It will start running for a few minutes, then dies like before.
ANSWER : Hi there, thanks for writing in. I’d be happy to help. It sounds like you should disconnect the connector to the fuel pump and inspect it for any signs of getting hot. The female connections may be too loose on the fuel pump and lose contact after running and getting hot. If there are indeed any signs of problems, then I’d suggest replacing connector and adding dielectric lube to pins before installation. This should solve the problem, but if you continue to experience issues, feel free to reach out to us for help again.

Trucks starts up but have to give gas to keep running then dies starts up a second time then it will stay running.
ANSWER : It sounds like you may have a dirty or failing idle air control valve. The idle air control valve monitors the air intake as it is mixed with fuel prior to being injected into the engine at low speeds and at idle. This valve is controlled by the vehicle’s computer and will adjust idle speed based upon other measurements such as engine temperature, intake air temperature and electrical system load or voltage. This is also an important function when starting the motor as it allows the motor to run and idle on it’s own once the motor fires. When you accelerate, the engine RPM increases, and as you let off the gas, the RPM slowly returns to the normal idling speed with the help of the idle air control valve making the transition from a higher RPM back down to idle speed while adjusting the air/fuel ratio constantly to allow this to happen smoothly. When the engine RPM drops below the normal range of about ~800 RPM, this often times will cause the engine to stall indicating a dirty or faulty idle air control valve. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your vehicle.

Fuel pump engages. Batery good, alternator good volts, jump start helps when wont start. Temp does not matter. Intermittent?
ANSWER : Hello. Thank you for writing in. There are several reasons your vehicle may only start when jump starting. The first and most common is a build up of resistance that is causing you to need a boost of voltage to get the engine started. This may be due to poor battery cables, a bad ground connection, a poor starter solenoid, and a couple of other issues. The first thing you want to do is perform a visual inspection of the starting system. Make sure there is no corrosion build up in the battery cables. You can also check the resistance across these wires and make sure you have a solid connection between components. You then want to make sure the starter solenoid is doing its job. It is responsible for taking the small amount of electricity sent by the ignition and turning it into a huge electrical charge that is strong enough to push over the engine with the help of some gear ratios in its favor. Do some more testing, and stick to the basics before assuming its something seriously complicated.

Struggles to stay running when I start it and only last about 15 seconds
ANSWER : There are many possible malfunctions that can cause a engine to stall. As long as the engine is in good mechanical condition, it comes down to the engine getting the correct air/fuel supply, a sufficient ignition to fire the mixture, and an unobstructed exhaust to allow the gasses to exit the system. With that said, there could be a clogged fuel filter, failing fuel pump, clogged catalytic converters, an electrical problem, failed sensor, a vacuum leak, a failing ignition coil, bad plugs, or any number of other possible problems, that will cause the engine to stall. The first step would be to identify if the problem is with the fuel supply, the ignition, or the exhaust. Then, it will be a matter of identifying what component(s) in that system are causing the engine to stall. If this is a task that you feel you need a hand in identifying, and repairing, contact a certified mechanic, like those available at YourMechanic.com.

Why does my car struggle to start every 4th to 5th time?
ANSWER : It sounds like your starting issues may be linked to a problem with air metering or fuel delivery. A clogged or malfunctioning idle air control valve may show some of the same symptoms you are describing. The idle air control valve can be stuck in a cold start position which may work well if the car has been sitting a few hours, but as the engine warms up there must be a regulation in airflow. Consider hiring an experienced technician like one from YourMechanic who can come out for a closer look at your hard start situation and offer a more personal diagnosis.

Car starts but dies a few seconds later. If I give it any throttle when it does start it kills the engine.
ANSWER : As a general rule, car engines do not like cold weather and do not do operate as well in cold weather. When you start your car in the morning and turn the key to on, the coolant temperature sensor immediately reads the temperature of the coolant and relays this to the computer indicating that the coolant is cold. The computer then knows at this point that it needs to enrich (add more fuel) the air/fuel mixture at startup due to the change in air density. When you start the car, you will notice that it idles high for a period of time until the engine warms up. This is the enrichment cold start process. This is done with what is called a cold start injector which injects more fuel into the motor until the engine reaches a specific operating temperature. The computer simply feeds a little extra gas through the fuel injectors to start the engine and then maintains a certain amount of fuel supply to the motor until it is warm. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to take a look at your vehicle and diagnose your cold start issue.

Car starts but dies a few seconds later. If I give it any amount of throttle (once it has started) it kills the engine
ANSWER : With a car that old, checking the fuel pressure is a good first step. If the pressure is low, The fuel enrichment will not work. If the pressure is good, I’m betting on a coolant temp sensor. You’re getting a shot of gas from the cold start valve and burning that when you first crank it, but the mixture is not rich enough to keep the car running until it warms up. The sensor should measure high resistance – about 2000 ohms, when the temp is at about freezing. If you need more help with this, contact Your Mechanic, they can send a technician to your home or office to check out your cold starting problem and advise you on what to do.