Common Reasons Your Engine Dies While Driving - Subaru Service Questions in Olympia, WA

A car that dies on the road without warning is more than just a nuisance -- it's a potential safety hazard. And this is a problem that could be caused by a huge variety of things! If your car has been stalling as you drive, you'll want the experts at Hanson Subaru to take a closer look at your vehicle. In our state-of-the-art service center, we have the tools and the know-how to diagnose your vehicle's problem quickly and correctly.

Here on this page, we've compiled a list of three of the most common causes for an engine to die while driving -- but this list is by no means exhaustive. To find out exactly what's wrong with your car, visit the Hanson Subaru service center!

A driver has pulled over and popped the hood, peering inside to see what's gone wrong with his car.

3. Insufficient Intake

If your engine isn't getting enough air, it could die on the road as you drive. The engine needs air to blend with gasoline so that it burns properly in the engine's cylinders. If the intake is blocked in some way, you might find the vehicle stalls at random as you drive. This issue can be caused by a bad mass airflow sensor, a leaking intake hose, bad O2 sensors, even a clogged engine air filter.

As you drive, the forward momentum of your car might help push air into the engine -- but, as you slow down, the car might die as the engine becomes starved for air.

An accessory belt like this one powers things like the alternator, water pump and power steering pump on your car.

2. Faulty Alternator

The alternator is a part under the hood that converts the movement of the engine to usable electricity that recharges your battery. As it recharges the battery, it also helps to provide power for your vehicle's electronics, like the infotainment system, stereo, climate controls and more. Perhaps most importantly, the alternator in modern vehicles is responsible for providing the engine computer with power. Today, a bad alternator can cause the engine to die while driving.

The alternator can go bad internally, or it could develop problems with the pulley and bearings. However, one way the alternator could stop working is due to a failed fan belt. If the belt that drives the alternator slips off, breaks or becomes excessively stretched out, the alternator might stop working.

A fuel pump like this one is what sends gas from the tank to the engine.

1. Low Fuel Pressure

This is by far the most common source of this problem in our experience. As you drive, a pressurized stream of fuel needs to be delivered from the fuel tank located at the back of your vehicle up to the engine. Inside the fuel tank, a fuel pump sends fuel through the fuel lines, through the fuel filter and to the injectors in the engine. There, the injectors add a precise amount of fuel to each cylinder.

If there's a problem with your car's fuel pump, there may not be enough fuel getting to the engine, and it may run poorly and stall as you drive. If the fuel filter is clogged, that can cause fuel pressure problems. Other sources of fuel pressure issues include a bad fuel pressure regulator, leaking fuel lines, damaged or clogged fuel injectors and more.

Because this can be a complex issue to diagnose with a lot of potential causes -- more than we can discuss in a single article -- get help from the experts at Hanson Subaru! Our service center is staffed by factory trained technicians with years of experience working on all the latest Subaru models. We'll get your car running strong once again.

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  1. Hanson Subaru

    2300 Carriage Loop SW
    Olympia, WA 98502

    • Sales : (888) 490-9863

Hanson Subaru

2300 Carriage Loop SW
Directions Olympia, WA 98502

  • Call or Text Sales: 360-943-2120
  • Service: 360-943-2121
  • Parts: 360-943-8531