If your car starts then dies, there are various causes; technically, anything from the power circuit to the fuel mechanism.
In most situations, the trouble is simple to resolve, and you can restart the vehicle with minimal fuss. However, it is also critical to identify and fix the root reason for the long-term health of your car.
In today’s post, Driverevolve will dissect the 11 most common reasons and best fixes for each scenario!
- Faulty Battery
A typical reason why your engine starts then dies is a dead battery. To function, your vehicle requires the battery’s power.
If your automobile starts but subsequently fails, the problem could be a shortage of recharging or a defective battery. More specifically, it happens when your battery provides sufficient energy to power your vehicle, but the alternator fails to deliver enough electricity to keep it functioning.
Bring your car in for a check or examine it yourself (if you have the expertise) to see if the battery is still working probably; if not, recharging or changing it will fix the issue.
- Lack Of Gas
What if my car starts then dies immediately unless I give it gas?
In this case, it is due to a shortage of gasoline. This is common since a tiny percentage of gas in the gas rail aids in starting the car; however, there is no gasoline supply to maintain the vehicle’s proper operation.
This gasoline shortage is luckily quite simple to spot. To determine the pressure, attach a gas pressure sensor. You can also optimize gas mileage by employing a few fuel-saving gadgets.
Solution? Just supply more gasoline!
- Defective Spark Plugs
Spark plugs generate the sparks required for your car to burn gas. One of the primary triggers of a difficult-to-start vehicle is dirty or faulty spark plugs.
The power supply mandated to generate the sparks and combust the gasoline skyrockets when your electrode deteriorates. And this might necessitate cranking your vehicle for a long time before it gets going.
If your spark plugs are defective, fuel combustion will struggle, and your vehicle will start briefly before shutting down. This is why it is critical to understand the signs of a faulty spark plug.
Get your car serviced to identify spark plug problems (this might include oil in spark plug wells!).
- Anti-theft Alarm System
Another frequent source of cars starting and dying after a couple of seconds is an issue with your car security device. Once your anti-theft device is turned on, the vehicle does not deliver power to the gas piston; however, it still induces minimal gas pressure in the supply line. This will activate the car for 1 or 2 secs but not for long.
Once you power the engine, the key icon on your vehicle’s center console indicator light should disappear. If not, lock and unlock the vehicle to reconfigure it. If it remains, your automobile key might malfunction, requiring experts’ help.
- Malfunctioning Fuel Pump
Fuel pumps introduce high-pressure gasoline to the combustion process. These fuel pumps’ duty is to monitor and control the amount of gas that reaches the combustor.
If a fuel pump stops working, your engine may operate with fewer valves, and, if one is locked open, it reduces gasoline pressure. This eventually leads to your car starting but failing immediately.
While revving, try feeling the fuel pumps using your hand to check if they click not, one of them might be defective and need a replacement. Furthermore, keep an eye out for the signs of a poor fuel pump before it totally fails.
- Jammed Fuel Filter
An obstructed fuel filter can make starting your car challenging. It eliminates impurities and thus gets jammed over time, causing your pumps to run out of gas. See all the signs of a clogged fuel filter, check it yourself, and see whether the problem lies there. If yes, schedule a service.
- Bad Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Valve
The EGR valve regulates the emissions that must be recirculated into the motor. Excessive air could enter the intake pipe if your EGR piston is jammed open.
This can cause the fuel combination to become too lean, resulting in your automobile starts then dying within a couple of minutes.
- Defective Engine Control Unit (ECU)
The ECU is your vehicle’s CPU. It regulates motor operations such as the gas pump. A vehicle dies after being turned on because it requires gasoline to work, and any fault in the ECU causes the motor to start and then die.
The ECU regulates electrical parts via a network of sensors. Those devices get defective over time and send inaccurate data to the ECU. In this situation, you must bring your vehicle to a garage.
- Dirty Or Malfunctioning MAF Detector
A MAF, a mass air flow detector, is a responsive device that gauges the volume of air accessing your automobile’s motor.
Any dust and oil accumulation through your motor air filter might quickly contaminate this detector. A dirty MAF detector will often interpret inaccurate air readings, causing the fuel-air proportion to be wrong and your vehicle to die seconds after being turned on.
To resolve the problem, clean your MAF detector using a specialized MAF cleaning device. If this fails, you may need to install a new one.
- Vacuum Leak
A vacuum leak arises if there is an opening within your air intake mechanism behind the MAF detector of a vehicle.
Because of the leakage, your vehicle acquires unmetered air that doesn’t pass through your MAF, causing the required fuel-air proportion to be altered and your automobile to run lean.
- Faulty Carburetor
Your carburetor is an integral part of the inner combustion system in older models that do not use automated fuel pumping. This gadget properly mixes air and gasoline for burning.
A defective, broken, or dirty carburetor will most probably mess up your air and fuel percentage, forcing your vehicle to die after starting. You can use a carburetor cleaning product to sweep all the grimes, revive it with a package, or change it with a brand-new carburetor.
Although in most cases, you can restart your vehicle to fix the “my car starts then dies” problem, it’s advisable to look for the root cause. Most of the time, the culprit won’t leave severe consequences right away but will ruin your engine system heavily over time. Thus, you’d better deal with it sooner than later.
For more car-related advice and tips, refer to our Fun Driving section.
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