Today, we are going to look at the reasons car shuts off while driving. If you are on a high way and this happens, you will be wondering what could make your car shut off in that manner. Well, in this article, we are going to consider the possible causes of car shutting off while driving.
Why Does Car shuts off while driving?
Here are the top reasons why your car shuts off while driving:
Faulty Crankshaft Position Sensor
A malfunctioning crankshaft position sensor is one of the most prevalent causes of car shutoff while driving. The crankshaft position sensor’s job is to keep track of the engine’s many moving parts, which include the crankshaft, valves, and pistons. It keeps track of the crankshaft’s velocity and position to ensure that fuel injection and ignition are timed correctly.
In a nutshell, this process is required for maximum engine performance. A cylinder misfires when the crankshaft position sensor fails to give the Engine Control Unit with accurate information about piston positioning in the engine.
The check engine light may illuminate if the crankshaft position sensor isn’t functioning properly. The tachometer not operating properly is another symptom that the crankshaft position sensor is malfunctioning. The tachometer is a gauge on your dashboard that displays your car’s RPMs and is usually situated next to your speedometer. Every time you rev your engine, the tachometer normally climbs. The tachometer will remain in place once the desired speed has been achieved.
The ECU will then transmit information to the tachometer after obtaining information about engine speed from the crankshaft position sensor. When the crankshaft position sensor fails, it sends inaccurate and anomalous data to the ECU, which is subsequently sent to the tachometer, causing it to behave erratically or irregularly.
A defective crankshaft position sensor can also cause the engine to run rough, misfire, and eventually stall out while driving.
Using an OBD scanner and reading the error codes from the ECU is one approach to determine if your crankshaft position sensor is defective. Your crankshaft position sensor is malfunctioning if you get diagnostic trouble codes between P0335 and P0338. Even if an OBD scanner can’t detect the specific problem, it’s still a useful tool for narrowing down the possible causes.
Faulty ECU( Engine Control Unit)
A defective Engine Control Unit (ECU) or engine control module is another source of issue that can cause the automobile to shut off while driving and flash the Check Engine light. Your car’s ECU is a computer that collects data from various sections of an internal combustion engine to ensure that everything in the system is operating at peak efficiency.
A defective ECU can result in unexpected drops in power, fuel economy, and spark loss, leading your automobile to turn off and on at odd times. Your vehicle stopping and jerking while driving is another classic indicator of a defective ECU. Your dash may also show the check engine light.
Testing and checking your ECU is unfortunately not simple. A malfunctioning ECU is not always indicated by the check engine light. The only way to try troubleshooting on your own is to utilize an OBD scanner to see what diagnostic issue codes you get. The code for a failed ECU, on the other hand, might not be obvious. Only a professional mechanic can help you. To diagnose your ECU, a mechanic will need the appropriate tools, software, and knowledge.
A Faulty Alternator
Your car’s alternator is in charge of producing a steady supply of electricity from the vehicle’s mechanical energy. This electrical energy is used to power different electrical components such as dash lighting, dome lights, air conditioning, stereo, etc., as well as charge the battery. If your alternator is malfunctioning, your automobile will not receive the electrical power it need, resulting in car shutoff while traveling. You’ll see a flashing dash if this happens.
It’s crucial to note that if your battery is in good working order and can produce electricity after your alternator fails, your car can still run for a long without one, so you may not notice what you’re up against right immediately.
However, because the battery is not designed to provide electricity to the complete automobile, your car will only survive a brief time when driving on it. Your automobile will stall and finally shut off altogether if your battery fails.
If you pay close attention to how your automobile functions, you should be able to detect when the alternator is malfunctioning, as your vehicle will begin to receive inconsistent power. In any case, using a multimeter or a voltmeter to test your battery and alternator at regular intervals, such as every 4-6 months, is a simple DIY vehicle maintenance task.
To check an alternator, start the car and switch off all lights, including the dashboard, as well as any electrically powered accessories such as the stereo. Use the multimeter to do a battery test. At a constant idle speed, a healthy alternator should produce 13.1 to 14.6 volts. If it isn’t, you should have an expert inspect it.
The alternator should then be tested to see if it can handle heavy loads. Allow your aide to maintain a 2000-RPM engine speed. Connect the voltmeter and turn on all of the equipment, including the headlights, inside lights, radio, and wipers. The alternator is sufficient if it shows 13.0 volts or higher. Any reading below 13.0 indicates that the alternator is defective and has to be replaced.
Empty Fuel Tank
Thousands of individuals are astonished to realize that their automobile shuts down while traveling every year owing to a low gasoline tank. While some people are too busy or forgetful to check their gasoline levels on a regular basis and refill as soon as possible, there are times when your fuel gauge malfunctions and does not display the true fuel level in the tank.
