Why Your Car Stalls When Put in Drive

February 16, 2024

When your car engine dies or “stalls” while you’re driving it can be one of the most frightening experiences you have as a driver. Stalling while you’re in motion puts you, your passengers and other drivers on the road at risk, so it’s important to understand what can cause your car to stall while in drive and how to handle it correctly if this happens to you.

1. Mechanics Issues - If your car stalls while you’re driving and you know it isn’t due to your driving skills, there may be an underlying mechanical problem that needs professional help. This can include anything from a bad clutch on a manual transmission vehicle to a malfunctioning torque converter in an automatic transmission vehicle.

2. Spark Plug Issues - Bad spark plugs can lead to misfiring, which is another common cause of engine stalling while you’re driving. If your car is stalling frequently and you suspect your spark plugs are wearing out, they may need to be replaced.

3. Fuel System Problems - Fuel system issues can also cause your car to stall when you put it in drive. These can include problems with the fuel pump, a dead alternator, a bad coolant sensor or even a clogged fuel filter. If you notice that your car stalls when you put it in gear, these are all worth investigating.

If your car stalls while you’re in motion, it’s important to turn on the hazard lights and pull over when it’s safe to do so. This will alert other drivers to your situation and can help prevent accidents or collisions. Then, after a few seconds, you can safely start your car again and get back to driving.


Traffic Dave is on a mission to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram