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What To Do If Your Car Starts Then Sputters And Dies?

Every car will bring up faults and problems over some time. The cost of repair varies based on the component, which causes a defect. With the engine being the heart of the car, any fault in this could cost more to repair or replace. So it is necessary to service the vehicle regularly to avoid such expenses. Check for the check engine light. If it blinks then inspect your engine to resolve the problems immediately before it gets worse. But, If your car starts then sputters and dies even though the check engine light is off, then there could be other issues too. Check out this article to know what causes this issue and how to fix them.

What Turns On Check Engine Light?

The check engine light turns on if there is any disturbance to the function of the engine. Minor issues could take time, but significant issues could damage your engine soon. Common reasons like a damaged spark plug, ignition coil failure, vacuum leak, or any sensor failures in the engine will turn on the check engine light. This will slowly reduce the performance of the machine. Every car has an OBD port under the dash near the driver’s seat. Connect an OBD scanner tool to scan for issues in your car system. The tool will show you all the problems in your system. Check every single issue and resolve it. After fixing all the problems, connect your tool again to check if they are resolved. Once all the problems are resolved, the check engine light will turn off automatically.

What Causes An Engine To Sputter And Stall?

Many reasons cause your engine to stall. Sometimes your car starts then sputters and dies. These could be because of the disturbances in the actual function of the machine. Like a damaged spark plug in a petrol engine will cause improper combustion which causes the engine to stall in the middle of driving. A damaged fuel injector in the diesel engine causes similar issues.

Improper air supply for the air-fuel mixture can cause improper combustion, which results in an engine stall. Sometimes your car starts but then dies immediately. In this case, the air in the air-fuel mixture could be either more or less, but it depends.

Other reasons, like a lousy camshaft or cam position sensor, blocked carburetor, damaged ignition coil, a problem in the exhaust gas recirculation valve, or fault of Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor could also cause the engine to stall. With these issues, your car starts but then dies immediately.

How Do You Fix An Engine Sputter?

If your car starts then sputters and dies, then you should inspect the engine and solve the issues soon to avoid major accidents. Repairing a machine is a complicated task, so it is better to leave it to the professionals to take care of it.

1. Replace Spark Plugs

Flawed and damaged spark plugs in a petrol engine will cause an engine stall. The role of the spark plugs is to generate the spark for combustion, and if there is disturbance during the process, then the combustion is incomplete and causes the engine to sputter and then die.

2. Replace Fuel Injector/Sensor

Fuel injectors are found in the diesel engine car. If the fuel injector is damaged or the fuel injector sensor is faulty, then the combustion is incomplete and causes the engine to sputter.

3. Fuel Pump Leak

If there is any leak in the fuel pump, then the ratio of the air-fuel mixtures changes. An improper mixture fed into the engine could cause combustion issues. Incomplete combustion will make the engine sputter and then dies immediately. Replace the fuel pump to stop this issue.

4. Check Air Flow

The Idle Air Control (IAC) valve controls the flow of air into the engine at an idle condition. Also, Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor monitors the airflow into the engine manifold. Any damages to the pipes or the faulty sensors will allow more air into the system, which causes improper mixtures. This leads to incomplete combustion and makes your engine sputter and dies.

5. Replace Carburettor

The carburetor mixes the air and the fuel and sends it into the engine for combustion. Only petrol engines need a carburetor. If there are any blocks in the carburetor or the ratio of mixing is not correct, then the combustion is incomplete. This makes your engine stall. This could happen while you are driving too.  Clean the carburetor or better change it if it is damaged to resolve the issue.

6. Bad Camshaft/Cam Position Sensor

The camshaft opens up the inlet and exhaust vents in the engine, and the cam position sensor controls it. If there is a defective camshaft or a faulty cam position sensor, then it disturbs the opening of ports which in turn affects the function. This can cause your engine to stall. Also, sometimes your car starts then sputters and dies.

7. Replace Engine Control Unit (ECU)

All the sensor in and around the engine sends the signal to the Engine Control Unit (ECU). Sometimes an ECU malfunction could create this issue. Use an OBD scanner to check it. If there is ant malfunction detected, then replace the ECU to solve the problems. Use the OBD tool to check if the problem persists.

8. Hire A Mechanic

These are small common reasons for an engine to sputter and stall. Sometimes your car starts then sputter and dies even while driving. But, an engine is a component with several small parts and sensors. Any part of the machine which affects its function can cause your engine to stall. It is better to hire a professional mechanic to inspect the issue and resolve them immediately.

What Causes A Car To Sputter When Starting?

A blocked fuel filter could prevent fuel from reaching the combustion chambers. If the problem is not corrected immediately, it can lead to further engine damage

Why Does My Car Start Then Die?

The most common reason why your car starts and then dies is because of a lack of fuel in the engine. This does often happen because there is a small amount of fuel in the fuel rail, which helps the engine start, but there is no fuel pressure to keep the engine alive.

What Does It Mean When Your Car Is Spluttering?

A sputtering engine is a cause of concern for many motorists. It could mean that your fuel injectors are clogged and are no longer supplying the right amount of fuel. If the catalytic converter is faulty harmful gases can find their way into the atmosphere.

Why Does My Car Stall When I Start It Up?

Engine stalling is more likely to occur, during cold weather or when starting a cold engine. So, this kind of engine stalling problem often means; the engine is not getting enough fuel and/or too much air. Engine stalling problems can be caused by, almost anything but, are usually sensor-related.

Can Bad Spark Plugs Cause A Car To Stall At Idle?

Dirty or damaged spark plugs can cause the engine to stall at an idle. Like any other component on your car, the spark plugs will deteriorate over time. When they do wear out they won’t be able to provide the combustion of air and fuel mixture needed to start the engine.


These are some common reasons and solutions to stop your engine from sputtering and stalling. Any engine faults if not corrected immediately could end up worst. Engine malfunction can lead to significant accidents if ignored. So have a scheduled service and inspection for your car to avoid these issues. Please do not ignore any caution indications.

I hope you got an idea about why your engine sputters and stalls while driving and how to solve them. To know more about such issues and problems, please follow us. If you have any queries and suggestions, please let us know below in the comment box.