Gas pedal stopped working, battery died

Laura Halbrader

Asked by Dec 06, 2015 at 11:39 PM about the 2004 Nissan Sentra 1.8

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Yesterday I forgot to replace the cap after adding oil into my engine. Drove
about five miles that way before the cap was replaced. There was oil all
over the engine, my dad applied engine degreaser and then I had to spray
it clean at the car wash. On the way home, the brake and battery light
came on. A couple miles later, the gas pedal stopped working entirely. No
acceleration or revving. I had to roll my window down just to be sure the
engine was on. I drove the rest of the way home without use of the gas
pedal. I parked the car in the parking lot. 20 mins or so later I came back
out and started the car. Based on the way it sounded when it cranked, the
battery was low. But it did start up. While parked, the gas pedal seemed to
be functioning just fine. I did not attempt to drive anywhere or take it out of
park. However I left the car on to idle until the battery was basically drained
(lights started flickering and radio light went off) which took maybe 20 mins
so I'm assuming the alternator is no good. The alternator was replaced last
year. Did the water damage something? What caused the issue with the
gas pedal? Check engine light has been on since I bought the car over a
year ago (for an evap leak) so Im not sure at the moment if any new codes
have popped up.

2 Answers


You may have gotten water into the ECM (or PCM), aka powertrain control module. That oil sprayed on the engine may have looked a mess, but it wasn't going to hurt anything, other than the smell of burning oil on the headers. But spraying water under pressure all over the engine, and the electrical system and computer is not a good thing. Let it dry out completely before running it. If problems continue, you'll have to have someone trouble shoot it for a fix.

Laura Halbrader

Thanks, Ken. I had to spray the engine down as last time I spilled this much oil, it started a fire under my exhaust manifold heat shield while I was driving. My alternator was not putting out voltage according to the voltmeter so I replaced it (it was still under warranty, yay) and the issues seem to have gone away. My car does unusual electrical things when the battery gets low so that may be the reason for the gas pedal issue. It drives fine now that the alternator has been replaced.

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