4 reasons why the car died while driving (2023)

When you drive down the highway, you want to know that everything is working as it should. That is why it is so scary if the car stalls while driving. What would cause a car to stall while driving and what can be done to prevent it? Even if you're not mechanically inclined, you should be able to get more information about what's going on.

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If your car stalls while driving, there are a few things that could be to blame. We analyzed the main reasons why the car stalled while driving, and show what to do next. We also show you how to prevent this scary condition from happening in the first place.


Car Dies While Driving: Top 4 Reasons Explained

If the car shuts off while driving but then comes back on or you can't restart, there are many possible explanations. We'll take a closer look at the top four reasons your vehicle dies while driving it.

Reason #1: Car battery died

Can a car battery die while driving? Yes, indeed, this is one of the most common reasons why the car stalls when driving. You usually think of a dead battery when your vehicle won't start because you're late for work, but it can also cause problems when you're driving on the highway.

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If the car battery dies while you are driving, the alternator must take over to power up the electronics and keep the engine running. When the alternator is overloaded, there is more stress on the car's engine and it may stall.

Generally speaking, a good car battery can last five years if properly maintained. However, if you don't charge it correctly, it won't be able to provide as many years of service.

Diagnosis car battery died while driving

The car battery is necessary for the car to work. If you die while driving, it won't stop the engine by itself; there would have to be other electrical issues. However, it is important that you recognize the signs of a dead car battery to prevent this from happening.

If you notice these signs, it might be time to have your car battery checked.

  • motor tents
  • The engine spins several times during starting
  • You must turn on the battery.
  • Engine struggles to start when it's cold outside
  • Exterior lights dimmed
  • Interior lights dimmed
  • Radio works intermittently
  • Battery terminals are corroded
  • The distilled water level in the cells is low.

you can use amultimeterto check battery charge or take it to an auto parts store for a free evaluation.

Battery replacement cost

To keep your vehicle running as it should, you'll need to replace the battery. Depending on the size and brand of battery you need, replacement cost ranges from $40 to $300. Fortunately, getting a new battery in your car is very easy. Here's a helpful video if you need more guidance.

Reason #2: alternator failure

Can a car battery die while driving? Yes, but it is most likely a faulty alternator that has stopped charging the battery. If your car battery died while you were driving, consider that the alternator could be to blame, especially if it's a newer battery.

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While the car engine is running, the alternator charges the battery. It is also responsible for supplying power to electrical systems, including accessories. If you changed the battery but it keeps dying, the alternator has probably failed. Both must be in excellent condition to start and operate your vehicle.

Diagnosis of a faulty alternator

Many of the symptoms of afaulty alternatorit feels the same as having a bad battery. These include:

  • car battery keeps dying
  • Lights and fixtures seem to have less power
  • Battery charging light on the dash
  • Burning smell under the hood
  • strange sounds

Alternator Replacement Cost

The alternator will be more expensive to replace than most car batteries. On average, you're looking at $150-$750 for the alternator, plus the labor to install it. If you drive a premium vehicle, the cost will be much higher than if you had a small compact car.

If you like mechanics, you may be able to change the alternator yourself and save some money. Here is a helpful video illustrating how to change an alternator.

Reason #3: Fuel pumps die

If the car dies while driving but still has power, you know there isn't necessarily an electrical issue involved. Rather, the problem could be related to your fuel pump. Sometimes it is caused by a simple mistake, such as filling the tank with the wrong type of fuel.

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Also, the fuel pump requires care to keep working. You can maintain your fuel pump by keeping the tank at least half full and changing the filter regularly.

Diagnosis of a faulty fuel pump

When the fuel pump starts to fail, you may notice a strange noise when you start your car. You can also look for these symptoms.

  • Engine stalls when traveling at high speeds
  • Fuel pressure drop
  • Less power when the vehicle is dealing with stress.
  • problem accelerating
  • poor fuel economy
  • The motor does not start

Fuel Pump Replacement Cost

You can expect to pay anywhere from $90 to $900 for a fuel pump, depending on the type of vehicle you drive. If you can't replace it yourself, the job can also cost you anywhere from $120 to $300. Most of the time, replacing a fuel pump is pretty simple. Here's a visual idea of ​​what's involved.

Reason #4: No Fuel

No one wants to admit they're out of fuel, but it happens. If you forgot to refuel or thought it would take a bit longer, a car stalling while driving could be a lack of fuel. It is also possible that the fuel gauge is not working, causing you to misread what is left in the tank.

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Diagnosis of lack of fuel

Fortunately, most cars give you a little warning before you run out of gas. If you notice the signs of low fuel early enough, you can get to a service station before the engine floods. Watch out for these signs.

  • Vacuum reading on the fuel gauge
  • engine stutter
  • intermittent overvoltage
  • The shot goes wrong

No fuel cost

If you run out of gas, you won't have a bigger problem than having to put gas in the car. Commongas canand a local gas station, you need to get back on the road quickly. Also, having roadside assistance can help you get a few gallons of fuel delivered.

Bonus for the reasons why the car dies when driving

While we've covered the top four reasons why your car could stall, there's a lot more to think about. Of course, the battery, the alternator, the fuel pump and the lack of fuel would be the main reasons, but they are not the only ones that can cause problems.

We've also seen ignition system misfire, bad speed sensors, bad MAP sensors, and an overheated engine that stops the vehicle dead in its tracks. However, they are not that common, so it is not always the first place you should look.

