What Would Cause A Car To Shut Off While Driving: 7 Reasons & How To Fix It

Car turning off while driving is a really frustrating problem and it can be dangerous as well. You may have faced this car turning-off issue on several occasions and it’s time you identify the reason behind it so that you’re able to fix it once and for all.

Your car engine shut off while driving may have different causes that could range from minor to major problems.

7 Reasons Why Your Car Shuts Off While Driving

1.     Your alternator belt has broken

The function of the alternator is to keep your car battery charged. It charges the battery while you are driving which ensures that your car engine doesn’t turn off while you are on the road. A broken alternator belt can stop working which means it won’t be able to charge the battery and hence, there will be no power for the electronic components of your vehicle.

Car alternator belt.



If your car is old and has been used for a long period then it’s most likely that the alternator belt may wear out and crack. Worn-out belts don’t work efficiently and they can break at any time which means you need to get them replaced before they cause some major trouble on the road.

How often do you drive? If you are not driving too frequently or if you limit your drives to short distances only, there is every chance of the alternator belt breaking due to lack of use. Driving under such conditions will load up all electronic components such as batteries more than they can bear, which in turn damages them over time, reducing their lifespan or causing early failure.

How to fix it

Secure a replacement alternator belt and get it fitted as soon as you can. Alternators need to be running in order to keep the battery charged and your engine running so if you don’t have a new belt installed, there is every chance that your car may shut off while driving.

A worn-out or broken belt can cause unexpected stalling during your drive which is dangerous and must be fixed ASAP.

2.     Your air filter is clogged

Your car’s air filter ensures that clean and fresh air reaches the internal combustion chamber of the engine so that fuel is burned completely and the right amount of exhaust gases is produced for the smooth functioning of all systems.

An unclean air filter allows dirt particles such as dust etc inside which results in reduced airflow coming into the engine, making your car turn off while driving.


Dust and dirt

If the air filter of your car is not cleaned regularly, then it may get clogged with dust and other debris that will result in reduced airflow into the engine. This reduces compression inside the cylinders which causes misfires and incomplete combustion of gas.

Poor maintenance

A malfunctioning or defective air filter can also cause your car to shut off while driving after a period of time. Take care of this problem before it results in bigger problems such as stalling or damage to your catalytic converter or mufflers etc.

How to fix it

Clean or replace your car’s air filter regularly. This way you will improve the airflow entering the engine, allowing it to run smoothly and reducing chances of unexpected turn-offs during drives.

Most automakers suggest that an air filter be replaced every 90 days or 30,000 miles so make sure you check with them for detailed information about servicing this important component of your vehicle.

It is recommended to have a certified professional service provider do this job so that there are no mishaps when dealing with this system which if damaged may result in serious injuries or costly repairs.

3.     Your MAF sensor has failed

Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor is responsible for measuring the amount of air entering the engine. A faulty MAF sensor can cause your car to turn off while driving and also limit its top speed, making it a dangerous issue on the road.

Mass Air Flow sensor under the open hood of a car.


Defective part

This is one of those parts of your car which are very sensitive and if damaged or broken may result in trouble with normal engine operations. If there is a crack present in the MAF sensor, dirt particles such as dust might enter inside through this crack, clogging up this system.

A dirty or defective MAF Sensor may overstate airflow into the intake manifold resulting in reduced mpg figures and extreme loss of power on highways.


Another reason for a faulty MAF sensor is due to misalignment of the sensors which is a serious problem and must be repaired as soon as you can. Air entering from outside should always flow through the MAF sensor, otherwise, it may get heated up beyond safety limits resulting in damage to these sensors, leading to stalling or shutting off of your car while driving.

How to fix it

The best way to deal with this problem is to have your MAF sensor checked for accuracy by an experienced technician who will check if there are any cracks present in this device that could allow dirt particles into its system or not, whether it has been misaligned or not etc.

These sensors require professional handling only because any mishandling might lead to more problems similar to those mentioned above, which may not be easily identifiable by an inexperienced technician.

You might find online repair manuals for your specific vehicle which can help you understand how to replace these components on your own in case of a faulty MAF sensor but it is always recommended that you seek professional assistance for this sort of work.

4.     You have a defective spark plug or a misfiring ignition coil

A common reason behind sudden unexpected turn-offs while driving is due to faulty spark plugs and coils which either need replacement or servicing. A faulty spark plug would give weak sparks when electricity passes through them, causing incomplete combustion inside the engine’s cylinders which results in reduced power generated during acceleration and increased fuel consumption.



Age has adverse effects on your vehicle’s ignition system as the parts like spark plugs and coils tend to wear out or weaken over time. This leads to misfires causing your car to turn off while driving.

Faulty parts

Replacement of old, worn-out spark plugs with new ones can lead to the ignition coil providing power to only one plug at a time instead of two, causing misfiring which may result in unexpected turns-off during drives.

Improperly seated valves

Misaligned spark plug threads are another reason for these systems not working properly which needs servicing by an experienced technician only under any circumstances.

How to fix it

Replacing faulty parts with new ones is advisable if you know how to deal with this kind of work on your own. Spark plugs are easy to replace with online guides available for different makes and models of cars, helping you perform this task on your own within no time.

However, dealing with spark plug issues isn’t hard at all if you have the right mechanic by your side who follows proper guidelines while performing this work. If you can afford it go to a workshop for this kind of job because trying to do it on your own might only worsen the situation or cause more problems later that may cost high amounts of money in repairs.

