ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Autos»
  • Car Care & Maintenance

Help! My Car Stalls While Driving

Updated on June 27, 2013

Car Stalls While Driving

The first time your car stalls while driving can be a scary experience. I've personally been in dozens of different cars that have stalled while driving, and it's not a fun experience. Let's first talk about why a car stalls out in general, and then we'll get into some more detail about specific reasons your car might be stalling. Think of this word picture. A car engine is like the pedals of a bike, only most engines have 4 pedals instead of 2. If you're riding a bike, you have to be moving at a certain speed in order to stay on the bike. If you're going too slow, the bike won't stay upright and you'll fall off. Think of this minimum cruising speed as idling. With an engine, in order for it to stay on, it has to idle with a certain amount of power. If something happens to cause the power to diminish slightly, the engine will begin to shake. The idle of an engine is usually set to barely the minimum power to keep the engine on and running. Why is that? The main reason is to save you money on gas when you're stopped at red lights. If the idle were set higher, and it can be set higher, you'd just waste more gas when stopped.

Reasons Why a Car Stalls While Driving

There are a number of reasons why a car might stall while driving. In almost all cases, it's due to a lack of power while the car is at idle.

  1. Water and/or Oil in the Combustion Chamber -- Your combustion chamber is where your spark plugs ignite and your pistons fire. Ordinarily, the only compounds present are oxygen and gas. These combine to create the fuel we burn for combustion. But because an engine runs hot, oil is needed to lubricate the pistons as they move up and down, and water/coolant is needed to keep the engine cool as the pistons are firing. The only thing keeping the water and oil out of the combustion chamber are seals. These seals can wear out over time and can begin to leak other fluids into the combustion chamber. When this happens, you might start to lose power because the fuel you're burning is being watered down. This can cause mild shaking and stalling, and can lead to misfiring pistons.
  2. Misfiring Pistons -- If the leak into the combustion chamber is severe enough, you might experience a misfire, which is what happens when the fuel won't ignite and the piston won't fire. If this happens, you'll experience a big power loss, and your check engine light will generally come on. If your car is shaking at idle, has a lack of power while driving, and your check engine light has come on, it generally means that one or more of your cylinders isn't firing. This can be a simple fix or an expensive one depending on what's causing it. Seal leaks and blown head gaskets are the most common causes of misfiring. Seals we've already talked about. The head gasket is what keeps the water/coolant from entering the combustion chamber. If you have a blown head gasket, you'll definitely experience these symptoms, and there should probably be a bit of white smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe. This is the water/coolant being burned.
  3. Lack of Compression -- This is a more rare cause of stalling. What is compression? Compression is what happens when a piston pushes back up after firing. When fuel is sprayed into the combustion chamber, the piston compresses it to get it all tightly packed into a small area. That way, when the spark plug fires, it'll explode more powerfully and give the maximum bang for your buck. If you have a compression problem, it will lead to lack of power, shaking and stalling while driving. It's more rare, but it can happen.
  4. Combination of Factors -- If your car shakes and stalls while driving, it could be a combination of factors. If your air filter is clogged, you're leaking a little bit of oil and/or water into your combustion chamber, and your spark plugs are old, you'll experience a lack of power from a number of different sources. If this is the case, you'll want to get a standard tuneup, which will consist of changing your spark plugs, cleaning or replacing your air filter, and a number of other things that will lead to higher performance and more power.
  5. Exhaust System Clogging -- Your exhaust system is fairly basic, but there are a few points at which it can clog up. If your exhaust system gets clogged up, it can't pass exhaust away from the combustion chamber efficiently and can lead to shaking and stalling while driving. There are a handful of places where a clog can occur in an exhaust system. One is your catalytic converter. Another is in the initial exhaust manifold. If you're experiencing and exhaust system clog, your check engine light will generally come on to let you know there's a serious problem.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • rustedmemory profile image

      David Hamilton 3 years ago from Lexington, KY

      Good to know. I hate when my car (usually a clunker) stalls in traffic.

      It is embarrassing!

    • profile image

      Manuel 4 years ago

      Cheers pal. I do appicerate the writing.

    • profile image

      Yliana 4 years ago

      I believe my plan from pvsergosire runs in 6 month increments.Just get a plan where you pay monthly, and cancel it when you will no longer use it.BTW a lot of people do it but in most states you can get in a LOT of legal trouble if you are caught even lose your license. Even if you aren't required by the state to have insurance, if you do get in an accident the other person could sue you for damages. So your parents are doing you a favor!

    • Benjimester profile image
      Author

      Benji Mester 4 years ago from San Diego, California

      Thanks! Glad you liked it.

    • jabelufiroz profile image

      Firoz 4 years ago from India

      Impressive article on car stalls. Keep sharing.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)