Why Does My Car Keep Cutting Out?

An unexpected breakdown is frustrating and one which leaves you stranded is particularly so.

5 common reasons your car has cut out and what to do to fix it:

  1. Faulty sensors – modern cars have lots of sensors and occasionally these can fail, causing a break in communication to the main computer (ECU). If the ECU is receiving incorrect information or none at all, your car will likely cut out. This is sometimes accompanied by an engine management warning light on your dashboard and this needs diagnostic investigation as soon as possible. Sensor faults can be intermittent so if the warning light on your dashboard is on and off don’t wait for a complete engine cut out – seek advice and investigation as soon as possible.
  2. Faulty fuel/system or pump –engine cut out can be fuel issues, such as a blocked fuel filter or fuel pump failure.
  3. Empty fuel tank/faulty fuel gauge – this seems obvious but sometimes if the fuel gauge is faulty you may have no idea that you are low on fuel. Always make sure that you know your gauge is working and keep an eye on your fuel level, especially when undertaking long journeys.
  4. Alternator issues – this charges your car’s battery whilst the engine is running, essentially turning mechanical energy into electrical energy. So you need a battery in every car, but also an alternator – neither is any good without the other. If your alternator fails your car will cut out.
  5. Faulty ignition switch – this part is located behind the ignition lock when you put your car key. Inside the switch are metal plates that can suffer from rust and corrosion causing them to lose connection. The result of this is a total engine cut out. If there are no lights on your dashboard when the car shuts down, it’s likely you have a faulty ignition switch.
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