It sounds like a pretty scary situation. You’re driving down the road and your car shuts off. Let’s hope that you’re not on a highway or have someone following a little too closely because unfortunately, this problem can come at any time and without warning.
There can be a multitude of reasons why your car may shut off while you’re driving. We are going to discuss the main reasons why it might turn off, the steps to take when this happens, and how to fix the problem.
Reasons Why Your Car Shuts Off While Driving
In newer cars, there are numerous functions, mechanisms, and sensors that are involved and need to work together in order for your vehicle to run smoothly. Some parts are more common than others and can be part of the reason your car shuts off while driving.
If you have a modern car, the check engine light might also come on. This can help you troubleshoot what is wrong with your car and help you figure out the reason why your car shuts off while driving. In older cars, you need to figure it out on your own, since there is no way to read the memory of your vehicle.
- Faulty Crankshaft Position Sensor
This is the most common issue when it comes to a car shutting off while driving. This mechanism is necessary for your car engine to run properly. If the crankshaft position sensor isn’t working properly, it can cause the check engine light to come on. The engine’s computer is in charge of the crankshaft position sensor, so if it detects a problem with the sensor, the check engine light will come on.
Another sign that the crankshaft position sensor is faulty is that the tachometer isn’t working properly. The computer needs to gain information about the engine speed from the sensor, and then relay information to the tachometer. If the sensor isn’t working right, the tachometer might start working erratically or sporadically, signaling that you have a faulty crankshaft position sensor.
Third, your fuel economy will not be as good as it normally is for your specific make and model of car. Your gas mileage will be much lower than normal, signaling that you have a faulty crankshaft position sensor, which can cause your car to shut off while driving.
Fourth, your engine might not start if you have a faulty crankshaft. The computer won’t be able to give the engine any spark, which in turn, makes the engine crank, but not start. Lastly, the engine could run very rough or stall out during driving. This is the main issue we are dealing with here, since the faulty crankshaft position sensor can cause the car to shut off while driving. A faulty sensor can cause a misfire or cause the engine to stall completely.
- Faulty Fuel Pump or Fuel System
The fuel pump has the duty of giving the engine the accurate amount of fuel for it to run properly. If the fuel pump is not giving the right amount of fuel, then the engine won’t be able to run, and it will shut off.
The negative about this potential problem is that there is no way around a broken or faulty fuel pump – you need to repair the pump or purchase a new one. You also should check the fuel filter, as that could be the main problem instead of the pump. The fuel filter’s job is to clean the fuel going into the engine, so if it is clogged, the fuel that is going into the engine will be impeded.
The last thing that could be faulty with the fuel system is the fuel supply line. This is the method via which the gas gets to the engine from the fuel tank supply. If the supply lines are broken or clogged, then there is no way for the gas to get to the engine, causing it to shut off while running.
A broken fuel pump or fuel filter can cause your car to shut off while driving due to the incorrect amount of gas going into the engine, with it not being enough to run the car properly.
- Empty Fuel Tank
This is a common occurrence that most people have experienced at least once in their lifetime. You get distracted while you’re driving around and forget to keep an eye on your fuel gauge. You can then lose track of where your meter is at, and end up running out of fuel while driving, causing your car to shut off while driving.
Another reason that your car could run out of gas is if your fuel gauge isn’t working properly. This could mean that you think you have enough fuel to last your trip, and the meter is saying you have enough fuel, but you run out of gas anyway. No matter if you run out of gas due to human error or due to fuel gauge error, you should still get your car checked by a mechanic to diagnose the correct problem and why your car shut off while driving.
- Alternator Problems
The alternator in your car is in charge of providing your vehicle with a constant stream of electricity. If your car all of a sudden shuts off while driving, it is probable that your alternator has gone bad. A broken alternator will cut the power to your car and the important parts, which will signal to you by a flashing dash or the engine all of a sudden shutting off.
If you pay enough attention to your car and the way it works, you can sense an alternator going bad over time. Your car will begin receiving an intermittent amount of power, which should prompt you to get your car checked by a mechanic so that you can prevent it shutting off while driving. The alternators are electrical parts of the car that can be easily repaired by a trusted mechanic or repairman.
