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Is Your Engine Stalling? Here Are 12 Reasons Why

What Causes An Engine To Seize

Is your engine stalling? No doubt, when your engine starts to stall it can create a pretty stressful situation especially when you can’t move out of your driveway or you end up stranded on the side of the road. If your engine is stalling, the problem needs to be addressed right away. What are some of the top reasons why your car is stalling, and what you should do in the event of a emergency. 

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  • Car Is Stalling Due To A Bad Battery

Your car battery plays a major role in the overall function of your vehicle. It helps turn your engine over so that it can roar to life. Even if your car does start, a failing battery can weaken your car’s performance and cause the engine to stall. 


The truth is that a bad battery can eventually cause your car to stall especially if the battery terminals are corroded and need to be replaced. The corroded terminals prevent the battery from receiving the voltage it needs to power the vehicle. 


When a faulty battery isn’t capable of producing enough power the alternator will have to work harder to keep the engine running. The alternator will also have to help power all of your vehicle’s accessories. A mechanic can perform a voltmeter test on your car's battery to determine the condition of the batter. Depending on the test results you may need to replace it or have the battery fully recharged. In some instances, it may be that you simply need to clean the acid and corrosion off your battery and its terminals with lemon juice or vinegar. 


A new battery will cost $100-$200.

  • There Is An Electrical Problem

Thanks to advancements in technology modern cars are equipped with all kinds of safety and entertainment features that make operating your vehicle the ultimate experience. These technological features can be both a gift and a curse since they can cause electrical problems that make it difficult to keep your engine running. 


In recent years, automobiles are designed with engines that are regulated by a computer or module that communicates with other features in the vehicle. When communication fails your engine can end up stalling. When these systems fail to transmit the right signals it creates a big problem that can be difficult to solve. Electrical problems are hard to pinpoint and may even take some trial and error before your mechanic gets it right.


If you’re experiencing signs of an electrical problem with your vehicle such as the headlights malfunctioning, the engine stalling periodically, or you’re having to deal with blown fuses more frequently then you should seek help. A professional technician can perform an electrical test to help determine the exact reason why your car engine is stalling.

  • Air Filter Is Clogged

The air filter is located in the front engine compartment. It serves as a barrier between the intake system and the ambient air needed for combustion in the engine. The air filter traps dust, bugs, and other environmental contaminants and keeps them from reaching the engine. However, when it becomes dirty or clogged with particles your engine has to work so much harder to draw in air and it can lead to several performance issues. 


A clogged air filter decreases oxygen needed for full combustion and it will eventually affect your engine. If you can’t remember the last time you change your car’s air filter then it will ultimately lead to your engine stalling. It’s a good idea to have the air filter inspected every time you have a tuneup or the oil filter changed. It's important to follow the manufacturer’s requirements for changing the air filter to prevent engine stalling. 

  • Faulty Timing Belt Can Cause Engine Stalling

The timing belt is another important component of your engine. It is connected from the engine’s crankshaft to the camshaft. It plays a major role in regulating the pistons and valves in the engine. A timing belt can lead to oil leaks, exhaust problems and it can cause your engine to stall. 


When the timing belt is worn or damaged it can skip a tooth or several of them during rotation which desynchronizes different elements of the engine causing irregularities. It is important to fix a faulty timing belt as soon as possible because it can cause internal damage to the engine. 


The average cost of installing a new timing belt is approximately $500-$1000. The cost can vary depending on the type of vehicle you own and where you have your car serviced. 

  • Bad Torque Converter Causes Engine Stalling

A torque converter is an internal engine component that's housed between the engine and automatic transmission. The torque converter is responsible for transmitting engine torque power to the transmission so it can shift gears. A bad torque converter can cause a host of problems including overheating, shuddering, and engine stalling. 


The torque converter is what keeps the engine running when the car has stopped. When the torque converter is failing the car will eventually stall. The average cost of repairing a torque converter is between $600-$1000 depending on the make and model of the vehicle. 

  • The culprit can be a bad fuel pump

The fuel pump is an essential component that aids in transmitting gasoline from the tank to the engine. In older cars, the fuel pump is a mechanical mechanism while more modern vehicles use an electrically controlled fuel pump to send fuel to the engine. A bad fuel pump can cause the engine to stall while driving and it can keep your car from starting. 


There are a wide variety of reasons why your vehicle’s fuel pump may fail. This can be a result of overheating, constantly running low on gas, or letting the tank run dry. The most common signs of fuel pump failure include; a sputtering engine, power loss, decreased fuel efficiency, difficulty starting a car, and a dead engine. 


A fuel pump replacement can be expensive and cost between $300-$1,060 depending on the age of the vehicle. 

