What Causes My Car to Die While Driving?

One common reason a car dies while driving is a bad fuel filter. Filters require replacement approximately every 30,000 miles, according to Chilton. Without replacement, debris and varnishes from the fuel tank eventually stop the flow of fuel, causing the engine to stall.

If the car’s fuel pump stops working, the vehicle is unable to pump fuel from the gas tank to the engine, so it sputters and dies. Moving the vehicle to a quiet environment and turning the key to the on position without starting allows the owner to listen for the click or hum of the fuel pump. If there is no noise, the electric fuel pump is likely defective.

The ignition switch on a car is also the kill switch. In addition to causing problems with starting, a bad switch is often the reason the car dies. If it does not allow electrical power to travel to the vehicle, it dies. According to Consumer Reports, General Motors is recalling 1.6 million vehicles due to this issue in 2014.

Sometimes, vehicles die but start again, allowing the driver to continue his trip. Other times, they die and do not start again. If the car starts to misfire or gives indications that it is about to die, drivers should look for a safe place to pull the vehicle out of traffic. Consumer Reports advises drivers to turn on the car’s hazard lights to help warn other drivers of a problem and to summon help.