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10 Reasons Your Car Shuts Off While Driving

10 Reasons Your Car Shuts Off While Driving

Here are the 10 common reasons your car shuts off while driving:

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


  • Your vehicle doesn't have gas
  • The alternator is not working properly
  • The crankshaft position sensor is broken
  • The engine control unit is not working properly
  • There is an issue with air-fuel mixing
  • The fuel pump is not working
  • The fuel pressure is low
  • The air filter is clogged
  • The battery is dead
  • The spark plugs are not working properly

When your vehicle shuts off while driving, it can be very stressful, especially if you're an inexperienced driver. While your vehicle might shut off one or two times in its lifetime, if that's a consistent issue, it could be related to a major internal problem.

This article provides you with 10 reasons your car shuts off while driving. In addition, it highlights how this reason plays a role in shutting off your vehicle suddenly, and it will also give you an idea about expected repair costs.

10 reasons your car shuts off while driving

When your vehicle shuts off while driving, you might be dealing with a long list of potential internal components that might be going wrong, however, automotive experts narrowed down the list and provided a summary of the 10 common reasons your car shuts off while driving.

Let's take a closer look below:


1.    Your vehicle doesn't have gas

While it might sound obvious that your vehicle will shut off suddenly if it doesn't have gas, many inexperienced drivers might not pay attention. Therefore, it is critical to look at the gas gauge on your dashboard whenever you deal with it and install it.

According to recent statistics, more than 500,000 people are dealing with empty tags when driving, which causes sudden shutoffs to their vehicles without paying attention. Therefore, it is not rare to deal with this situation, and that's why you should build good habits of checking your gas tank regularly.

Sometimes the gauge reading for your fuel level on the dashboard might have a problem. In other words, it could tell you that there is some fuel in the tank, while that's not the case. Therefore, when dealing with the sudden engine shutting off, it's worth inspecting the gauge and confirming that it provides you with the actual reading.

How much does it cost to fix the problem?

Of course, if your problem has to do with no fuel, prices differ significantly depending on your fuel of choice depending on what's specified in your vehicle's owner’s manual.

2.    The alternator is not working properly

There is a very common misconception that the vehicle's battery is responsible for charging all electric components in your car. However, that's the alternator's responsibility.

When the alternator is not working properly, it can easily lead to your vehicle shutting off suddenly. Therefore, one of the very common reasons your car shut off while driving is the alternator.

Therefore, you must inspect the alternator and confirm that it works properly. If it's the actual culprits, you'll need to replace it.

How much does it cost to fix the problem?

If your car shuts off while driving because of a bad alternator, you'll have to replace it. Unfortunately, alternator replacement cost ranges from $500 to $1000. But, of course, if you have the right skill sets, you can replace your alternator without needing to pay more than $100 in some instances.

3.    The crankshaft position sensor is broken

Another common culprit that could cause your car to shut off while driving is a broken crankshaft position sensor. This sensor is responsible for monitoring the rotational speed of the crankshaft. If it has a problem, it won't have your engine perform properly, and it will lead to your vehicle shutting down suddenly without any previous warning signs.

How much does it cost to fix the problem?

If you confirm that your car shuts off while driving because of a bad crankshaft position start, you'll have to replace it. The replacement cost would be somewhere between  $178 and $226.

4.    The engine control unit is not working properly

The engine control unit is one of the most critical units in your engine. It is responsible for operating several components within your engine. When it's not working properly, it leads to sudden engine problems, including those related to your car shutting off while driving.

When there's a problem with the engine control units, you might not necessarily deal with the car shutting off suddenly immediately because you'll deal with other issues upfront. For example, your vehicle will start jerking and stalling for some time before you get to that point.

If your car shuts off while driving because of a problem with the engine control units, it indicates that you missed some of the other symptoms, and you might be dealing with a major problem with the engine control unit.

How much does it cost to fix the problem?

If you discovered that the problem has to do with a significant issue with the engine control unit, unfortunately, you'll end up replacing it. Replacement costs should start by at least $800 and might get up to $2000 in some instances, if not more.

5.    There is an issue with air-fuel mixing

Your vehicle requires a certain amount of air to fuel mix for the engine tool to operate properly. If there is a significant difference in the air and fuel amounts, you'll end up with engine stalling that might get you to a point where your vehicle shuts off while driving.

How much does it cost to fix the problem?

