The car stalls while driving: what to do and how to avoid it (2023)

The car stalls while driving: what to do and how to avoid it (1)

It's a classic nightmare scenario: driving with your mind busy and having dinner later tonight... and your car breaks down while you're driving, right in the middle of the road!

Or you try to pull out of an intersection when the light turns green only to find that your car has died out of nowhere.

I hope this has never happened to you, and I hope it never will, but it's good to be prepared in case it does. That's why we're here!

In this article, we'll first take a look at what steps you should take to ensure your safety if your car breaks down while you're in the middle of a trip. This can be a potentially dangerous situation, so don't take it too seriously!

Then we will look at the possible reasons why your car stalls while driving. There are many of them, and the more you know about them, the better prepared you will be.

We'll try to present them logically so that when you start repairs or talk to your repair shop, you'll know exactly where to start.

Contents (Go to topic)

  • 1 If your car stops while driving, safety comes first!
    • 1.1 What to do if your car stalls while driving
    • 1.2 I am safe out of traffic, what now?
  • 2 Why did my car stall while driving?
    • 2.1 Lack of Fuel
    • 2.2 Shortness of breath
    • 2.3 Lack of spark
    • 2.4 Mechanical reasons for stagnation
  • 3 Moving forward with repairs
  • 4 Scope of possible repairs
  • 5 How can I prevent my car from stalling when driving again in the future?

If your car stops while driving, safety comes first!

When a car's engine dies, the car's accessories also fail because they draw energy from the engine. This means that power steering assistance and brake assistance fail.

You'll still be able to steer your car if it's moving when the engine dies, but it will be much, much harder to do so.

If you were stationary or idling when the car stopped, you may not be able to move the steering wheel. Your brakes will still work, but it will be very difficult to apply them.

On the plus side though, your leg can get a good workout while stopping in the car!

What to do if your car stalls while driving

  • If you can, drive your car to the side of the road or another safe place out of the flow of traffic.
  • If you're stranded in the middle of the road and can't pull over, turn your hazard lights or hazard lights on immediately. Stay in the car! (Acar emergency kitwill be very useful in such situations).
  • If you're stuck in traffic, don't get out of the car!Keep your seat belt on and call roadside assistance (if you have that coverage) with a cell phone or wait for a police officer to help. Getting out of a stopped vehicle in traffic is extremely dangerous!

I'm Safe Out of Traffic, Now What?

Once you're clear of traffic and can get out of the car without risking your own safety or the safety of anyone else around you at the time, try restarting your car.

If it happens to reset and you are very close to home, you might want to drive straight home. You can then make an appointment with your shop or start troubleshooting in your own garage.

If you're too far from home to risk another stop, drive to the nearest parking lot and leave your car there.

In case the car does not restart, you will need a trailer. For this you will need to contact a professional towing company to help you. Having a friend drag you on a rope is never recommended and you could damage your car's transmission.

Why did my car stall while driving?

There are many reasons why a car engine might stall mid-driving, but nearly all of them can be attributed to one of three things: shortness of breath, low fuel, or trouble getting a spark.

If any of these critical players leave the internal combustion game, the engine could die.

There are also some mechanical reasons why your car might stall in the middle of a trip; We'll cover some of those too, although they're much less common.

We'll start with running out of fuel, as the most obvious and easiest cause on that list is an empty gas tank.

lack of fuel

Problems with your car's fuel supply system will kill your engine very quickly. Here are the most common reasons your engine may run out of fuel and run out of fuel:

  • You just ran out of gas.Hey, it happens to the best of us! If you are very close to a freeway exit, you can walk to a gas station to get a can of gas and a few gallons of fuel, although manyexperts recommend against it. In these cases, the best thing to do is call a friend or the roadside assistance service.
  • Your fuel pump died.did you notice anywarning signs?
  • Your fuel pressure regulator has stopped working.The failure may have been preceded by some of thethese symptoms.
  • The fuel filter is very old and is clogged or blocked.A fuel filter is necessary to filter any debris out of your gas tank before fuel reaches your engine, but it's a part that many of us forget even exists, until it's really old and clogged! take a look at the commonSymptoms of a faulty fuel, to see if yours is working fine.