- Broken ECU
The ECU in your car is a computer which is in charge of your car’s systems and functions, ensuring it runs properly and smoothly. This engine control module controls actuators on the internal combustion engine to make sure the engine is running at an optimal level for performance.
If you find an issue with your car’s ECU, you can lose power in your car. Typically, there is a sign of this by showing the check engine light on your dash. After this light goes on, you should go to a mechanic immediately, even though a check engine light doesn’t necessarily mean an ECU problem. If you decide not to take your car to a mechanic once the light goes on, your car can gain more problems and they can get worse. Plus, you can’t fix an ECU yourself to save some money. Your only option is to take it to a professional mechanic to avoid your car shutting off while driving.
- Issues With Your Car’s Ignition System
The car’s ignition system is what is in charge of supplying power to the engine in order for it to run efficiently. If your ignition system is faulty, your engine will abruptly shut off, causing your car to shut off while driving. The first thing you should do in order to remedy the problem is to put your car keys in the ignition again and try turning them – if this doesn’t start the engine, then you have ignition failure.
There is a possible reason for the problem which does not involve an entire ignition system repair. The ignition relay could possibly be bad, which means that the mechanism which controls the amount of electricity going through them has stopped working. You can change this part yourself if you know the right one to change. If this isn't the problem, you need to take it to a mechanic to fix the ignition system so you don't shut off while driving in the future.
Steps To Take When Your Car Dies While Driving
It could happen to anyone. It’s best to know the steps to take when and if this situation happens to you so you can be best prepared. Having your car shutting off while driving is a scary occurrence, so the better prepared you are, the safer you will be when the time comes.
- Pull Your Car Over To The Side Of The Road
The very first thing you need to do when your car shuts off while driving is to maneuver your car to the side of the road. Make sure not to panic, and smoothly guidey your car to the side or the shoulder. Even though your car will be losing the ability to brake and steer, you need to pull over while you slow to a stop in order to prevent any cars from crashing into you and prevent you from crashing into the car in front of you.
By doing this, you will be able to maintain a safe situation for everyone involved. If you find that slowing down your car is too difficult, then you need to try to find a safe place to move your car, and then stop by using the emergency brake. This will cause an abrupt stop, but as long as you do this off to the side of the road, this is a good solution to prevent slowing down and stopping in the middle of the road.
- Find Out A Way To Restart Your Car
After your car has been safely moved to the side of the road, the next step is to restart your car so you can get to a safe location or a technician. Once you determine what the reason is that your car shut off, you can try to find a solution to make your car restart. If your car can run again, then you should drive to a mechanic. If your car doesn’t start again, you’ll need to call a roadside assistance service to come and help you.
- Use emergency flashers to alert other drivers
If your car is on the side of the road and you can’t restart it, then you need to use your emergency flashers to notify other drivers that your car is immobile. By putting on your safety flashers, you are letting the other drivers know that you will not be merging back into traffic, and that your car inadvertently shut off while driving. This keeps everyone safe around you and keeps you safe while you’re figuring out the next steps.
- Call your emergency car number or a roadside assistance service
When a car is stuck on the road or on the highway since it shut off while driving, you need to call the emergency number for help if you won’t restart via your own tools and skills.
How You Can Prevent Your Car Shutting Off While Driving
In order to decrease the possibility of your car turning off while driving, you need to provide regular maintenance to your car. Be sure to check important components like the engine regularly, and ensure that you obey any warning symbols that appear on your dashboard. Have a conversation with your technician about the steps that need to be taken, the parts which need regular maintenance, and a schedule for you to adhere to in order to keep your car running safely and efficiently. By providing regular maintenance, you reduce the risk of your car shutting off while driving, which can create other expensive issues for your vehicle.
What To Do If You Don’t Want To Repair Your Car?
If you had an experience with your car shutting off while driving, it can be a terrifying occasion. This might make you lose some trust in your car. If you’d rather start over again, you can turn your car into CashCarsBuyer for some quick money within 24 hours that you can put towards a new, safe, and reliable vehicle.