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My Jeep Shuts Off While Driving & Won’t Start Back Up – Why? What To Do?

A seemingly comfortable drive with your Jeep turns into a cumbersome experience when it shuts off suddenly. Now, the vehicle won’t start back up. Why did this problem appear? Also, what can you do to fix it? We researched these questions and have the answers below!

A Jeep shutting off while you're driving may encounter different faults. Some possible suspects of this problem include a dead battery or a bad airflow sensor.

Make sure to troubleshoot your vehicle to know the cause of the issue. Then, you can use the appropriate solution based on your findings.

Before you continue reading, let us say we hope you find the links here useful. If you purchase something through a link on this page, we may get a commission, so thank you!

So keep reading as we explore the different possible reasons why your Jeep’s engine is turned off while you’re driving. Read each section as we also tackle each reason’s potential solution. With that said, let's dive right in!

open hood of Jeep Wrangler car vehicle wont start, My Jeep Shuts Off While Driving & Won't Start Back Up - Why? What To Do?

3 Reasons Jeep Shuts Off While Driving (And Their Possible Fixes)

Dead Battery

Generally, a Jeep’s battery should last about 3 to 5 years. But its lifespan often depends on factors like usage and your location’s climate.

Nonetheless, your Jeep will shut off while driving or idling if the battery loses its charge.

How To Fix

Replacing the old battery with a new model should restore your Jeep’s normal functions. Follow these general steps to complete this task:

What You’ll Need
  • Ratchet and socket
  • Replacement car battery

Jeep Cherokee car on the middle of the snow terrain

Step-By-Step Guide
  1. Engage the Jeep’s hand or parking brake.
  2. Open the hood when it’s safe to touch.
  3. Remove the negative battery cable from its terminal.
  4. Remove the positive battery cable from its terminal.
  5. Lift the old battery from its mount and set it aside or dispose of it properly.
  6. Install the new battery to the same location and orientation as the old unit.
  7. Return and secure the positive battery cable to the positive terminal.
  8. Return and secure the negative battery cable to the negative terminal.
  9. Test the Jeep to see if it can start by igniting its engine.

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Warning: Don’t replace your Jeep’s battery with a random unit. Doing so may put the vehicle in additional harm. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual to ensure you’re installing the correct battery.

You can also watch the video below for a visual representation of the steps mentioned above:

At this point, you might also run into another problem wherein your car’s horn won’t work.

Read our post on what could be wrong if your vehicle’s horn doesn’t work after a battery change to gain additional insight into this matter.

Bad Airflow Sensor

Also called a mass airflow sensor, this component helps vehicles, including different Jeep models and their engines, use the correct air-fuel mixture.

A bad airflow sensor may stall your Jeep’s engine and prevent it from starting as intended.

car mass air flow sensor engine

How To Fix

Your Jeep’s mass airflow sensor might have a blockage. If so, cleaning it may restore its normal functions. So here are the general steps to help you complete this task:

What You’ll Need
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Mass airflow sensor cleaner
Step-By-Step Guide
  1. Move your Jeep to a safe location with flat and level ground. You may need to push it if needed.
  2. Engage the vehicle’s hand or parking brake.
  3. Open the hood when it’s reasonably cool.
  4. Find the mass airflow sensor’s location and take note of it.
  5. Remove the screws securing the mass airflow sensor.
  6. Pull out the mass airflow sensor carefully. Disconnect it from its wiring afterward.
  7. Apply the mass airflow sensor cleaner in and around the component.
  8. Reconnect the sensor’s wiring and return the part to its original location.
  9. Test the Jeep to see if it can turn on by turning the ignition key or pressing the Start/Stop button.

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Warning: Don’t use other cleaning solutions other than a mass airflow sensor cleaner.

Avoid using substances like WD-40, liquid detergents, or other cleaners, as these products may damage the sensor.

Note: If cleaning your Jeep’s mass airflow sensor returned with little to no results, replacing this component may yield a better outcome.

See this replacement Jeep Liberty mass airflow sensor on Amazon.

Watch this video to see a visual guide for this procedure:

Faulty Alternator

Alternators are essential assemblies in vehicles, including Jeeps. These components help keep vehicles running, particularly when driving or idling.

