When you think about what makes an engine work, it’s very similar to starting a fire. To make fire, you need three things: air, a spark, and fuel. Every part of your engine works together to make sure you have these three things to run properly. Once your engine is cut off from any of these three resources, it can begin to fail. We break down the most common causes of a stalled engine so you can diagnose the problem and get your vehicle back on the road.

1. Fuel Issues

With the exception of electric cars, all vehicles need fuel to run. It’s what your engine burns to complete combustion. When your engine stalls, the first thing you should check is the fuel tank. If your fuel gauge says empty, there’s a good chance that’s what caused your engine to stop. If your tank still has fuel in it, then there could be a problem with the fuel system itself. The filter could be broken and contaminate the fuel, or your fuel pump could be worn out, preventing enough fuel from reaching the engine. You could also have low fuel pressure, or your fuel injectors aren’t injecting the right amount of fuel. Any of these issues could be enough to cause your engine to stall.

2. Overheating

There’s a lot of heat running through your engine, which is why it’s important to have systems in place that keep it cool. When these systems fail, your engine can overheat and stall. One of the primary causes of your engine overheating could be issues with your coolant. The water pump that circulates the coolant could be broken, or there could be a leak from a broken head gasket or hose. You may also want to check the radiator to ensure the airflow isn’t blocked, which can also cause your engine to overheat.

3. Lack of Air Flow

Your engine is a closed system, but it still needs airflow to start combustion and keep the system from overheating. The airflow can be affected by dirty air filters. These filters are supposed to filter out contaminants so they don’t end up in the fuel or clog the system, but they can build up over time and prevent air from moving through. There can also be an issue with the airflow sensor, which registers the amount of air in your engine and adjusts your air-to-fuel ratio. When either of these parts fails, it could cause your engine to stall.

4. Improper Ignition

For your engine to combust, it first needs a spark. The parts in your engine that provide the spark are your ignition coil and your spark plugs. When either one of these parts is damaged, it prevents your engine from working properly. It’s like trying to turn on a lamp without plugging it in first. If your engine stalls, you may want to take a look at these parts to ensure they don’t need to be replaced.

5. Bad Sensors

All the parts in your engine work together like a team, each relying on the other to get their part of the job done. Like all good teamwork, these parts require communication. Your engine relies on sensors to relay information efficiently through the vehicle. Some of the sensors in your engine include the mass air flow sensor, intake air temp sensor, coolant sensor, and EGR valve. When any of these parts fail, it can report false information or no information, which can make your engine stall. If your engine stalls, have a mechanic check out your sensors to make sure they’re working right.

6. Low Voltage from the Battery

Your vehicle depends on consistent voltage to keep your systems active. When your engine stalls, it could be due to a drop in that voltage. Your battery and alternator are your vehicle’s two main power sources. When either of these becomes damaged or worn out, that can decrease the voltage to your vehicle and stop your electrical systems, causing your engine to stall. You can try to jumpstart your battery or replace it altogether to get your vehicle running again.

7. Vacuum Lock

Your fuel system is a closed system that starts from the gas tank and extends all the way to your engine. If there is a blockage in this system and the fuel pump is pushing fuel without allowing for proper airflow, it creates a vacuum lock. You can think of it like a straw. When there is something lodged in a straw, it constricts the passageway and doesn’t allow anything else through. With a vacuum lock, it prevents the engine from receiving the necessary fuel, leading to a stall. If there is a blockage, you might want to check a sensor, vent, or filter to see if any of these parts are responsible for it.

It’s Time to Replace Your Engine

If you find yourself frequently experiencing engine stalling or your engine has stalled because of extensive damage, it might be time to consider replacing your engine. We sell quality used engines at low prices, so you can get your vehicle back on the road without breaking the bank. Contact us for a free quote on our used engines or explore our range of used engines available online to find the right match for your vehicle.

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