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Everything You Need to Know About Japanese Cars

Car Advisor Tamotsu Todoroki

Hi, this is Tamotsu Todoroki. I am a car advisor of
I write an online column every week to take care of your vehicle. My column is all about something useful and practical for your vehicle. Please have a look once to keep your car in good condition.


Why is Your Car Engine Stop Suddenly? - Vol.85

Having your engine stop suddenly in not only annoying, it can be downright dangerous! You can easily loose control of your vehicle if your engine cuts out. If you are driving at higher speeds on a highway, this could mean serious trouble.

The most important thing to do if this happens to you is to find out why, so you can get it fixed! With that said, there are numerous reasons why you car engine stop suddenly.

Here are a few of them:

Possible damaged O2 sensors
This one falls under the 'idling' category. This may be the case if the idle of a cold engine startup is fine but a warm engine idle will surge and then stall.

Eventually most cars will activate your 'check engine' light if this is the case. Take a few minutes and let a mechanic check the codes for you, as there are lots of reasons why the light might be on. Any codes that indicate a lean mixture is a solid sign of O2 sensor failure.

These sensors usually last about seventy-five thousand miles. These sensors aren't very expensive and you can find them for about fifty dollars and they are easy to replace. This may also be happening because your engine is idling too low or potentially your control module is going, this is also pretty cheap and simple to fix.

Fluid level low on transmission
Have a look the dipstick on the automatic transmission. The owner's manual will have the correct method for doing this. Normally you should do this with a warm engine if possible.

Plugged catalytic converter
This is an important component of the exhaust system and needs to be kept clear to let the exhaust out. If it gets clogged, the engine has to work harder to idle and accelerate because exhaust is backing up in the pipe.

This can result in no power and stalling. It will also cause crappy fuel economy and weird noises, usually rattling or vibrating in nature.

Ignition/computer issue
This could also be an ignition/computer issue where signals are getting crossed and the engine ends up shutting down. When this happens usually all of the 'engine warning lights' go on just as the car stalls.

It is especially dangerous because you could be driving along into an intersection and without any warning your car will shut off and you will lose your power steering and brakes.

Well your car engine runs on heat. Basically the chemical energy from the fuel is converted into thermal energy as fuel burns. This results in mechanical energy that powers your engine.

Ironically the hotter the engine, the better it runs, problem is if it gets too hot it will start melting the piston heads and that's not a good thing!

If your engine overheats, it will eventually stop. It may be overheating because your cooling system is malfunctioning, poor airflow throughout radiator, fan clutch slipping, collapsed radiator hose, damaged water pump impeller or a broken radiator cap, to name a few.

It's very important to let your engine cool down and do not try driving it again until you pinpoints the cause.

Engine Bolts Loose
This one doesn't happen very often but it definitely has happened, particularly with the Golf Volkswagen Golf Diesel. If you've had some maintenance on the engine, particularly a timing belt change, be sure the bolts on the bottom of the engine have been secured properly.

If these bolts aren't tightened, the natural running of the engine will cause the bolts to loosen further and eventually the timing will be thrown off with the mechanics of your engine and the engine will self-destruct.

Your car will get really loud and you will hear a hammering sound. If you keep going the motor will literally fall out and of course quit running while you are driving.

This may seem a little extreme and it is but unfortunately I can vouch for this one first hand!