Why Do Cars Stall? (11 Reasons Why)

Has your car ever just stopped in the middle of traffic? How about when you’re driving at high speed, and it just hampers? Unfortunately, cars usually stall due to an unexpected idling situation.

Therefore, a car stalling is not what you want to happen on a pleasant evening drive. Here’s what we’ve learned about why cars stall from time to time!

Why Do Cars Stall?

1. Running Out Of Fuel

If you’re driving along and suddenly find yourself unable to start your car, check the gas cap to ensure it’s securely fastened and in good working order.

In addition, you might also want to pull out your emergency kit and look for any signs of leaking or dripping fuel from your vehicle’s tank.

Also, when your car runs out of gas, it will shut down as if the key was never turned on. This is dangerous because your vehicle will stall if you haven’t been able to pull over to a safe spot.

Consequently, when a fuel tank is empty, the engine can stall and refuse to start.

2. Empty Battery

If the battery dies, your car will lose power, and it won’t be able to start up again.

Thus, to prevent this from happening, you need to ensure that your vehicle’s battery is always fully charged.

As a result, if you’ve got an empty battery or have not filled up with the correct amount of fuel, it’s going to be hard for your car to power up and move again.

3. Erroneous Fuel System

When a fuel system component fails, the mixture of air and fuel delivered to the engine differs from what the engine expects, resulting in a stall.

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Additionally, various issues include failing fuel pumps, clogged fuel filters, poor/blocked injectors, low fuel pressure, failed pressure regulators, and even fuel leaks can lead to your car stalling.

Also, if the system fails, your vehicle may not operate properly due to a lack of fuel supply or poor distribution throughout internal components.

Above all, this can cause your engine to overheat and stop working properly, resulting in a stall in your car!

4. Defective EGR Valve

An EGR, also known as the Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve, is an essential component of many modern cars’ emissions control systems.

On the other hand, a stuck EGR valve constantly allows exhaust gasses back into the engine when cold or idling, causing the car to run rough and stall or even not start.

For that reason, defective valves can result in poor performance, rough running, excessive smoke, or engine stalling.

5. Deficient DPF Filter

Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF) are designed to catch and burn off exhaust emission particles, lowering the levels that exit the exhaust.

Furthermore, the most common issue is a clogged DPF filter, usually caused by many short trips that prevent the filter from getting hot enough to perform regeneration.

Consequently, if this filter gets damaged or blocked up with soot particles, your car may start stalling out on you unexpectedly—and without warning!

6. Bad Transmission

Bad Transmission

When your transmission lacks sufficient fluid, it may stall at red lights or stop signs.

At this time, though it should start again, taking your car to a repair shop is critical because your transmission lines may be leaking and need to be replaced.

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Undoubtedly, if your car’s gear shift is difficult to use because of a bad transmission, your vehicle won’t move at all.

7. Engine Overheating

An overheating car can be caused by various factors, including a coolant leak, a clogged radiator, or a stuck thermostat.

Apart from this, the first thing to check is whether your vehicle’s engine is running hot.

Therefore, some cars will stop working, while others will lose power and will not start again until it cools down due to engine overheating.

8. Unreliable Car Immobilizer

A car immobilizer is a technological security device that prevents your vehicle from moving.

However, in many modern cars, the only person who can start the vehicle is the person with the key fob.

If the incorrect key is used, the immobilizer disables your starter motor, ignition, and fuel system. As you might expect, a faulty immobilizer can make your vehicle undrivable.

9. Bad Engine Timing

It is important to make sure that your engine timing is always spot-on to prevent your car from stalling.

Additionally, if your timing is off and you’ve got an older model vehicle with outdated computer software, expect to see some malfunctioning regarding idle speed control and fuel efficiency.

This is why you’re going to experience some malfunction when you try taking off from stop signs or red lights.

Overall, poor engine timing can result in a loss of power and poor acceleration, causing your car to be suspended.

10. Failed Electrical Connections

If you notice that your car suddenly stops after starting up, or if there is hesitation when starting up or accelerating, there’s likely an electrical problem with your wires or other electrical components.

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Once the wiring is faulty or the rotors become clogged, the engine timing can be thrown off. Thus, if the timing is incorrect, the spark plug will misfire.

Finally, the car relies on fuses, relays, and other sensitive circuits to set up and run. When everything fails, your car will not start.

11. Driving Habits

It’s not uncommon for a car to stall due to human error. Unfortunately, it happens to even the most experienced drivers from time to time, especially when driving a new or unfamiliar vehicle.

For that reason, choosing the incorrect gear, not providing enough acceleration, braking without dipping the clutch, and other factors can cause your car to judder to a stop.

Above all, there is nothing wrong with the vehicle, just restart and drive away!

To know more, you can also read our posts on why Saturn went out of business, why electric cars were invented, and why the Chrysler 200 was discontinued.


If you have ever had to drive a car that stalls regularly, you know how frustrating it is. You could be driving along when suddenly, your car stops.

Maybe it’s the battery or the fuel. Perhaps it’s a bad transmission. Sometimes, it’s all of the above.

Ultimately, the good news is that there are many ways to prevent a car from stalling on its own and keep it running smoothly.

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