What Makes A Car Start And Die?

Have you experienced that frustrating moment when your vehicle just suddenly shuts down; and you don’t know what’s happening? Sometimes, this can be very annoying and confusing for many drivers especially when you are experiencing it the first time. This is why it is important, as drivers, to be able to diagnose your vehicle, because while some associate this to lack of gasoline or fuel problem, this can also be caused by an issue in your electrical system.


Read through and find out what are the possible causes of this immediate shutdown and what can you do about it.

Familiarizing the System

When you start your vehicle, it is the electrical system that turns the engine over. It is because your electrical system is composed of your battery and starter. To be able to run your vehicle, the engine needs a constant flow of gasoline as well as a consistent and real spark that consistently ignites the fuel being given. So in starting your engine, it is important to provide, consistently, a fuel and a spark. Without these two, the engine will quit.

Another thing to consider when experiencing the same problem is that modern technology affects vehicles and its performance. Many of today’s vehicles are aided with sophisticated computers to run. These help the vehicles to run efficiently, but it can also affect the vehicle in negative ways.

While what mentioned above is true, there can also be other related factors that may be affecting your vehicle resulting to your engine quitting.

3 Primary Causes and How to Deal With

EachThe issues that involve your electrical systems and fuel management may get worse when ignored and not taken care of immediately. Paying attention to these problems and diagnosing symptoms such as warning lights may help you to prevent further damage to your vehicle. So pay attention to the possible causes of this problem.


Mass airflow sensor is the one that measures the amount of air that enters into your engine. After measuring, MAF relays this information to the car’s computer to be able to provide the correct amount of fuel through fuel injectors. An issue in Mass Airflow Sensor typically deals with your MAS failure, characterized as being not able to read correctly the amount of air needed that results in generating an error code. This error code is what notifies you that something is not right. You can notice this issue when you begin to start your car, but it ends up stalling even after having it started on.

What can be the symptoms of a bad and faulty MAF?

One of the easiest ways in knowing what the problem is by checking your engine light. Engine light is the most trusted symptom of a bad mass air flow on the material panel. However, this light is also associated with other problems and component’s issues, so it is also advised to analyze if the light is caused by faulty MAF.

A faulty MAF doesn’t just make your vehicle to stall when started. It also creates a variety of car problems such as vehicle shuddering, low gas mileage, pinging and low gas mileage. A car MAF are cheap to replace, so there is no much worry about the costs.

What causes a faulty MAF?

A bad performance of MAF can be caused by accumulated dirt. The reason for this is small particles would be sent through, even though the air is filtered. This would eventually accumulate on the sensor, causing some problems. When dirt is the cause, you don’t need to buy another MAF and replace it. Cleaning it would be the best and cheapest method to do.

How to clean it?

This component is mounted to the air cleaner box of your vehicle and is connected to the computer through the wiring harness. Eliminating the wiring harness and the bolts would unlock the whole MAF from the system, allowing you to open the whole MAF sensor device. A device is a small unit that is composed of dual wires.

The best method of cleaning these wires is to spray them with an MAF cleaner or any electrical contact cleaner and letting them dry up after. When the device has already dried up, you can now immediately reinstall the device, start the engine again, and tada! You are back on track again.


Ignition coil functions to take the low voltage of the battery and also gives the volts required in producing a spark in your spark plug. When there is a failure in your ignition coil, this might result in it being not able to provide the needed spark by the plugs. This causes the engine to stall even after starting. This might result in a vehicle not starting at all.

What are the symptoms?

There are varieties of symptoms that can be caused by a faulty ignition coil. Some of these are when your engine misfires, idles, or loses power when turned on as well as loses acceleration when running and reduces gas mileage. This is because when you have a bad ignition coil, this can affect the total engine performance.

Another symptom is when you see you engine light turns on or CEL (Check Engine Light). However, it is important to take note that this can be caused by varieties of issues, so it is better if you do not jump into conclusions and double check the problem and the source.

Another symptom is the problem we always encounter – car not starting. Vehicles use one ignition coil as the source of spark for all cylinders, and a bad ignition coil affects this performance. If the coil is totally ruined, this will result into no spark generated at all.

How to Fix it?

Step1: Disconnect the battery

Step2: Remove the Ignition Coil

Step 3: Apply Dielectric Compound on the rubber boots or the bottom of the new replacement ignition coil.

Step 4: Install the new ignition coil

Step 5: Apply the appropriate torque to secure the coil bolts

Step 6: Reconnect the negative terminal cable to the car battery

Step 7: Start the Engine and check if the cylinders are firing properly


The fuel pump relay job is almost similar to a fuse for an electric fuel pump. Your fuel pump relay starts its work the moment you start your engine and when the fuel pump has begun working too. This turns off when the vehicle is now running to be able to power the fuel pump by the oil pressure sending unit. If there is a problem in your fuel pump relay and this causes the fuel pump relay to stop working, your vehicle may work the moment you turn it on, but it would immediately stop after.

What are the symptoms?

One of the apparent symptoms is when your engine stalls after starting your engine. More, if your car has come full stop even when it is fueled, then there is a big chance that it is caused by a problem in the fuel pump relay.

Another symptom is when your engine stops or does not start at all. If the fuel pump relay were faulty, then it would have no power that it needs to operate. You may also notice that the engine may crank when you turn the key on. However, it will never start. You also have to know that this symptom can be caused by the variety of issues, so it is greatly advised that you check first if what is the problem before deciding into changing parts of your vehicle.

Another symptom is when there is no noise of fuel pump when you turn the key on. When activated, it produces a low volume whine that is audible enough for you. You hear nothing because no power is generated to the fuel pump so even if the ignition is on, there is real silence. When experience this, this might be caused by a faulty fuel pump relay.

How to fix it?

Step 1: Find the device. The majority of the fuel pump relay is located in the fuse panel. This looks like a small plastic box with 4-5 electrical terminals.

Step 2: Remove the device but do not break the connecting tabs and the cover.

Step 3: Set up Multi-meter or Ohmmeter

Step 4: Test the Fuel Pump Relay. You would want to use a 12V battery regulator. Only connect the ground connection on the power supply to the ground pin on the relay.

So here are the three possible reasons why your car stops and what to do about it. Remember that before deciding to change car’s parts, double check to find out the right source of the problem. Again here are the following general procedure you need to take note:

• Check the source of the problem• Double check

• Test your vehicle for appropriate solution given above

• If still doesn’t work, you can always rely on a professional technician

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About the Author Chris Lawrence

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