  • Fuel Pressure Problems Leads to Engine Stalling 

Speaking of fuel pumps, other fuel-related problems can lead to the engine stalling. If your car tends to stall out when you're going uphill or downhill this is usually due to low fuel pressure. Yes, without enough fuel pressure your vehicle will not be able to run reliably. 


Fuel pressure problems like low fuel are usually caused by a dirty fuel filter, a weak fuel pump, restricted fuel lines, or even bad electrical connections to the fuel system. Adding a fuel injector cleaner to your gas tank or having the fuel lines professionally cleaned can help with this issue and further prevent fuel-related problems. 


When it comes to diagnosing and repairing fuel-related problems that have nothing to do with your fuel pump, you can expect to pay anywhere between $200-$600.

  •  Too Much Moisture In Your Gas

When there is a build-up of moisture in your gas it will significantly affect your engine’s performance. There are several different ways that moisture can get trapped in your gas. When it rains or snows if the gas tank isn’t fitted properly water can seep into the tank. Humidity can also lead to moisture building up in the tank especially if you tend to park in sunny areas during the summertime. Gasoline and water don’t mix. In fact, water weighs down gasoline. It causes the fuel to not burn properly which leads to your engine stalling. 


The main way to fix this problem is to drain the existing gas from the tank and replace it with fresh new gas. You can also add a fuel additive to the gasoline to minimize the condensation. If the gas cap is broken, purchase a new one to ensure that it properly fits over the nozzle to further prevent moisture from building up.

  • Bad Alternator 

A dead or malfunctioning alternator is one of the most common problems that prevent a car from starting. The alternator's role is to keep the battery charged and juiced up so that it can power the vehicle. However, a dead alternator won’t be able to provide a sufficient charge. When the battery isn’t properly charged it prevents the fuel injectors from firing up leading to the engine stalling. 


The alternator generates power from the engine. Therefore, when it's no longer working you’ll notice that your car will stall or stop moving at low speeds. For a novice, it can be difficult to determine whether you have a bad battery or alternator. In some cases, a failing alternator can drain a good battery.


A new alternator will cost approximately $100-$300 to install a new alternator in your vehicle. 

  •  Faulty WaterPump Causes The Engine To Stall

A bad water pump will ruin your engine. The water pump is the heart of your vehicle’s cooling system. The water pump keeps coolant flowing through the engine preventing it from overheating. Coolant is a blend of water and antifreeze. Driving a car with a bad water pump is a very bad idea because it can lead to the vehicle overheating and it will completely damage the engine. 


If you drive a car with a faulty water pump the engine will end up stalling on you and overheating while you’re driving. The average cost of a water pump replacement in the United States is $460-$638.

  • Dirty Spark Plugs

The spark plugs are what provide the spark that ignites the air and fuel mixture to start the engine. The spark plugs are small yet powerful and they create the arc of electricity needed to get your vehicle moving. Although the spark plugs are durable they should be changed every 30,000 -90,000 miles depending on your vehicle. Dirty or damaged spark plugs can cause the engine to stall at an idle. 


Like any other component on your car, the spark plugs will deteriorate over time. When they do wear out they won’t be able to provide the combustion of air and fuel mixture needed to start the engine. Installing new spark plugs is a relatively simple job. Replacing the spark plugs can cost anywhere between $40-$150.

  • Bad Ignition Coils 

The ignition coils are located in your car’s ignition system. The ignition coils transform the battery voltage to thousands of volts needed to provide a spark to the spark plugs to get the engine started. Bad ignition coils can lead to a host of problems including rough idling, poor fuel economy, difficulty starting the engine, decreased acceleration, and engine misfiring. 


Bad ignition coils should be replaced as soon as possible. The cost of installing new ignition coils is between $264-$380. If you replace these components on your own you can save a lot of money.


What Should I Do If My Engine Stalls While Driving?

  It’s easy to panic when the engine begins to stall while driving. It’s important to keep a level head when this happens. The first thing you should do in this situation is to try to coast to safety if you are on the highway or street with lots of traffic. Keep in mind that the safety of you and your passengers is the priority. 


If the engine stalls and the car loses all of its power the brakes may also stop working and so does the power steering. In a situation like this, you’ll need to put on your hazard lights and find a safe place to stop your vehicle while on the road. If you need to engage the emergency brakes. Once the car has come to a complete stop in a safe place you can attempt to restart the vehicle. 


You can try troubleshooting the problem by jump-starting the battery. If you see smoke coming from the hood the engine may be overheating. Give it some time to cool down and try restarting the vehicle. 


If your engine continues to stall while driving or when idling the vehicle may be unsafe to drive. Here at Cash Car Buyers, we purchase all kinds of vehicles even if they aren’t in good condition. Contact us today to find out how much we can offer you for your old vehicle. 


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