Many of us have experienced car stops while driving then starts again without clear signs, right? Our vehicles work hard every day, so it’s understandable that they sometimes get stuck.
Although it’s a popular phenomenon, there is not enough useful and applicable info on this topic.
Therefore, this post will give a full overview and a clear explanation of car stalls while driving but starts back up.
Let’s find out the answers to “why does my car die while driving?” and suitable treatments!
What Does It Mean When A Car Stalls?
As the phrase implies, intermittent stalling issues mean a car randomly dies while driving. It is usually caused by a sudden lack of power supply for the operating system.
In most cases, the car dies while driving but starts right back up after. However, it cannot restart again sometimes.
There are many possible roots for this phenomenon. Some causes are mechanical things, while others are electrical scopes. Now, we’ll explore more hereafter.
Possible Causes Of Car Randomly Dies While Driving
There are multiple causes that can result in the car shuts off while driving but starts back up. We will present the most common reasons which can be straightforwardly detected.
1. Fuel Issue
The gasoline delivery system must meet the engine’s needs, especially when the vehicle is accelerating.
Engine stalls happen when the fuel cannot reach the engine for various reasons. Our fuel tank is drained, which is the most obvious explanation. It’s the simplest problem to fix.
Moreover, a clogged fuel filter, line, or faulty fuel pump could be to blame for our fuel not getting to the engine. Lack of engine power, misfires, and vehicle stalling are signs of a stuck fuel filter or fuel line.
In other cases, a loss of fuel pressure, faulty fuel injectors, or pollutants in the fuel also cause vehicle stalls. We can feel a decline in performance, jerky engine operation, etc.
2. Car Battery
The battery of an automobile is crucial to its working status. Our cars might have run without the battery connected in the past.
However, most modern vehicles now have several advanced systems that need the power to function well together. Therefore, intermittent faults in cars can happen from bad batteries.
One of the most predictable problems is that a battery’s terminals have become loose. Therefore, they are no longer securely connected to the battery.
This could occur due to vehicle vibration, bumps, or corrosion of battery cables and terminal joints. When a wiring connector is damaged, the alternator can’t recharge it.
When the alternator isn’t producing enough power while our vehicles are operating, the car dies while driving but still has power.
3. Engine Sensors
The car’s engine depends on various sensors, which give the engine management system (EMS) information in real-time.
Therefore, damaged sensors may result in a shutdown of cars while they are moving.
Regarding engine performance, some sensors are more crucial than others.
These include sensors of fuel pressure, a camshaft sensor, manifold pressure sensors, a crank position sensor, mass airflow sensors (MAF), a magnetic crank sensor, etc.
The engine’s performance will be adversely impacted if one of the sensors fails. Eventually, they may cause the automobiles to cut out or die.
We can check this problem by the dashboard. Usually, a malfunctioning sensor will make the check engine light illuminate before the whole system shuts down.
Another frequent cause of a car unexpectedly dying while running is overheating.
Overheating can occur with many roots but is typically caused by a lack of engine coolant or issues relating to the coolant’s circulation.
For example, a weak pump, a broken timing belt, or low coolant pressure can contribute to poor coolant circulation.
Additionally, engine temperatures can be affected by coolant leaks. Some reasons for this common leak include broken coolant hoses, a fractured coolant reservoir, or a damaged radiator cap.
When the engine is overheating, coolant levels drain even faster, radiator hoses can rupture, and steam emanates from the engine block while driving. Then, we stop suddenly on the road!
5. Spark Plug-Related Problems
Based on the operating principle, the air and fuel mixture in each engine cylinder is ignited by spark delivery. Therefore, if this spark abruptly disappears, the engine will stall.
Some roots that can lead to the loss of spark delivery are damaged rotor buttons, faulty ignition coils, and worn distributor caps.
These problems can arise while driving at any engine speed, even in idling mode.
6. Timing Belt
A damaged timing belt is another possible cause of a car cutting out while in motion. Our cars might show some signs of a faulty timing belt even before it breaks.
For example, we find it hard to start the engine or run sluggishly. In case when the belt is stretched, it eventually may slip out.
Moreover, low power output will result from a stretched timing belt, particularly under heavy loads.
It may also lead to poor fuel efficiency and engine misfires, which may cause the engine to shut off while driving.
The cars will stop running and won’t start again if the belt splits completely. The damage from a timing belt might be severe, especially if it occurs while we are driving.