5.     Your car is overheating

If there is too much pressure built inside an engine’s cylinders due to excessive heat caused by friction between moving parts which should never happen under normal circumstances causing severe damage over time, the only way to save your car from shutting off while driving is by turning it off right away.


Too much pressure inside an engine’s cylinders due to excessive heat might be caused by many factors like low oil level in your car’s engine, faulty fan belts, or other components leading to damage to the water pump which prevents coolant liquid from flowing into that part, causing hot steam and pressure buildup inside the system.

Lack of coolant liquid available in your vehicle’s system for proper cooling can also cause this problem which requires immediate servicing.

A car mechanic pouring coolant to the radiator.

How to fix it

Replacing faulty fan belts and other components like water pumps can help you save your car’s life from such problems by preventing them from happening again. The cooling system should be regularly maintained to ensure a constant flow of coolant liquid inside the engine which can be easily achieved by regularly changing and checking its fluid level.

6.     Poor battery health

A weak or old battery might lead to unexpected shuts-downs while driving due to the lack of required power to run various components of the engines.



Batteries tend to weaken over time as they are designed in such a way that their cells start wearing out after a certain period of use. If you haven’t replaced yours yet it is high time you should do it to prevent unnecessary shut-downs while driving.

Faulty battery

A low-quality battery might be another reason for unexpected turns off during driving, which can also lead to severe damage to your car’s electrical system. Replacing your current one with a good quality one will help you save from such problems in the future.

How to fix it

Checking and replacing the existing battery on your vehicle with a new one is advisable if you want to get rid of these kinds of issues once and for all.

If you have been facing them more frequently then avoid using cheap alternatives because they may only worsen the situation or produce less power than required by your engine which further damage over time leading to permanent damage to your car.

7.     Faulty fuel pump

A faulty or damaged fuel pump can lead to unexpected car shut-downs while driving due to a lack of required fuel pressure inside the engine which makes it impossible to start your vehicle.


A faulty or damaged fuel pump might be caused by many factors like rust, dirt, clogged filters, and many others which cause moving parts involved in this system to malfunction leading to damage in the long run.

Fuel pump putting fuel into car.

How to fix it

Keeping your car’s fuel inlet pipe clean at all times is advisable if you want to avoid such problems in the future. Replacing a faulty part with a new one will help you save your vehicle from extensive damage over time involving its electrical components as well.

However, servicing this issue on your own isn’t advisable without proper knowledge of how this system works. Even if you suspect your fuel pump is faulty, always remember to get it checked by experts with the required equipment to trace issues early enough before they turn into bigger ones that may require extensive repairs.

Do not try to open or clean your fuel pump yourself because it will cost you extra money in the long run if something goes wrong.

If you are not confident about the quality of the fuel pump installed on your vehicle then using high-quality alternatives can solve this problem once and for all, with guaranteed results over time under normal circumstances.

Can A Bad Battery Cause A Car To Shut Off While Driving?

Yes. Your car battery provides power to many components of your car that are necessary for its functioning, so if it goes dead for some reason then you will face shut-offs while driving.

Why Does My Car Keep Cutting Off When I Stop?

The 4 common reasons an engine shuts off while driving. It is a very bad experience if the engine shuts off when we are in the middle of road driving. Some are common mistakes and some are technical.

Today we learn 4 common reasons the engine shuts off while driving.

1.     No Fuel

This is one of the most common reasons. It is either we forget to fill in the gas or the fuel gauge is faulty and shows the tank still has fuel but in reality, it is empty.

2.     Battery Is Dead Or Alternator Issue

The battery is recharged by the alternator. So it is important to always check your alternator and the battery life because both are connected. If the alternator is spoiled, the car still can run for some time using the battery but eventually, it will shut off.

3.     Spark Plug Spoiled

Each vehicle has several spark plugs based on the vehicle type. Fuel is ignited to start pumping using these spark plugs. If a few of these plugs are spoiled, car can still start but after a while, it will shut off.

4.     Overheat Of Engine

If you forget to check your radiator water level it may cause your car to shut off suddenly due to the rising temperature inside the engine.

Can Low Oil Cause A Car To Shut Off?

Oil to a car is like blood to our body. Nonetheless, your body can clean your blood and make fresh blood cells after some time. Your car can’t do that. Oil changes are essential for your customary, progressing upkeep, and while they appear to be moderately fundamental, they’re really one of the most basic sorts of car support.

Neglecting to replace your oil routinely can prompt a large group of issues, ranging from decreased efficiency to genuine engine harm to totally obliterating the engine.

If you somehow managed to drive your vehicle with low engine oil, it might just bring about minor excessive wear to inward engine parts. It truly depends on how low the oil level is. You are, by and large, protected up to about a quart low.

If you somehow happened to drive with no engine oil, the engine would rapidly seize up, which would cause your vehicle to shut down and you would have to replace the whole motor.


Your car may shut off while driving if it has a problem with its cooling system, faulty battery, fuel pump, or any other part of your engine. You can avoid such issues by regularly changing and checking the coolant levels, replacing old batteries, and using high-quality alternative parts that are available for very affordable prices.

However, car shut-offs while driving are an exceptional case rather than a usual one as it requires extensive troubleshooting to find the real culprit behind this issue. Therefore, having them checked by experts with the required equipment is advisable. If you have any questions, kindly comment below.

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About Brock Rangel

Hi, I am Brock, and I am the lead editor/photographer for TheCarColony. I have been a mechanic for over 14 years now, and I am here to spread my car knowledge across the web!

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