Why My Car Stalls at Idle or While Driving
It is an unfortunate fact that your car may stall while driving it. It can be inconvenient, scary, and even dangerous in certain situations. Maybe your car stalls when at idle or driving or it dies when slowing down. If so, here may be serious issues going on with either your fuel delivery system or electrical malfunctions. Since modern vehicles are more complex than their predecessors, they can be harder to diagnose without proper computer diagnostic equipment. Therefore, make sure to bring it in for a diagnostic inspection service right away.
Common Driving Situations
There are a ton of reasons that can contribute to a car stalling. Understanding when your car dies can help narrow down why. Let’s look at some common driving situations where car stalling can occur.
Car Stalls When Idle
We have all seen it. A car is stalled in the intersection, and the embarrassed driver pushes it out of the way. It can happen to anyone, out of the blue and without prior indications that something is wrong. What is the cause? Well, there is no easy answer and no one-size-fits-all solution.
If you have a newer model car, the reason may be a malfunctioning electronic sensor or an imbalance in the air/fuel mixture. However, for older model cars, it could be the idle speed control actuator, a faulty alternator, or even a dead battery.
Car Dies When Slowing Down
Stalling situations when driving can be more dangerous than when idling. You lose power steering and power brakes when your engine is not running. This can make pulling over and stopping in a safe spot more challenging. Inspect the automatic transmission system and the fuel delivery system if your car stalls when slowing down.
Car Stalls When Using Cruise Control
It can be frightening to have your car stall when traveling at speed on the highway. If your car stalls when using the cruise control, inspect the electronic components. The sensors, wiring harness, or fuel pump may be the cause.
Common Auto Component Culprits
As you can see, determining the cause behind why your car dies can be difficult since the possibilities are so vast. Here is a brief overview of the common auto components that can contribute to car stalling.
Engine & Electrical Malfunctions
Routine maintenance can help catch many of these engine & electrical malfunctions before stalling issues happen. Read your owner’s manual or consult your service provider to create a maintenance schedule that meets your needs.
- Broken Engine Ground Connections
- Overheating Ignition Coils
- Loose or Corroded Wiring Harness
- Faulty Alternator
- Dead Battery
Furthermore, there needs to be a balanced mixture of air and fuel to ignite when sparked with all combustion engines. Thus, your car may stall if any of the following components is not working properly:
Idle Speed Control Actuator or Idle Air Control Valve (IAC)
Generally speaking, this device controls the engine’s idling rotating speed (RPM). Older vehicles with a carburetor use the Idle Speed Control Actuator. However, newer fuel-injected engines use the Idle Air Control Valve (IAC). A damaged or clogged component disrupts the signal, causing the RMPs to drop enough to stall your vehicle at an idle.
Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve (EGR)
An EGR valve is designed to open and close as needed to allow exhaust gases into the intake manifold. A common issue with the EGR is carbon deposit build-up causing malfunctions. Symptoms can include rough idling, stalling, and a lit Check Engine light.
Modern vehicles are equipped with lots of sensors. They monitor virtually every system in your car. When one of them goes bad, it may or may not trigger your Check Engine light. The trick is to figure out which sensor is glitching and get it replaced. A faulty sensor may also indicate a bigger issue is lurking, requiring a more in-depth inspection. Here are just a few sensors that can contribute to car stalling.
- Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF)
- Oxygen Sensor
- Throttle-position Sensor (TPS)
- Crankshaft-position Sensor
- Camshaft-position Sensor
- Manifold Pressure Sensor
Fuel Delivery System
An issue in the fuel delivery system can involve any of the following components:
- Faulty Fuel Pump or Regulator
- Clogged Fuel Injectors
- Dirty Fuel Pump
- Low Fuel Pressure
- Contaminated Gasoline
Finally, let’s not forget to inspect the components in the transmission system.
- Transmission Torque Convertor
- Defective Torque Convertor Solenoid (TCS)
- Low Transmission Fluid
Car Stalls Diagnostic Solution in Boonsboro, MD
Eby’s Garage is a family owned, full-service auto garage that has been in business for over 30 years. We proudly provided quality auto repairs for all foreign and domestic cars and light-duty trucks. Our customer service is professional and friendly. Our ASE-certified technicians use the latest computer technology to diagnose your vehicle.
Schedule a Car Stalls Inspection Service
Feel free to contact us today at (301) 432-5130 or visit our website to schedule your Engine Shutting Off Diagnostic Inspection today!