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Have you ever had the problem where your car shuts off while driving? There is nothing more annoying when you are in the middle of traffic and your vehicle decides to give up altogether. What could be the problem? Are there steps that you should take at this point?
First and foremost, hopefully, you have put love and care into your vehicle, so you do not have worse problems moving forward. The car does not run on magic pixie dust. It is your responsibility to check if you have enough fluids in your vehicle. With the right amount of oil, steering fluid, gas, and much more, you will have a basic understanding of what your car needs.
However, you may get to a point where you do not know what is up. If this is the case, keep reading to hear about common problems and solutions to why your car shuts off randomly. Then, you can make the diagnosis by yourself.
Reasons That Make Cars Shut Off While Driving & Solutions
#1 – Completely Out of Fuel
One of the most common reasons why a car stops while driving is because of the need for fuel. This happens to everyone at some point or another. It is the worst, is it not? You either ran out right before you got to the gas station or in the middle of nowhere. Both are awful experiences.
When you are almost to the gas station, you have to take the walk of shame to the gas station and ask for a gas canister, probably giving collateral in the process. However, if you are in the middle of nowhere, you will have to call for help, costing you an arm and a leg.
But, if you run out of gas more often than not, you may want to have your gauge checked out. You may have a faulty problem on your hands. Talk to a professional mechanic and they can help you on your way.
#2 – An Awful Alternator
Usually, when a car stops suddenly, you are dealing with an alternator. They can be a real punk! Since the car runs off battery power, your car can stop altogether when an alternator is not around to charge it.
Alternators are another thing that can stop a car in its tracks. It is similar to fuel, that wherever the alternator gives out, there will be problems to bear moving forward. A replacement will be needed for your car to have any hope of running again.
#3 – Problematic Ignition Switch
Over time, an ignition sitch can wear down. A loss of power can take place, leaving your engine helpless. To start, you will notice vibrations happening when you are driving on the road, especially when you run into bumps and potholes. When the power dies altogether, so will your vehicle.
Think about a time when you have lost power in general. It is the worst, right? You think that turning on your lamp inside will produce light. However, all it does is stay dark. Sure, you may try to replace the bulb first. If that does not work, then you flip the electric box panel on. However, if none of those things work, then you require an electrician’s help. The same can be said when you run into an ignition switch problem. You need a real professional.
#4 – Fuel Pump Dilemma
Even if you have enough gas in your tank, you may run into fuel pump trouble. Fuel pumps can get clogged easily as a toilet can. So, you can imagine, you may need something like a vehicle plunger to fix everything right. The filter can also be to blame when your car shuts down altogether. Replacing your filter can give you a lot more leverage with your vehicle.
#5 – Psyched out Sensors
In older vehicles, you will not have to deal with sensors that are malfunction because they do not use computers. However, with more modern vehicles, sensors can show incorrect information. With this in mind, you may run into a situation where you will need to restart the onboard computer involving your vehicle.
Also, you may have to replace the computer altogether in your vehicle. However, this will cost you quite the amount of money, to make sure that you are well on your way to success. Additionally, you may be dealing with precious time away from your vehicle.
#6 -A Cranky Crankshaft
Speaking of sensors, one of the main issues you may run into involves the position sensor for your crankshaft. This sensor can bring your vehicle to a standstill because it works with keeping the engine going. The camshaft sensor can also be a part of the problem here.
When your car stops entirely because of the sensor, you will need to get a scanner connected to troubleshoot the problem. Then, you will certainly need a replacement of the sensor.
#7 – Erratic ECU
An ECU is an important fit in an= modern vehicle. It is a small computer that helps keep your functions and systems in order. Whenever you lose power to your vehicle, and you have checked the other 6 issues, it may be time to check the ECU.
However, you will no your vehicle is not having an ECU problem if you can see the Check Engine Light on. With the light illuminated, get your car to a mechanic as soon as humanly possible. They can diagnose the problem more specifically.
But, what if you ignore the check engine light altogether? This is not a good idea, so do not do it. Things will go from bad to worse. Also, know that you cannot fix an ECU. You have to replace it to keep your engine from shutting off in the future. So, go and hire out your mechanic who knows exactly what is going on.
#8 – A Time Belt Break
The last thing to know about why your car is shutting off probably has to do with your timing belt. A timing belt, or a timing chain, can go under. In turn, your engine will lose its rhythmic timing that keeps things in order.
When a timing break or chain breaks, your vehicle will stop running. It will need a full replacement, or your vehicle will not move a muscle. So, try to pull off to the side of the road, and proceed cautiously, as you try to figure out what is going on with your vehicle.