7. Auxiliary Serpentine Belt
When the engine is running, the serpentine belt (or drive belt) rotates the alternator. Then, the alternator can charge the battery.
This belt, once sliding, could cause an erratic battery. As a result, the alternator will not work and supply any power to the battery if this belt is sliding or has fully failed.
Eventually, the system shuts down due to a loss of power.
Some models also drive the water pump by the auxiliary belt. If the belt breaks, the engine may accumulate internal heat, which will also cause the engine to shut off.
8. The Alternator
The delivery of a system voltage ensures that an engine and other components can operate smoothly after the automobile has started.
The alternator, which typically creates 13–15 volts during a standard operation, is the most crucial element of the voltage system.
Therefore, faulty alternators may deliver less battery voltage, leading to a lack of electrical power.
Our cars need about 3% of the battery’s charge to start the engine. The remaining energy is to provide extra power when necessary.
When the automobile operates, it’s crucial to have a good alternator to top off the battery’s charge. Otherwise, the battery will not provide enough requirements, and the engine will act unpredictably.
When it happens, some warning signs are the engine dying, starting problems, the warning light of the charging system, and dim headlights.
9. Other (Leaks, Transmission, etc.)
Some other causes can be counted to include an air leak or transmission problems.
An air leak is the injection of unauthorized air into an internal combustion engine. When having too much air, the fuel delivery is insufficient to meet the amount of air in the combustion chambers.
Later, it can result in intermittent engine stalling. We can face this problem in cold temperatures because our combustion chambers require more fuel mixture to operate.
Additionally, transmission problems may cause engine stalling, such as troubles with the manual clutch or torque converter.
Such failures place an engine under excessive strain, ultimately slowing it down and dying! These issues will probably worsen over time, usually needing to be checked by a professional mechanic.
What Should We Do When a Car Randomly Dies?
When our vehicles randomly shut down on the way, there are recommended steps that we should follow.
Taking action smartly and step-by-step will help us reduce risks, damages, and even undesirable accidents. So, follow the instructions below to protect ourselves, others, and our vehicles!
1. Guide The Car Off To Road’s Side
The first thing to do is direct our vehicles to a safe spot away from the road, avoiding the risks of accidents and traffic jams.
If the car breaks down in the middle of the road, we should dial 911 or call for help. Otherwise, if we believe it’s a safe spot, we should get out of the car to observe and detect the problems.
2. Check The Fuel & Temperature
Now, we take a quick check of the gas tank to see whether our fuel is still available. If not, we need to find a gas station for a better supply of fuel, and the problem is solved.
Once the lack of fuel is not a problem for the car’s operation, we need to check the temperature.
As mentioned above, engine overheating is a popular cause. We can let our car cool down after a long distance of running, especially the old models.
3. Restart The Car
The next step is to see if we can restart the automobile to get to the closest auto repair shop.
In some circumstances, people can force their automobile to restart when they’re fortunate enough or can identify the cause.
4. Use Emergency Lights
However, if we cannot restart the automobile, we should activate our emergency flashers to warn other vehicles.
It is a signal that our car is stationary. This will keep other people and us safe while finding out the roots.
5. Ask For Assistance
We should call for roadside help if we cannot figure out the problem. Then, check with the auto insurance company to see if this service is included in the car’s coverage.
How To Fix Car Stops While Driving Then Starts Again?
Check The Ignition Key
Sometimes, an old vehicle can have an ignition key that is a little loose or broken. Therefore, before putting it into the ignition switch, let’s remove any obstacles, dust, grime, etc., and try to restart.
Check The Radiator’s Coolant Water Level
Under the hood, at the front of our cars, there should be a metal cap.
Now, let’s remove the lid after the automobile has about 20 minutes to cool. We must fill this up if the water level is too low.
Check The Battery’s Terminals
Verify that the battery’s terminals are making good contact. If the lug nuts are loose, tighten them and try to restart the automobile.
Check The Fuses
It’s possible that a fuse is blown out. Therefore, look inside the fuse box, carefully take out each of them, and look at them to check the status.
If one of the fuse wires has any little breaks, that fuse needs to be replaced.
Car stalls while driving but starts back up is a common issue. Although there are many possible causes, we can detect the exact reason if doing the process carefully.
Remember to place our vehicles in a safe spot, then check related components, such as fuel system status, battery, alternator, sensors, belts, etc.
Once we can define the roots, we go half of the way! If we have enough skills, knowledge, and a vehicle repair manual, we can replace or fix problems ourselves.
If not, let’s ask for help from experts to reduce further damage.