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How terrifying can the thought of a car shutting off while driving be? To be driving down the road and your car shuts off suddenly while going on a highway for example or having someone driving fast behind you!

That will put you in big trouble. If your car shuts off on the road, it can be an alarm of a problem with your engine that shouldn't be ignored. 

There can be many reasons that cause a car engine to shut off while driving. In this article, we will walk you through the common reasons that cause your car to turn off, what action to take when this happens, and how to fix the problem.

Why would your car shut off while driving; Reasons and Solutions:

No one likes to end up with a dead car in the middle of a trip heading for a nice destination.  Read on if you want to know how would you end up with a dead engine and what should you do then: 

1. Running out of fuel:

As unbelievable as it sounds, running out of fuel happens to many drivers. A lot of drivers forget to fill their tanks before hitting the road, and they end up with a dead engine in the middle of nowhere.


This can also happen due to a faulty fuel gauge that is not giving the correct reading of the fuel level; it might read the tank half full, while it is empty.


For the time being, what you can do is, try to guess when you got your tank filled with fuel and how much mileage you have covered since then. If you think you might have run out of fuel, get some and if you think that you have fuel in the tank, then cut off this option and move on to the next possible cause of your car shutting down.


2. Faulty Fuel Pump:

The fuel pump’s job is to deliver fuel from the fuel tank to the engine to complete the combustion process. It demands a certain pressure and a certain flow rate in order to function properly.


If the pressure or the flow rate is below the required level, the car stalls and stops working. The fuel filter can also help in that matter. If the filter is not good, it might not do its job in purifying the fuel which will block the fuel line and make it harder for the fuel to reach the engine.


Fuel pumps and fuel filters are easy to replace. All you have to do is get your car to a mechanic and get the parts repaired or replaced or to get the tubes cleaned out.

3. Faulty Car Battery:

Most drivers think that the car uses the battery only for the start-up, which is a wrong assumption. The battery does more than that. When the car battery is not working properly or is not in good shape, the alternator works harder to keep the voltage at the proper level to keep the engine running.


Operating an overworked alternator causes more stress on the engine, making it stall which will lead to a faulty battery and eventually a dead car.


In this case, all you have to do is either get the battery recharged or replaced. A battery needs to be recharged and replaced after a certain period of time, and you are able to tell when it’s time for replacement, so you should get it fixed before it stops working altogether, so you don’t have to face any such issue in the future.


4. Malfunctioning Ignition Switch:

The car’s ignition system is in charge of supplying power to the engine for it to run efficiently. This problem may not require an entire ignition system repair.


A problem with the ignition switch could cause your car to stall because the internal contacts are worn out, and the mechanism which controls the amount of electricity going through these contacts will stop working.


When the car shuts off, simply check if there are still lights on your dashboard. If the dashboard instrument is dead, a faulty ignition switch is likely. Put your car keys in the ignition again after the car shuts down and try turning them.

5. Wrong Signal Sensor:

There are several sensors responsible for engine management. These sensors keep reading the movements and give orders to the ECU (Electronic Control Unit). The ECU then sends signals to actuators such as spark plugs and injectors at a certain time and order.


In case the sensors are faulty, it sends wrong readings to the ECU about the engine’s status. This will then lead to wrong orders to the actuators, such as no spark plug signal or no injectors pulse. It eventually results in bad performance and a car shuts off while driving and won’t start.


The Engine Control Unit is one of the complicated components of the vehicle, and dealing with it on your own is probably not a good choice, so take your car to a professional mechanic.

How to Prevent your car from shutting off while driving?

If you want to avoid being in such a situation where your car shuts off:


  1. Provide regular maintenance for your car. 
  2. Make sure to check important components like the engine regularly.
  3. Pay attention to any warning symbols that appear on your dashboard. 
  4. You also need to keep in touch with your technician to direct you about the steps that need to be taken, the parts which need regular maintenance.
  5. And let him make a schedule for you to follow in order to keep your car running safely and efficiently.