Things to Know if Your Vehicle Stops Running

When a car stalls and dies as you drive, it can throw a huge wrench in the day's plans. After all, you count on your car for reliable transportation to work, school and all the day's errands and appointments. Once your car stalls, making it those things suddenly seems impossible.

Bring your struggling Subaru to the Carlsen Subaru service department! If it's stalling as you drive, we'll diagnose the problem and fix it using quality parts installed by factory-trained experts. On this page below, you'll find five of the most common reasons a car might suddenly stall. Educate yourself here, then give us a call with any questions you might have, or to schedule an appointment with a service advisor.

Every car stops sometime and the professional from Carlsen Subaru are ready to help!

Reason 1: The Fuel System

We won't insult your intelligence by bothering to remind you that your car needs fuel to run. But if for any reason gasoline isn't making it to the engine, that is sure to cause your vehicle to stall.

One reason this could happen is the gas tank simply running out of gas - but other culprits also exist. The fuel pressure regulator may have gone bad. Or, a bad fuel pump can burn out if the fuel level in your tank gets too low, or the motor inside can simply burn out over time. If the fuel pump isn't pumping sufficient fuel to the engine, the engine will misfire and stall. This can also be caused by something as simple as a clogged fuel filter. Be sure to have the fuel filter replaced regularly, according to the guidelines outlined in your owner's manual.

Our certified Subaru Service professionals at Carlsen Subaru can install a new starter, battery, or alternator for you!

Reason 2: Insufficient Air Intake

You'll have the opposite problem if your engine isn't getting enough air. The fuel mixture in the engine will be too rich to combust properly, and the engine will die.

If your car stalls when you come to a stop, it could simply be a dirty air filter. The air filter may have become so clogged that not enough air can pass through it to the engine. As you drive, the forward speed of your vehicle forces more air past the filter and into the engine - but when you come to a stop, the engine stalls due to air starvation.

An air starvation problem in your engine could also be caused by a mass airflow sensor. Luckily, these are two of the most common reasons a car will stall, and they're easily fixed.

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Reason 3: Blown Fuses

Either the fuel system or the air intake could have problems if a blown fuse stops the flow of electricity to where it needs to go. For example, a blown fuel pump fuse means a perfectly good fuel pump will stop working - and you'll have the same problem on your hands that we described in reason #1 above.

Replacing a blown fuse is easy! But if an electrical short present in the system caused the fuse to blow, you may need to have a professional take a close look at the wiring in your car to find the underlying problem.

Reason 4: Alternator Problems

Your vehicle's battery holds a charge that is used to start the car when you turn the ignition. Once the engine has started, the alternator uses power generated by the engine to recharge the battery.

If the alternator goes bad, your car will be running on battery power alone until the engine dies. Alternators can burn out over time, but they're also typically driven by drive belts. If the drive belt has slipped off or become loose, the alternator might stop working. It's worth it to check the alternator pulley and belt if you car suddenly dies on the road and won't start up again.

Reason 5: Transmission Problems

A car that stalls isn't necessarily the end of the world - after all, is there anyone who drives a manual that hasn't caused their car to stall out when learning how to operate a stick? Manual transmission cars that stall due to operator error of the clutch are probably running fine. You'll just need a little more practice.

An automatic transmission can also cause a car to stall, but that's a much bigger problem. If the torque converter isn't engaging and disengaging correctly, or if the automatic transmission fluid is old or leaking, the transmission could slip and cause your car to stall. You sense that the automatic transmission doesn't seem to want to go into gear. In this case, you might be looking at significant transmission work.

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Carlsen Subaru

480 Veterans Blvd
Directions Redwood City, CA 94063

  • Sales: 650-365-6390
  • Service : 650-365-6390
  • Parts: 650-365-6390
  1. Carlsen Subaru

    480 Veterans Blvd
    Redwood City, CA 94063

    • Sales: (888) 520-5916