Some car issues can erupt from nowhere and mess with your plans completely. For instance, if you start your car – only for it to sputter and die almost immediately, this may be a huge blow if you were rushing somewhere.
Nonetheless, you can try figuring out the issue and try fixing it before proceeding on your journey. Various things can make your car start and stop immediately or after a few minutes. It can be due to a faulty fuel pump & filter, dirty MAF sensor, vacuum leak, engine control challenges, and much more.
Regardless of the issue facing your car, you can fix most of them. But if you can’t pinpoint the problems, get in touch with a mechanic as there can be several causes. Here are some of the reasons and how you can fix them.
Fuel Pump Leak
A major cause of car sputtering and dying is a fuel pump leak. If there is any form of a fuel leak in the fuel pump, there will be several internal combustion issues. This is because the engine needs the ideal mix of air and fuel to start.
Hence, a small leakage in the fuel pump may distract the right air-fuel ratio, which will not reach the combustion chamber. A little fuel leakage will make the car start and then stop almost instantly.
How To Fix It
Unlike other engine parts that normally require replacement when damaged, a fuel pump leak can be fixed easily. You only need to seal the hole(s) where the leak is coming from. Use epoxy to fill the holes.
But if the fuel pump is worn out, you should replace it with a new one.
Bad Fuel Pressure Regulator
If your car sputters and dies suddenly when it is at idle, this is a sign that you’ve got a bad fuel pressure regulator. A fuel pressure regulator is in charge of regulating the pressure of the fuel flowing through the system.
If it fails or gets damaged, the vehicle will start and stall as the engine will react differently. A faulty pressure regulator can lead to an exuberant load-up of fuel, making the engine to stop abruptly.
How To Fix It
If the fuel pressure regulator becomes bad or worn-out, you will have to replace it. Unlike a fuel pump that can be sealed, you will have to buy a new device and replace the faulty one.
Damaged Idle Air Control Valve
Another possible part that may cause the car to start and die is a bad idle air control valve. The work of the idle air control valve is to control and regulate the engine idle speed, increasing and decreasing it as needed to maintain the operating conditions.
Therefore, if the idle air control valve is damaged, your car may throw off the air-fuel mixture, causing the engine to sputter and die. This happens mostly on cold starts.
How To Fix It
Fixing the idle air control valve is easy. First, you should try cleaning it and see if the problem is resolved. If it doesn’t, use a digital multimeter to know if the idle air control valve has an electrical problem.
If that’s the case, then you will have to replace the entire idle air control valve.
The ignition is a crucial part of the combustion chamber. Its function is to create an electric spark in the engine combustion chamber at precisely the right time to help ignite the air-fuel mixture to start the car.
If one of the ignition parts is bad, then your vehicle will start and die suddenly. This is because the spark formed will not be enough to attain full combustion to run the vehicle.
How To Fix It
Inspect the battery and make sure that there is no corrosion on the terminals. If there is corrosion, clean the terminals. Also, make sure that the spark plug wires and ignition coils are in a proper position. If there is any defective part, ensure to replace it.
The function of a carburetor is to mix air and fuel for internal combustion engines in the right air-fuel ratio for combustion. Thus, if the carburetor is damaged, there will be no proper air-fuel mix ratio during cold starts.
This will make the car sputter and have trouble maintaining power, which will cause it to die.
How To Fix It
Inspect the carburetor and see if it’s damaged or dirty. If it is gummed with fuel varnish, stopping it from allowing fuel to flow, as usual, you should clean it using a carburetor cleaner. But if it’s damaged, replace the carburetor or visit a mechanic.
Dirty Maf Sensor
This is one of the most sensitive parts of a car’s engine. If the mass airflow (MAF) sensor is dirty, then it will not work as required. The work of the MAF sensor is to measure the amount of air entering the engine.
However, dirt and oil can build-up over time, which may affect its efficiency. When this happens, the MAF sensor may read an incorrect air measurement, which may throw off the air-fuel ratio.
As a result, the right amount of fuel will not be delivered in the combustion chamber, which will cause the car to start, then die shortly.
How To Fix It
Inspect the MAF sensor and see if it’s dirty. A dirty sensor can be cleaned using a quality MAF sensor cleaner. Nonetheless, you should go ahead and test the sensor and see if it’s okay. If it is damaged or worn-out, replace it with a new one.
Since you know why your car has sputtered and stalled abruptly, you can now go ahead and fix the issue(s). It is vital to identify the problem before making any guess. Correcting any engine issue in time will save you from costly repairs.
So, you shouldn’t ignore the problem even if your car manages to start as the problem won’t go away without you fixing it.
With this post, you can now figure out why your car is sputtering and dying suddenly. Note that some car makes and models are prone to specific problems.
Thus, following a forum of your vehicle make, and model can also help you identify many engine issues. Inspect your car immediately, or have it diagnosed by a professional mechanic to avoid any accident.
With comprehensive experience in writing exceptional quality articles and blogs about cars and related stuff, Daniel is one of the finest bloggers and a hardcore car lover we have. He is an ASE certified technician with an across-the-board experience of 10 years in the industry. He could not help tinkering with anything he got his hands on from a young age, which led to his remarkable career in the automotive repair industry.
When he is not under any hood, you can find him on the water or in the woods to pursue his passion for hunting and fishing. He has been writing for multiple sectors and is a regular contributor to several publications.
He currently owns a Nissan 300ZX TT and a Pearl Yellow but plans to upgrade it to 550 HP. His favorites include the Koenigsegg CCX and Lamborghini Diablo 6.0 VT, but for him, the Ferrari 360 Spider is one of the sexiest cars that exists to date.
Being an avid world traveler, he has spent most of his time analyzing the automotive markets, latest technology, and local favorites to enhance his knowledge base. He is currently living in North Caroline, where it’s all about food and coffee and, of course, cars.