What to Do If Your Car Dies When Put in Drive

February 22, 2024

If you have ever had your car die while driving, it can be very scary. It can also be very confusing as to why the vehicle shut off. Luckily most cars will give you some clues as to what is going on before the engine just shuts off while driving. Most of these clues are shown in the way the vehicle is acting as it starts to stall, idle or while under load. If you know how to listen to your car you can figure out if the problem is in the ignition system, fuel system or sensors that monitor engine performance.

If the vehicle only dies when put in gear this could mean that there is a transmission fluid leak. This is usually accompanied by noises, a burning smell and slow gear engagement.

It could also be that the converter clutch does not disengage as it should when shifting gears. This is usually caused by a mechanical, electrical or computer malfunction. This is a common transmission problem that often times will be fixed by replacing the torque converter solenoid.

The first thing to do if your car dies when you put it in drive is to pull over and stop the vehicle. This will ensure that you and other drivers are safe. It is very important to stay calm and try to think of what the vehicle may be trying to tell you. It is also important to understand that your car will probably not start again if it has run out of oil.


Traffic Dave is on a mission to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.
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