Home | Auto Detailing | Car Died While Driving? Do this

Car Died While Driving? Do this

March 17, 2024 | Victor Lukasso

Many drivers encounter the issue of their car suddenly dying while driving, particularly those who drive older vehicles. It’s crucial to address this problem immediately to avoid accidents or costly damage to yourself and your car.

To find a solution, it’s essential to understand the root causes of this problem. This knowledge can help provide a more effective solution. If you’re a driver seeking to understand the primary reasons why your car may die while driving, continue reading…

Why Do Cars Die While Driving?

Losing power or stalling while driving can be caused by various reasons. Attempting to start the engine again after the car has died can worsen the problem, especially if the engine cranks but does not start or turn over.


It’s essential to remember that many car issues can be resolved on the roadside, but some problems may require calling a recovery truck or a mechanic for assistance.

Reason Why A Car Can Die While Driving

1. Timing Belt Broken Or Slipped

A common cause of a car dying while driving is a broken timing belt. Sometimes, a vehicle will exhibit symptoms of a failing timing belt.

If the timing belt is faulty, the engine may not crank or run poorly if it starts. A worn or slipped timing belt can affect the engine’s timing and cause insufficient fuel supply, resulting in misfiring.

Recommended:  What is the Proper Battery Cable Connection When Jumping Two Automotive Batteries?

A damaged timing belt can cause reduced power output under heavy loads, poor fuel economy, and frequent engine misfires.

These problems can lead to the engine dying while driving. If the timing belt breaks completely, the engine will shut off automatically and cannot be restarted.

2. Car Battery Failed Or Is Not Accepting Charge

Modern vehicles are often equipped with electronic systems and devices that consume much power from the car battery. Therefore, the battery undergoes multiple charging and discharging cycles during its lifetime, leading to eventual failure.

One of the initial indications of a weak or deteriorating battery is the appearance of the battery warning light on the dashboard. This may appear for several weeks or months before more severe issues arise.

A fully functional car battery typically has a voltage level of approximately 12.6 volts when charged and 14 volts when the engine is running. If the voltage level of your car battery drops below 10 volts, it could harm the engine management system and cause various problems, such as decreased engine performance and stalling, particularly at low speeds or idle.

3. Fuel Is Not Getting To The Engine

Ensuring the fuel delivery system can meet the engine demand is crucial for smooth acceleration. Unfortunately, fuel delivery problems such as bad fuel injectors or a fuel shortage can prevent fuel from reaching the engine.

One of the most common reasons for fuel delivery issues is running out of fuel, a simple problem to fix by refilling the gas tank. However, if the fuel tank has enough gas, but the engine is still not receiving fuel, it may be due to a clogged fuel filter, a blocked fuel line, or a faulty fuel pump.

Recommended:  Automotive Battery: Characteristic, Components, Functionality Specifications, and Maintenance

Clogged fuel filters or lines can cause symptoms such as engine misfires, a lack of engine power, and stalling. Identifying and fixing these issues promptly is essential to avoid further damage to the engine.

4. Failed Alternator And Is No Longer Charging The Battery

The alternator plays a crucial role in supplying the electrical power required by your vehicle when you start and drive the car, charging the battery in the process. One of the initial signs of a failed alternator is the illumination of the car battery lights on the dashboard before the engine shuts down due to insufficient power supply from the alternator.

Typically, the alternator provides a voltage output of 13 to 14.8 volts to the battery. Symptoms of a faulty alternator include difficulty starting the vehicle, dimming headlights, engine failure, warning lights on the dashboard indicating charging system issues, and more.

When you start your car engine, it consumes about 3% of the battery’s charge, leaving enough power to restart the engine if necessary or provide additional power.

5. Bad Engine Sensor

A failed engine sensor is a leading cause of car failure while driving since your car relies on several sensors to provide critical information to the engine management unit.

Among these sensors, some are more crucial to engine performance than others, making a faulty engine sensor a potential trigger for your car to die on the road.

Essential sensors like the mass air flow meter (MAF), the crankshaft and camshaft sensors, the manifold pressure sensor, and the fuel pressure sensor are all vital for starting and maintaining your car’s engine.

Recommended:  Automotive Batteries are an Example of Which Hazard Class?

When any of these sensors fail, you may experience engine misfires, poor performance, and possible engine failure that may cause your car to cut out or die.

6. Overheated Engine

Engine overheating can be a common reason for your car to die while in motion suddenly. There can be several reasons for overheating, but the major ones are a lack of engine coolant or coolant leakage into the engine.

When your car engine overheats, it is more likely to die while driving due to the lack of coolant flow. A broken water pump, a snapped timing belt, or low pressure in the coolant system usually cause this.

It is essential to recognize the symptoms of a bad water pump, such as engine overheating, coolant leakage, and steam coming from the engine bay. If you notice these symptoms, consult a mechanic as soon as possible to avoid engine malfunction while driving.

Coolant leaks can cause a range of problems with engine temperature. They can occur from the radiator, coolant hoses, a cracked coolant reservoir, or the radiator cap. A bad radiator cap may cause problems without any symptoms.

Final Notice

If your car dies while driving and won’t restart, it’s essential to consider the six common causes discussed above and try to fix them. However, if you cannot diagnose or fix the problem, it’s recommended to seek professional help from a mechanic. They can provide a more comprehensive and specialized service to get your car back on the road.

As an Amazon Service LLC Program Associate, V. Auto Basics earns from qualifying purchases. See Our Affiliate disclaimer.


Meet Victor Lukasso, the owner of V. Auto Basics. Through this blog, Victor Provides Insights on the latest tips, maintenance, repair, and techniques in the automotive world.