You’re driving along peacefully, just minding your own business and out of nowhere, your vehicle just...stops. Sound familiar? If so, you’re probably downright confused. It was working fine one second, and the next? Just...nothing. At AA Auto Tech, in our decades of practice, we’ve seen this issue play out again and again. In some cases, the problem requires a quick and simple fix. In others, you could be facing extensive repairs or component replacements, depending on the extent of the issue. Below, we’re discussing five of the most common culprits behind sudden stalls and what they mean for your vehicle.


Alternator Failure

Your vehicle’s alternator is responsible for transforming energy from the crankshaft into usable electricity that powers your vehicle’s electrical systems. The alternator also helps the battery maintain a continual charge. Here’s the issue: Since the electrical system essentially controls the overall operation of your vehicle, if the alternator fails, so does the rest of your vehicle. Warning signs you might observe include:


●        Dim or flickering headlights

●        Illuminated dash indicator light

●        Finicky or labored operation of your vehicle’s electrical components, such as power windows, radio, dash lights, and power locks

●        Sluggish starts or frequent stalling


Even if your vehicle hasn’t yet stalled during operation, if you’ve noticed any of the above warning signs, it’s well past time for a vehicle inspection and tuneup. A simple alternator recharge may resolve the issue, but in more severe cases, alternator replacement may be necessary.


Clogged Fuel Pump

You already know your engine needs plenty of fuel to operate, so naturally, if the fuel pump is clogged, it won’t function according to its design. One of the most obvious signs of a failing fuel pump is difficulty starting your vehicle, which you’ll notice long before your vehicle shuts off mid-drive. Less obvious signs of failing fuel pump include:


●        Engine sputtering

●        Poor gas mileage

●        Stalling at high temperatures

●        Surging (sudden increase in speed, despite maintaining constant pressure on the accelerator)

●        Loss of power when the engine is under stress


If you’ve noticed any of the above signs and suspect a fuel pump issue, head to your local auto repair shop for a professional inspection. If the pump is only clogged, a simple cleaning and fuel filter replacement may be all that’s necessary. If, however, the pump is on the verge of failure, you’ll need a full fuel pump replacement.


Crankshaft Position Sensor

If you drive a modern vehicle, it features a crankshaft position sensor, which communicates with your vehicle’s engine regarding the rotational speed and position of the crankshaft. Though that sounds super technical, the sensor’s basic function is to deliver information that tells the engine computer how to adjust fuel delivery and how to time engine operation.


Naturally, if this sensor stops working properly, the engine won’t know what to do with itself. And when the engine doesn’t know what to do, the vehicle stops functioning. To reach a diagnosis, you’ll need to visit your local auto repair shop where a technician can run your engine’s error codes. In some cases, when your vehicle stops running mid-drive, there may be more than one faulty sensor, so you’ll need a code reader to determine which ones are causing the issue.


You Need Fuel

Pretty straightforward, right? If you don’t have enough fuel in your tank, your vehicle won’t run! But what if you just put fuel in the tank and the engine still won’t run? You might be dealing with a faulty fuel gauge, which can display a false reading, despite there being plenty of fuel in the tank.


Here’s where the problem gets confounding: False fuel readings can result from several issues, including wire corrosion, fuel sending unit problems, or a faulty resistor, among others. To avoid continual stalls, have an auto repair technician test the gauge along with your other fuel components to locate the source of the issue. 


Need an Auto Inspection? Contact AA Auto Tech Today

If your vehicle hasn’t been operating as it should, our team at AA Auto Tech is always ready to help. Whether you’re dealing with a faulty fuel gauge, a malfunctioning alternator, a clogged fuel pump, or anything else that may cause your vehicle to stall, we’ll locate the source of the problem, diagnose it, and give you a full rundown of your repair or replacement options. When you need an auto repair shop you can rely on, we’re the team to call.


If you live in or near Hastings, MN, or the Twin Cities metro area, feel free to give our team a call at 651-437-2218 to learn more or to schedule your appointment. You can also reach out to us on our contact page, and we’ll be in touch!