Even though there are more problems than solutions we will talk about, we will hit the most important ones today. However, the area of steps to take when your car dies is important, as you get safely off the road. So, let us start there.
#1 – Safety When Your Car Dies
As soon as you notice that your vehicle has died out, move it over to the side of the road. Keep calm and pull over and allow the vehicle to coast as far as it can until it comes to a complete stop. You may lose brakes and power steering, so understand the risks that are ahead of you.
If you need to stop sooner, and your vehicle will not stop, slam the vehicle in reverse. You will ruin your transmission, but you very well could save your life and the lives of others. An emergency brake can work well, too.
When the vehicle does come to a complete stop, park your car, hopefully giving you more room away from traffic. To this point, it is time to restart your vehicle. If it starts right up, you are good to go. However, if your car dies again in the next few days or weeks, you need to see a professional mechanic brainstorm the problem.
Let us say that the restart fails. First, I am very sorry. Secondly, you will need to turn on your emergency flashers. Remember that safety is priority one, and it is very important for you in this scenario. By turning on the flashers, you will alert other drivers to the troubles you are facing. Then, your vehicle and others can keep a safe distance apart.
Lastly, it is time to call for assistance. You will need a tow truck to take you to the mechanic. Hopefully, you have insurance to help in the process. Then, you will be able to get the fix done quickly, so you can get back on the road again.
#2 – Getting Professional Help
To make sure that everything can be fixed in tip-top shape, you should get your car diagnosed. Think of it like a doctor who diagnoses a patient when they are sick. The same can be said when a car is in disarray.
However, you do need to know that this process will take a chunk out of your checking account. But, we will get into that later. For now, let us talk about the diagnosis from a repair shop or a dealership.
As dealerships and repair shops figure out what is wrong with your car, expect to block out a few hours for them to assess the situation. What they will do is try to reproduce the stall or engine failure again, to see if this a common occurrence. Secondly, they will do a scan to see if there are any faulty codes. Then, they will do another test for further evidence of the problem. But, you are not out of the water yet.
An estimate will be done to let you know how much you will need to pay for the assessment, parts, and labor. Depending on the problem, you may have a big repair or a small one. Small repairs could be a simple sensor replacement. A big repair would be replacing the entire engine because the engine block cracked. Unfortunately, even if one problem is identified and fixed, you may still have problems with your car giving out.
When budgeting, expect to pay between $200 – $2,500. You will not know until you hear from your mechanic, but brace yourself. Time and money are a byproduct of vehicles, so plan accordingly. You may even want a second opinion to make sure that multiple people are assessing your important vehicle.
#3 – Sell Vehicle to a Company
If your vehicle is past repair, but you still want to get some money out of it, you can sell it to a business organization like CarBrain. There are some companies out there that will buy your vehicle, no matter what kind of condition it is in. Even if you have a stalling or won’t-start engine, they will buy your car. How crazy!
Start by asking for a verified quote for your car. They will make you an offer that you can accept or not. The cool thing is many of these businesses will not only buy your car but pick it up as well. How nice!
#4 – Clearing Out the Catalytic Converter
Over time, the exhaust system needs to be cleared out, specifically the catalytic converter. With fuels these days having so many impurities, your converter will not be able to work. You will probably be dealing with malfunctions as well.
To clean out a catalytic converter, you will need OXICAT. This cleaner goes right into the fuel tank itself. Whether your vehicle is a diesel, petrol, or hybrid one, this clean can work for you. The O2 sensors will work, as well as the entire exhaust system when you are done with it.
#5 – Mounting Your Engine
When an engine is not mounted appropriately, you start to run into some major issues in your life. Engine failure is the most common thing, but you could lose your engine altogether.
Over time, engine mounts can break, allowing for your engine to not be secured properly. With engine vibration, your engine might not be able to handle the pressure. With this in mind, check your mounts and make sure they are good. If they are not, or you do not feel comfortable checking, then you should check professional help for this job.
Luckily for you, a vehicle does not shut off very often, only when it is seeking extra attention. When the engine does shut off, it is a sign of something that is going wrong. Fortunately, this is a small problem to start, so get it fixed as soon as you can. Remember if you are not proactive with your vehicle, the situation will only get worse and worse.
So, make it a habit of having your mechanic check on things now and again. many people do not like taking their car in because they do not trust what the mechanic will say to them. In turn, find a place your trust or look at review online. Then, you can have a repair shop that helps you when you run into problems with your engine cutting out all of a sudden. Instead, you can focus on the spacious roadways and beautiful nature views wherever you venture around to. Safe travels on the road of life!