If you are driving down the road and your car suddenly dies while driving, there are a couple of things that can cause that effect. Here are the things to check if your car dies while driving.
Why Does My Car Die While Driving
If your car dies while driving, follow this checklist, and diagnose the reason why your car died while driving. Once you diagnose the problem, it is up to you to calculate the risks whether if you can drive the car to the mechanic or have a tow truck.
1. Your car ran out of fuel
As simple as it sounds, if you run out of fuel, your car will die while driving. That is the first thing that you want to check if your car dies while driving. The reason why I am saying that is you don’t want to try and start your vehicle if you don’t have fuel in it.
In all modern cars, the fuel pump is inside the gas tank. Gasoline actually lubricates the fuel pump by passing through it so the bearings don’t burn out in the fuel pump. So, if you run out of gas and you keep cranking the engine to try to start it while you’re out of gas, the fuel pump will suck air. The bearings on the fuel pump will burn out and some of these fuel pump assembly can cost you over a thousand bucks to replace them.
So, if you are out of gas, don’t keep trying to start the car. Instead, get some more gas and fill it up and go on your way. But, if you do have plenty of gas, here’s the next thing to check.
2. Blown fuel pump fuse
If your car dies while driving, you could have blown the fuel pump fuse. So, you should check that next. It’s always a good idea to have a few spare fuses in your glove box. You don’t need a giant box. You can get a small pack with four or five fuses in them.
The fuse box is usually located in the engine bay, next to the battery. It is covered with a plastic cover that snaps out when you pull it. The manufacturer manual will tell you which fuse is for the fuel pump. Pull it out and check if its blown or not.
A working fuse will have a wire that connects the two small metal plates. If the little wire connecting them is disconnected, the fuse is blown and you will have to insert a new fuse in the same slot that you pulled out the fuse.
3. Check the fan belts
If your car dies while driving, your fan belts could have come off. Open the hood and check the fanbelts to see if any of them came off. For example, if your alternator belt had come off, the alternator will stop charging the battery. You’ll then run out of electricity and the car will stop running.
You could put a spare fan belt in your trunk because it is a cheap but essential car part. If you travel a lot with your car, it’s good to have a small bag in your trunk with stuff like fan belts and fuses.
4. Your engine overheated
If your engine overheats, your car will die while driving. We don’t always pay attention to the dashboard when we drive. If there is something wrong with the cooling system, the engine temperature will rise very fast. If you drive an older model car, you won’t see any warnings on the dashboard.
If your car overheats, you need to cool down the engine fast. If you are on the highway, park on the side of the road safely and open the hood. Don’t turn the engine off. Instead, turn the heater on full blast and let the car run. Once the engine comes to the optimal working temperature, turn off the engine and let it cool down completely. Your car could be low on coolant. You need to wait until the car cools down before you can add coolant or water to the radiator.
If you are wondering why to turn the heater on full blast, here is why. The heater core is a smaller radiator. So, if you run the heater, that helps dissipate any extra heat. As long as your temperature gauge doesn’t get into the H, you can drive the car back to a safe place.
5. Low on engine oil
The last thing to check if your car dies on the road is your oil. You wouldn’t believe how many cars get towed over to the mechanic shop that had run out of oil, because no one ever checked the oil. So, if you’ve been bad and don’t check your oil enough, have two or three quarts in the trunk.
If you do get stuck somewhere and you’re out, you can pour some in. A lot of times the engine will be damaged if you really ran it completely out of oil. But there’s always a little bit left in the sump, and sometimes just putting in two or three quarts, it’ll start up and sound fine and still run.