Shortness of breathe

Gasoline and diesel engines need air to burn the fuel supplied by the fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator.

Interruptions in the air flow mean that the engine cannot breathe, and if there is not enough air, the engine will literally suffocate.

Here are some of the reasons why your engine might not be getting the air it needs:

  • Your car's air filter is very dirty and clogged enough to choke the engine. Or, in a car that hasn't been driven for a long time, an animal made a nest in the airbox and obstructed the airflow when the debris from the nest was picked up.
  • The MAF or MAP sensor, which helps control the air flow rate in your engine, is faulty and not supplying enough air to the engine.

lack of spark

There's no fire without a spark, says the song!

In gas engines, fuel and air are useless without a spark burning the fuel.

Problems with your car's ignition system will cause your car to stall quickly. This includes issues with your car's electrical system, which is what generates those sparks.

Note: Diesel engines do not need an external spark, but ignite their fuel on compression alone. So what can go wrong with the spark your engine needs?

Mechanical reasons for stagnation

Problems with the air, spark, or fuel supply are by far the most common reasons why your car stalls while you are driving it, but there are also some mechanical reasons why your engine may stall.

Here are two of those possibilities:

  • A problem with the torque converter in a car with an automatic transmission can stall the engine. This is a major repair that will require the assistance of a transmission specialist.
  • If you drive a stick shift car, you probably already know that squeezing the clutch too fast when pulling out of a stop can cause the engine to stall. Stopping without putting the car in neutral can also do the same thing. You may need to ask a shifter friend to give you an update on techniques!

Moving forward with repairs

As you've seen, there are a number of different reasons that could be causing your car to stall while you're driving.

If you do your own car repairs, you are now well prepared to start troubleshooting and find out what is causing it yourself.

On the other hand, if you trust a reliable repair shop to fix your car, you will now also be better prepared because you now know what to expect and have a much better idea of ​​what could be causing all the problems. it happen.

Scope of possible repairs

Some of the above repairs are relatively simple.

For example, replacing just one fuel filter requires some care with spilled fuel when the replacement is done.

It is usually an easily accessible part and therefore requires less labor time than other types of repairs. Anyone canchange a dirty and clogged air filter!

Also, fixing your empty gas tank might just involve taking a long walk or returning a favor to the friend who rescued you. But don't get used to running out of gas! Multiple instances of running the tank dry candamage your car's fuel pump.

However, some of the other causes of a stalling engine can be more complicated, depending on the car.

For example, on Subarus, replacing an alternator is relatively quick due to its convenient location near the top of the engine. However, on some front-wheel drive cars, the alternator can be difficult to reach, increasing labor costs if a body shop does the work for you.

Fuel pumps live inside your gas tank, so replacing one may require your shop to lower or remove the gas tank to access, which can be a lot of work. Unfortunately, fuel pump repair can be expensive due to these complications.

How can I prevent my car from stalling while driving again in the future?

In some cases, an engine stall can be avoided.

While you can't predict when your alternator or fuel pump might fail, these failures are usually preceded by warning signs that something is wrong; so be on the lookout for these signs whenever they appear.

So the next time they happen, don't ignore the engine sputtering or misfiring or electrical abnormalities like flickering headlights or a mysteriously dead battery.

Other simple preventative tips to remember are:

  • Catch up with the air filter change schedule!
  • Get into the habit of filling up the gas tank when you hit the ¼ mark so you never run out.
  • Protect your automatic transmission torque converter withtransmission fluid changesas recommended by your car manufacturer.

Always remember that regular maintenance of your car is the best prevention against rush hour traffic jam!

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