There are no exact repair costs for problems related to air-fuel mixing because the problem could be related to a variety of issues. For instance, it might be because of a bad MAP sensor, and also it could be an issue with the head gasket.

6.    The fuel pump is not working

As the name suggests, the fuel pump pumps the required amount of fuel whenever the engine needs it. If the pump is not working properly, it will act like your vehicle doesn't have any fuel, and therefore, don't be surprised to deal with sudden vehicle shutting off while driving. But, of course, you won't get to this point unless the fuel pump is completely damaged.

The good news is that there are plenty of other symptoms that you can keep an eye for, indicating that the fuel pump is about to get damaged before it even does. Therefore, you can prevent the situation by monitoring these symptoms and resolving the issue As early as possible.

How much does it cost to fix the problem?

Fuel pump replacement cost ranges from $220 to $1062, which differs significantly depending on your vehicle's make, model, year, and the location where you get the job done.

7.    The fuel pressure is low

Low fuel pressure won't instantly cause your vehicles to shut down suddenly while driving. However, if there is a significant problem internally that prevents the field from getting to the internal cylinders of your engine, it might get to that point, and you might deal with your vehicle shutting down.

Therefore, it is recommended that you inspect the fuel system, confirm what is causing this low fuel pressure, and resolve it.

How much does it cost to fix the problem?

Repair costs differ significantly depending on the root of the problem. For example, a bad fuel pump might cause low fuel pressure, and other internal leaks might also result in lower fuel pressure. Therefore, once you confirm with your mechanic the real culprits, you can then look at the expected repair costs.

8.    The air filter is dirty

Like the law fuel pressure, a dirty air filter won't cause your vehicle to shut down completely unless it's extremely clogged. In other words, the air filter might be partially clogged and will result in a difference in your vehicle's performance, but it won't lead to the sudden shutting down unless it's completely clogged.

How much does it cost to fix the problem?

Luckily, placing The Dirty air filter is not very expensive, and it should cost you somewhere between $20 and $85.

9.    The battery is dead

A bad battery might lead your vehicle to shut down suddenly while driving. However, if you already know, the battery is only responsible for getting your vehicle started, and it won't be used otherwise. Therefore, one might ask how a dead battery will cause your vehicle to shut off while driving?

Well, if the alternator is not working properly, your vehicle will rely on the battery and use some of its charges to operate some of the components. However, the battery is not designed for that purpose. So when you're dealing with a dead battery, your vehicle will shut down also because of that, and it is typically a combination of a bad battery and alternator that could result in this situation.

How much does it cost to fix the problem?

Luckily, battery replacement cost is not very expensive, and it can start as low as $45 but can get as high as $250, which is not very expensive compared to other repairs in your vehicle.

10. The spark plugs are not working properly

No finally, that spark plug might also result in your vehicle shutting down suddenly without any previous warning sign. The spark plug is responsible for sending the required spark at the right time to get the air-fuel mixture to ignite and have your vehicle generate the energy.

If the spark plug is not working at All in all cylinders, dealing with your car shutting off while driving is not surprising.

How much does it cost to fix the problem?

If the problem is about a spark plug, you'll need to replace it depending on how many spark plugs are going bad in your vehicle. Typically, the spark plug replacement cost ranges from $16 to $100, depending on the spark plug type and quality.

Can I fix the problem myself if my car shuts off while driving?

It depends. As you might notice in the previous list, there are some instances where you can take care of the problem yourself. At the same time, there are some situations where it has to go to a professional mechanic to resolve the issue so you don't introduce other problems that could cost you a lot of money.

For example, if your car shuts off because of no fuel in the fuel tank, you can easily head to the gas station and fill it up or call for help to get to your location and get you some fuel supply.

On the other hand, if the problem is a bad fuel pump, it will require some professional mechanic help because it needs to go to some details about how to take out the fuel pump and install the new one without causing an issue.

Therefore, the first step is to confirm the root culprit that is causing this situation that you're dealing with, and then from there, you can decide whether you can do the repairs yourself or leave it to professionals.

10 reasons your car shuts off while driving: Final thoughts

Dealing with sudden engine stalling can be frustrating and stressful to some drivers. However, once you get an idea about all potential reasons that could cause your vehicle to shut off suddenly, you'll have an immediate sense of what to do next and how to get the problem resolved.

This article provided you with a summary of the 10 reasons your car shuts off while driving. It also gives you an idea about expected repair costs so you make an informed decision about whether you should proceed with fixing your vehicle or think about selling it.

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