7 Reasons Your Car May Shut Off While Driving and What To Do

January 25th, 2023 by

A car shutting off while you’re driving can be a scary experience, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. You want to be sure you and your family are safe when on the road. Therefore, understanding why your car may shut off while driving in the first place and what you can do in response is essential.

Here are the most common reasons your car may shut off and what you can do about it:

1. Problems With the Crankshaft Position Sensor

The role of the crankshaft position sensor is to monitor the rotational speed and position of the crankshaft and other engine components in a vehicle’s engine. If this sensor becomes faulty, timely fuel injection and air delivery do not happen according to design. The crankshaft position sensor also won’t provide accurate piston positioning to the engine control unit, which causes the cylinder to misfire or the engine to run rough. If the issue is not addressed, the engine stops – which can happen while you’re driving.

A technician can test and determine if the crankshaft position sensor is causing your vehicle to shut off while driving. So, find a professional mechanic to diagnose the issue and replace the crankshaft position sensor as soon as possible.

2. Faulty Engine Control Unit (ECU)

The Engine Control Unit is the computer responsible for collecting information from a vehicle’s powertrain system. The ECU performs calculations to determine the fuel injection, air delivery, and spark timing that is needed by the engine to operate at its peak performance.

If the ECU fails, you’ll face issues like the sudden loss of power, spark loss, and fuel efficiency issues. Your check engine light might light up and the car will be shutting off randomly as it turns back on whenever you’re driving. Diagnosing ECU issues is not an easy task. So, unless you have mechanical knowledge, it’s best to take your car to a professional. The mechanic will be able to identify and repair any issues with the ECU in no time.

3. Faulty Alternator

An alternator is a vehicle’s electrical generator. It’s responsible for providing power to different parts of the car, such as the lights, stereo, air conditioning unit, and charging the battery. If the alternator fails, it will disrupt the flow of electricity throughout your car, causing it to shut off while driving.

If the battery is in good condition and the alternator falters, the battery will step in to supply the electric power required in the meantime until it dies. Because of this, you may not notice any signs of a failing alternator until the battery dies. Your mechanic will take the necessary steps to determine if this is indeed the case, and replace or repair it accordingly.

4. Empty Fuel Tank Thanks to a Faulty Fuel Gauge

Your fuel gauge should be able to accurately tell you how much gas is left in your tank. However, if the gauge is faulty or broken, it can give you a false reading, causing you to run out of fuel while driving and leading your car to shut off.

If you suspect that your fuel gauge is faulty, try to fill the tank with gas and keep track of the number of miles you’ve driven since then. This will help you gain an idea of how much fuel the gauge is off by so that you can prevent your car from dying on long rides. Get it rectified as soon as possible with a professional mechanic.

5. Clogged Fuels System

Another common issue that can lead to your car shutting off while driving is a clogged fuel system. An accumulation of dirt, rust, and other debris in the fuel lines can block the flow of gasoline from getting to your engine, resulting in it stalling or shutting down.

To prevent this from happening, make sure that you take good care of your car and have it serviced regularly. Also, avoid putting any kind of additives into your gas tank that could clog the fuel system.

6. Failed Ignition System

A malfunctioning ignition system is another common cause of cars shutting off while driving. If your car’s spark plugs or distributor cap are failing, that’s a possible cause. For example, within the ignition switch are small metallic plates that can develop rust over time and prevent the system from working properly. It’s important to have your ignition system inspected regularly by a trusted mechanic to ensure that it is functioning optimally.

7. Faulty Spark Plugs

Failed spark plugs can also cause a car to shut off while driving. Spark plugs ignite the fuel in your engine, so if they are worn or broken, it will prevent the car from running. It’s important to have your spark plugs inspected and replaced regularly by a trusted mechanic to ensure that they are functioning properly. Additionally, check the air filter of your car to make sure it’s not clogged or dirty – and replace it as needed.

Service Your Car With Lakeland Hyundai

By taking the time to inspect these seven issues, you can help ensure that your car is running optimally and prevent any unexpected shutdowns while driving. Make sure to take your vehicle in for regular maintenance checks and follow your manufacturer’s recommended service schedule. At Lakeland Hyundai, our certified technicians are here to help you keep your vehicle running smoothly by offering a variety of services that will keep your car in top shape. Contact us today to learn more.

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