That also means a faulty alternator may prevent your Jeep’s engine from turning over after suddenly stopping.

You may know that your Jeep’s alternator is about to fail if the vehicle experiences symptoms like:

  • Headlights dimming
  • Frequent engine stalls
  • The smell of burning rubber
  • Persistent check engine light
  • Poor response and performance from accessories

How To Fix

Replacing the alternator might be the best solution to help ensure you can drive your Jeep again. But note that changing this assembly often requires sufficient automotive care and repair know-how.

Request assistance from certified technicians if you believe you can't handle this task using DIY methods. 

Nonetheless, here are the steps to replace this assembly in your Jeep to give you an idea of how to complete this job:

What You’ll Need
  • Ratchet and socket set
  • Standard wrench set
  • Screwdrivers
  • Extension bar
  • Replacement alternator
Step-By-Step Guide
  1. Move or push your Jeep to a safe parking site with flat and level ground.
  2. Engage the vehicle’s hand or parking brake. Chock the wheels afterward.
  3. Open the hood when it’s safe to touch.
  4. Lift the engine cover and set it aside temporarily.
  5. Disconnect the negative battery cable from its terminal.
  6. Loosen the air filter housing. Then, separate the connected duct from its cover.
  7. Slide the air filter cover and lift it out of the hood. Remove the filter from its housing afterward.
  8. Loosen and remove the bolts securing the filter in the fresh air inlet duct.
  9. Remove the air filter from the fresh air inlet.
  10. Place a wrench on the tensioner pulley and rotate it counterclockwise to loosen its belt.
  11. Remove the tensioner belt afterward.
  12. Raise the Jeep with a floor jack and support the setup with jack stands.
  13. Loosen and remove all the screws underneath the engine cover.
  14. Loosen the air compressor condenser mounting bolts.
  15. Loosen and remove the old alternator’s mounting bolts.
  16. Detach the battery cable from the old alternator. Pull out the assembly afterward.
  17. Install the new alternator while paying attention to its orientation.
  18. Go through this procedure in reverse order to reinstall the parts you removed.
  19. Test the Jeep to see if it now works as intended.

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Warning: Be careful when handling some parts of your Jeep’s engine while doing this process. Take the time to remove and reconnect components to avoid harming them further.

Watch the video below for additional insights into this alternator replacement job:

How Do You Check A Jeep Engine That Won’t Start?

Jeep Wrangler open hood engine display old dusty

Following proper troubleshooting guidelines may help you discover why your Jeep’s engine shut off sooner rather than later.

Here are some ways to check your Jeep for faults:

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Open the Jeep’s hood and check the battery for signs of corrosion.
  2. Remove corrosion from the battery’s terminals if found.
  3. Inspect the battery's wires if they're loose and reconnect them if needed.
  4. Investigate the engine block for signs of cracks, gaps, and other noticeable damages.
  5. Check for leaks using a smoke machine.

View this smoke machine leak detector kit on Amazon.

Note: You can stop at any time while troubleshooting as soon as you find the source of the issue.

Is It Expensive To Fix A Jeep?

Jeep wrangler on the middle of the farm road wont start broken

It may not be expensive to repair a Jeep’s problem compared to other vehicles.

In particular, expect to pay about $634 in annual Jeep repair costs. In comparison, some car owners may need to spend about $1,986 for their vehicles’ yearly maintenance and repair fees.

Take note that the charges associated with repairing a vehicle often depend on different factors. Some repair jobs might be more expensive than others.

Here are some of the costliest vehicle repairs for your reference:

  • Air conditioner compressor replacement
  • Head gasket replacement
  • Transmission system repairs
  • Airbag replacement
  • Engine block replacement

Final Thoughts

open hood of Jeep Wrangler car vehicle wont start

Remember to stay safe before troubleshooting and repairing your Jeep’s engine that turned off suddenly. Then, find the source of the problem and use the appropriate DIY solutions based on your findings. Otherwise, you may request expert help from industry professionals.

Need more Jeep help? Check out these related posts below!

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How To Reset A Service 4WD Light In A Jeep Grand Cherokee [Step By Step Guide]