There are several situations in which engine stalls can occur. You could be driving and the engine stops suddenly, or you can be idling when the engine stalls. This can be very bothersome as well as dangerous. Diagnosing why an engine stalls seems complicated, but all engines work in relatively the same manner. As long as you are driving a standard combustion engine (not a hybrid or full electric) you are lucky because they all share the same basic systems. This article will share with you the three most common causes for engine stalls.
A Damaged/Faulty Sensor or Other Electrical Component
Engines that you are most likely going to be in contact with will rely heavily on electrical sensors in order to work correctly. In the chance that an electrical sensor is not currently working, the computer that is in the engine is not getting the needed information. When this happens, you risk the chance of the engine stalling on you. When a sensor is to blame, the "check engine" light will typically come on to alert you to a problem. In order to possibly fix the problem yourself, pop the hood. Look for as many electrical connections as you can. It is possible that one of these sensors simply became unplugged. In order to fix it, plug the sensor back where it belongs. If that is not the case, a sensor most likely needs to be replaced. You can take the car to an automotive center for a free diagnostic.
Vacuum System Leak
The engine vacuum is a system that gives important information to the engine's computerized management system. Pop the hood and find the vacuum lines. Look at the lines closely for any signs of connections that may have become disconnected. Also take this time to look for wear on the lines as well as cracks. It is always a good idea to look at the vacuum lines while the engine is running. Listen closely for any noises that sound like whistling or hissing. Either of these sounds will indicate a leak in the vacuum lines. Reach around the lines spending time gently moving and touching the hoses. Listen for a change in the sounds. When you find the hose that changes sounds when you move it then you have found the hose with a leak.
Leaks or Obstructions in the Fuel System or Intake
A car needs both air and fuel in order to run. If the car is prevented from taking in either of these, the vehicle will stall. To check if this is the problem, have a friend pump and release the gas pedal. While this is being done, look at the hoses that connect to the air box. Listen for excessive noise in the hoses or for signs of collapsed hoses. Look at all of the connections to ensure that they're all fastened. Also take a look at the air and fuel filters. If they become plugged, the engine can also stall.