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Why Would My Car Stall While Driving?

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Broken down gray car parked on the side of the roadIf you have ever been driving your vehicle and felt it suddenly stall, then you know how frightening of a feeling it can be. Whether you drive an automatic or a manual, your car can stall, and there are a few different reasons for this. We've done the research to let you know each of these reasons and what you should do if your car stalls.

The most common reasons your car may stall while driving are:

  • Fuel pump
  • Battery
  • Over-moisturized Gas
  • Alternator
  • Spark plug(s)
  • Wiring
  • Fuel pressure

Keeping reading below as we detail each of these potential problems and answer more common questions regarding stalling. And please remember - no online advice can ever replace the opinion of a qualified mechanic. With any mechanical issue, make sure you call your auto repair shop for advice.

Fuel Pump

One of the most common reasons your car may stall is because the fuel pump is going bad. A fuel pump replacement can cost around $600 to replace. Most of the time they can't be repaired, so a replacement is necessary.

What Happens When A Fuel Pump Goes Out While Driving?

A fuel pump's main function is to take fuel from the gas tank and move it to the engine. When this is no longer functioning as it should, you may feel your vehicle stutter because your engine is not getting the right amount of fuel. In this case, you should be very cautious when continuing the drive because your car may turn off if no gas is reaching the engine.


Car mechanic checking car battery

There is also a good chance your battery is causing your car to stall. You would not think a car battery can cause a car to stall, but typically a bad battery causes a chain reaction. Your alternator has to work extra hard when your battery is not putting out enough power, and that causes the engine to not run properly. The alternator is not designed to supply all the power.

This is a problem you might hope is the case because batteries only cost $70 to $200 to replace depending on what kind you need. There is also a chance you only need to clean off the battery connections. In that case, a professional may do it for even cheaper than $70.

Read more: Will Disconnecting The Car Battery Harm The Computer?

Over-Moisturized Gas

When gasoline has too much moisture in it, the engine will not run properly since it is not getting what it needs. Gas with too much moisture may seem like an odd problem to have, but it can happen in several ways. You can have a loose gas cap, a leaky fuel pump, or you could have just pumped in gas that was not mixed properly. Each of these issues may cause the gas in your tank to be over-moisturized and make your car stall.

If your problem is just pumping bad gas, all you have to do is drain the gas and refill it. If it's a leaky fuel pump, gas cap, or something else, the prices will vary. Either way, this is not a problem to ignore. Take it to a professional so they can properly diagnose your problem.


If your alternator can't supply a steady wave of electricity, then your car will not run well. This may also cause it to stutter or stall. Older vehicles can run without the alternator running smoothly, but cars built in the 21st century rely on electricity it produces for a lot of functions in the vehicle.

Alternators cost anywhere from $300 to $500 to replace, or more depending on your vehicle.

Spark Plug(s)

Faulty spark plugs can also cause a vehicle to stall, especially if the spark plug is flooded. If a vehicle is filled with too much gas, it is in danger flooding and causing a lot of damage to other parts. When a spark plug is flooded, it can be dangerous and cause the car to stall while you're driving down the road.

If this is the case, you might get away with a quick fix. The first thing you should do is drain out the extra gas you pumped into your vehicle and then take it to a mechanic to have your spark plug replaced. Luckily, spark plugs cost little, making this one of the cheaper problems to solve.


Corrosion is one of the first signs that bad wiring may be causing your car to stall. Here, the cost to fix this will all depend on which wires need replacing. This wiring can be connected to the distributor cap or something else. Your best bet is to take it to a mechanic that can determine which wire(s) need replacing.

Fuel Pressure

Your fuel pressure may be the problem if you notice your car stalling when going up or down a hill. Chances are your fuel pressure won't act up if you are coasting along, but when your engine's fuel needs change dramatically, your fuel pressure needs to react fast.

This can be a fairly easy fix and only requires your mechanic to add fuel injector cleaner to your gas tank.

How To Prevent A Manual Car From Stalling

If you've ever ridden in or driven a manual car, chances are you have witnessed someone stall. While driving a manual vehicle takes a while to master, you can learn pretty quickly how to keep it from stalling out on you.

Manual cars have a clutch that you must press yourself. If not done correctly, you may stall out. For this reason, they are much more likely to stall than vehicles with automatic transmissions. To avoid this, make sure you are well educated on how to drive a manual. Also, make sure you take your foot off of the clutch easily and never too quickly. Lastly, watch your engine RPM and ensure you are switching gears at the right time. If you change gears at the wrong RPM, your car may stall.

What Causes A Car To Stop Accelerating While Driving?

Man unscrews the fuel line from the fuel filter to replace it

There are a few things that may be wrong when it comes to your car's acceleration. For one, your fuel filter may be clogged, your timing belt may be worn, or it could be as simple as your parking brake being on.

Many times your sensors may also be the problem. This could include your mass airflow sensor, oxygen sensor, or throttle position sensor. If any of these are faulty, they might be telling your engine something is wrong and preventing it from accelerating properly.

Read more: Car Won’t Accelerate When Pressing The Gas – What Could Be Wrong?

Does Stalling Hurt A Car?

Over time, yes. If you stall your car, it will not do much in the moment. The worst it can do is wear down certain parts faster. So by stalling it a lot over time, you may have to replace some pieces sooner than you otherwise would.

As a disclaimer, stalling your car in the middle of traffic or on a road with other vehicles can be dangerous, as it can cause a wreck. So be aware of the traffic around you if you stall.

In Closing

A stalling vehicle is rarely cause for major concern if you are driving a manual transmission. However, if you stall in an automatic transmission, then chances are you may have something wrong that needs to be diagnosed by a professional. If your vehicle stalls, take it to a mechanic and have it looked at for the safety of yourself and others.