What to do if the car stalls while driving

If the car stalls while you are driving, you should take immediate action to avoid an accident. Your safety and the safety of others on the road should be your first priority. These are some tips to follow that will avoid any incident.

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Do not panic

With a clear head, you can act quickly. He doesn't panic, but try to think about the next steps.

drive the car off road

When the car shuts down, you will lose power brakes and steering systems, but you can still get the vehicle off the road if you act fast. Lower the vehicle and try to park it in the safest place available. If you have trouble slowing down, slowly pull on the emergency brake. If you can, park as far away from traffic as possible.

Try to restart the engine

You should always try to restart the engine. However, if the car stops while driving but starts up a hill, this does not mean that you can continue on the road. Instead, you should drive to the nearest repair center to find out what caused your problem. You don't want to find yourself in the same situation a few miles down the road.

Use emergency lights

If you can't restart the engine, you should warn other drivers about your car on the road. Use your emergency flashers to attract attention. Hopefully the friendly drivers will give you as much space as possible and help everyone stay safe.

get help

If you have roadside assistance, you can use it now for a free tow. If not, you will need to contact a towing company and get the vehicle off the side of the road. Do it quickly to avoid an accident.

How to fix cars that shut off while driving

Depending on the cause of your problem, you can quickly fix it and get back on the road. Minor conditions can cause the engine to stall, but a quick fix may be all you need. Consider taking these steps to see if you can get back on track.

Check the battery terminals

If the battery cables are not in contact with the battery terminals, this can cause problems starting and running the vehicle. Check that all connections are secure and try restarting the vehicle again. You can also try connecting the car with a battery charger or putting in a new battery to see if that fixes the problem.

Check radiator water level

Under the hood towards the front of your car is a metal radiator cap. After your vehicle has cooled for at least 20 minutes, you can remove this cap to check the water levels. You should never touch it when the engine is hot. If there is no water inside, add some and try to restart the vehicle.

check the fuses

There is always the possibility that a fuse has blown. You can locate the fuse box under the left hand drive. You can inspect the fuses to see if there is a break in the wire. If so, you will need to replace it with the same fuse.

If none of these simple solutions fix the situation, you will need further guidance. The problem is likely more complicated and cannot be fixed at the side of the road. Take your car to a local service station for further assistance.

Prevent car from dying suddenly while driving

The good news is that you can avoid many car problems simply by performing regular maintenance and care. If you heed the service manual recommendations and fix problems right away, you don't need to be stranded on the side of the road. Here are some maintenance tips that can help you.

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check the battery

Your battery needs to hold a solid charge to function properly. Your battery should read between 12.4 and 12.9 volts when the car is not running. With the engine running, it should read 14 volts because the alternator is charging.

Check the status of the battery with each change of season. When it starts to wear off, it's time to recondition or replace it. Also, you should inspect the battery cables for corrosion and clean them as necessary. Battery corrosion is easy to clean with a little distilled water and baking soda. Just be careful not to let battery acid come in contact with your skin.

check the alternator

Alternators are built to last the life of the vehicle, but they are not immune to death. If you have a lot of miles on your vehicle, pay attention to signs of alternator failure. By replacing it immediately, you can prevent it from breaking. Verifypress-idfake ID.

change air filters

As part of a regular tune-up, you should change theengine air filter. If the filter becomes clogged it will cause serious performance problems, to the point where the vehicle seems to stall. Using a dirty air filter can also cause the MAF sensor to fail, which only causes more problems.

Most air filters need to be replaced every 10,000 miles. Plus, they usually don't cost more than $20, which is a cheap insurance policy.

change spark plugs

Another vital part of the regular tune-up is changing the spark plugs. These vital ignition system components take a lot of abuse and wear out, especially when subjected to heavy loads or when operating in extreme temperatures.

Depending on the type of spark plug you are using, you could get anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 miles on the spark plugs. Most engines contain one spark plug per cylinder, except for some Dodge models which contain two per cylinder.

frequent questions

Can a car battery die while driving?

It is not impossible that a dead battery will cause the vehicle to stall, but it is not always the main reason. Normally, when your car battery dies, the alternator continues to work, so you may not notice any problems while driving. However, when the alternator fails, causing the battery to die, the engine can stall and leave you stranded on the side of the road.

What happens if the battery dies while driving?

If your battery fails while you're driving, it's most likely because a faulty alternator isn't charging it. If you're driving when this happens, you'll notice the engine stalling and losing all power. When that happens, you only have a few seconds to figure out how to get off the road. You will also lose power steering and braking, making it even more difficult to maneuver the vehicle to safety. Don't panic and make a rational decision to ensure your safety.

What does it mean if the car dies while driving but restarts?

If your car stalls while driving but is able to start again, you may be experiencing a series of faults. It could be due to a problem with the charging system, a loose timing belt, a lack of fuel, or something in the fuel system. It could also be that the motor has overheated. Even if you manage to get the engine back on, you should have the vehicle serviced immediately to avoid future problems.


It's not a fun experience dealing with a car that shuts off while driving, but it does happen. By taking good care of your vehicle, you can prevent future problems and prepare for the worst-case scenario. A little preparation goes a long way and helps ensure your driving safety. Take care of your vehicle so that it continues to provide you with many years of service.

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