My Car Turns Off And On While Driving — Now What?

If your car is turning on and off while driving, that could indicate some serious malfunctions going on. WeBuyTotaledCars explains what some of those malfunctions can be, what they mean for you and what your options are if your car's not staying on when it should be.

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Your car suddenly turning off while you're driving can be a frustrating experience at best and a terrifying one at its worst. Even if it turns back on and everything seems normal, can you really trust that your vehicle is in good shape?

Why Did My Car Turn Off While Driving?

car turning on and off while driving

When your car turns off while driving, you’re bound to experience an onslaught of emotions. Chief amongst them is “why did my car turn off while driving?” Fortunately, there are common causes behind this vehicular headache.

What Causes A Car To Turn Off While Driving?

  1. Faulty Crankshaft Position Sensor - One of the most common causes behind why a car keeps turning off while driving is a bad crankshaft position sensor. Throughout most car models, the crankshaft is required for your engine to run.

    A critical mechanism to your engine’s performance, it monitors the moving components of the engine, including the engine valves and pistons. By tracking the crankshaft’s location and velocity, it determines the best time for fuel injection and ignition.

    Faulty crankshaft position sensors are typically identified by a lit check engine light. It can also manifest as poor fuel efficiency and a rough running engine that might misfire before stalling out in the middle of your drive.

  2. Faulty Fuel Supply System Or Fuel Pump - The fuel pump directs the correct amount of fuel to the engine. Should it malfunction and not provide the right amount of fuel, the engine’s motor will shut off.

    Your fuel supply system could also be suffering from a clog. Your fuel filter being clogged can infringe on the fuel pump’s ability to get enough fuel pumped through it and, therefore, mess up the engine’s ability to produce power.

    A faulty gas gauge can also read “F” when your vehicle has an empty tank. This is caused by a sending unit failure.

  3. Battery And Charging System Problems - Your battery and charging system provide the juice for the entirety of your car’s electronics. Even a loose battery cable or a faulty alternator could cause stop-starts while driving.

  4. Faulty Engine Control Unit - A messed up Engine Control Unity (ECU) can result in drops in power, fuel efficiency, and sudden spark loss. The ECU itself receives information from various parts of your engine in order to ensure efficiency.

    A lit “Check Engine Light” is your ECU communicating an issue within your engine to you. Unfortunately, determining if your ECU is faulty isn’t something easily done and likely requires professional assistance.

  5. Defective Ignition Switch - Your vehicle’s ignition switch is installed directly behind the ignition lock and gets turned when you turn your key to start the car. Inside, the ignition switch has tiny metallic plates that can rust over time.

    One of these plates may lose connection, resulting in the entire ignition getting switched off. The ignition relay can also go bad and cause the mechanism regulating the amount of electricity traveling through them to stop working.

    The end result? Your car turning off while driving.

My Car Turned Off While Driving, What Should I Do?

If your car shuts off and on while you’re driving, your primary concern should be your safety as well as the safety of other drivers. Four steps to take when faced with a car that turns off and on while driving are:

  • Guide your car to the side of the road.

  • Attempt to restart the car.

  • Turn on your emergency signals.

  • Call for help.

Unfortunately, your car turning off and on while driving isn’t just a characteristic you can ignore and go about your day. It’s going to require a professional inspection before you can get to the bottom of your vehicle’s woes.

How Much Would It Cost To Stop My Car From Shutting Off While Driving?

woman in car distressed car turns off while driving

The most common culprit behind your car’s power incontinence is a faulty crankshaft. Replacing one of these can typically cost between $2,000 and $2,750 with labor accounted for. It is a labor intensive process, so a hefty price tag is expected.

A bad engine control unit can run you anywhere between $800 and $1,500 to replace, while a bad battery and charging system can be $250-$1,000 to fix.

WeBuyTotaledCars Buys Cars That Turn Off While You’re Driving

Fixing whatever’s behind your car turning off and on while driving may cost more than your vehicle is worth. Fortunately, WeBuyTotaledCars specializes in taking less-than-perfect cars off their owner’s hands. It might be a headache for you, but it’s no problem for us!

Our entire process is as simple as 1-2-3:

  1. Get your free quote! It takes just 90 seconds to fill out our form with information about your vehicle.

  2. Accept your offer! Once we've generated a custom quote for you, all you have to do is accept the offer and schedule your pickup in as little as 24-48 hours!

  3. Get paid! Once the pickup is scheduled, just wait for the driver to arrive! You'll get paid on the spot. It's that simple!

Contact WeBuyTotaledCars today and worry about what to do when your car cuts off while driving no more!

What Do I Do If My Steering Wheel Locked Up And Car Turned Off While Driving?

This may be an instance of your steering wheel lock solenoid shorting out while you’re driving. Disconnect your battery and remove the steering wheel and airbag assembly.

What Does It Mean When My Car Turns Off While Driving But Turns Back On?

The most common culprit behind your car’s power issues is a faulty crankshaft. The first step to determining what the issue is would be to scan the engine control unit and check for faulty codes.

It’s a Quick and Easy Process


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Accept the offer if you’re happy with it.


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