The failure of the sending unit is one of the most prevalent causes of defective gas gauges. In most circumstances, this will cause your fuel gauge to become stuck in one place, regardless of the fuel level, which is normally at the “F” or “E” mark. If you suspect a problem with your fuel gauge or fuel level sensor, try filling your car with 1 gallon or 4 liters of gasoline to see if it will start.
Faulty Or Clogged Fuel Pump
It’s common for a malfunctioning fuel pump to cause your automobile to turn off while you’re driving and then turn back on. Your engine requires a precise supply of gasoline at an exact moment as input for combustion to produce power, and the fuel pump is the component that delivers that fuel.
If the engine does not receive the appropriate amount of fuel at the appropriate time, it will shut down, which is similar to your automobile running out of gas. Unfortunately, there is no bypass for a damaged gasoline pump. It will either need to be repaired or replaced.
Your gasoline filter may have been clogged as well. The purpose of the gasoline filter is to keep the fuel going into the engine clean. Contaminations in old gasoline can block it over time, preventing the fuel pump from pumping enough fuel through it and causing the engine to shut down while driving.
If your fuel filter is nylon or paper, simply replace it with a new one, which is inexpensive. You may simply clean and reuse it if it’s made of metal.
The majority of fuel pumps are built into the tank. Giving the fuel tank a kick with your foot is a quick approach to see if it’s the fuel pump that’s causing your automobile to shut off while driving. If your car starts after that, your fuel pump is most likely malfunctioning. However, do not hit it with a metal object too hard because the tank is made of plastic and you do not want to harm it.
Bad Or Faulty Ignition Switch
The ignition switch, which is located behind the ignition lock, is activated when you turn the key to start the car. Many microscopic metal plates can corrode over time inside the ignition switch. When this happens, one of these plates may get disconnected, causing the ignition to turn off. Alternatively, the ignition relay may fail, causing the system that regulates the quantity of electricity that passes through them to malfunction. The motor will abruptly cut off while driving as a result of this.
Fortunately, determining whether your automobile shuts off while driving is due to a defective ignition switch is rather simple. Check your dashboard for any lights that remain after the automobile has shut off. A malfunctioning ignition switch is the most frequent cause of a dead dashboard instrument. After the car has shut down, try twisting the keys in the ignition again. If this doesn’t start the engine, you’re probably dealing with an ignition problem.
Faulty Spark Plugs
The small spark plugs are another important component that helps your engine generate power. They are the components that ignite the air and fuel mixture in the combustion chamber of an engine to produce combustion. There is a spark plug for each cylinder.
You can still start and drive your car if only one of the spark plugs is faulty. Your automobile may start if more than one spark plug fails, but it will most likely not drive for very long. Your engine will stall and shut off while driving if you have several defective spark plugs.
Reduced engine performance, lack of acceleration, engine misfires, and engine knocking are all warning indicators to watch for before your engine totally shuts down and leaves you stranded.
If you see these signs, it’s simple to figure out if you have a bad spark plug: just look for it and inspect it. You can tell the condition of your spark plugs once you can physically see them. A faulty spark plug is one that is blistered or covered in a substance such as oil, fuel, or carbon as a result of operating too hot.
Level Of Compression
With the help of a cylinder compression, the car’s internal combustion engine generates enough power to accelerate. As a result, if the engine’s compression level is low, it won’t be able to produce enough power, which can cause a problem as the car accelerates.
Ignition Switch Problems
Another cause of your vehicle turning off while driving is the ignition switch. Because of a vibration, the engine will lose power if the ignition switch becomes fatigued and collapses. The car’s engine will shut down while you’re driving as a result of this.
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What You Should Do If Your Car Shuts Off While Driving
If your car shuts off while driving, we advise that you do the following:
Pull Over The Car To One Side Of The Road
When your automobile shuts off while driving, the first thing you should do is try not to panic and steer it to the side of the road or into the shoulder. Because cars on the highway often travel at high speeds, pull over when you slow down to a stop to avoid any vehicles behind you colliding into your back. It’s worth noting that your car’s ability to brake and steer will be lost as a result of this, but it’s your only option.
If slowing down your automobile is too difficult, look for a secure spot off to the side of the road where you can steer your car and then apply the emergency brake. This will bring you to a complete stop, but it’s a million times better than stalling out in the middle of the highway.
Try Restarting The Car
Now that your automobile is safely off the road, the next step is to see if it can be restarted so that you can at least get to the nearest auto repair shop. You might be able to restart your car if you’re lucky and can identify or narrow down the source of the problem.
Call an Emergency Number
When a car gets stopped on the road with no one around to help, it’s advisable to call an emergency number or a roadside assistance organization like AAA, which normally provides assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you can’t reach either, know that if you don’t have service or your phone is dead, the police can aid you in contacting roadside assistance, and they will ensure that your automobile is safe.
If you’re lucky, your car will shut down while driving but restart so you can drive home. If this happens, you should use an OBD2 scanner to check for any fault codes in the engine control unit as soon as possible. If you get any issue codes, keep running diagnostics on them.