We think of stalling as a classic (and often embarrassing!) rookie error. But frequent stalling can actually be a sign of mechanical issues or faults with your car, such as fuel problems, a faulty alternator or EGR valve or ignition problems.
Our experienced mechanics can help identify and solve your car problems with a car diagnostic. With our seamless, end-to-end service your car will be collected and delivered, contact-free by our dedicated drivers and you’ll be kept up-to-date from start to finish.
Why is my car stalling so easily?
If, like most people in the UK, you have a manual car, your engine is more likely to stall. This is because of the clutch – if you don’t engage it properly or switch to neutral when coming to a halt, the engine may stall. Your engine needs a certain number of revs to keep ticking over (about 600 to 1,000 revs per minute). When your car is stationary, your engine is running at about that rev count, however if you let the clutch up too fast, the force of it will slow the revs to below what your engine needs to keep ticking over. Therefore, the engine doesn’t get the revs it needs, so it cuts out – also known as ‘stalling’.
However, aside from human error, there are a host of other mechanical reasons why your car might be stalling. Issues around air flow, fuel or mechanics can cause your engine to stall, so if you’ve noticed that you’re stalling more often it’s important to get your car checked out by a professional.
What are the common reasons a car stalls?
Flat battery or faulty alternator
Risk level – Medium
What to do – Check the battery terminals, making sure they’re secure and free from corrosion. If you make a lot of short journeys, be sure to take your car on a long journey every so often – this will help charge the battery. At the first sign of trouble (difficulty starting your car, frequent stalling, dim headlights, dashboard warning lights) have the battery tested or replaced.
We often associate battery issues with not being able to start your car, especially on a cold winter’s morning. But in reality, if your battery is going bad or has corroded terminals, it could lead to your engine stalling whilst driving. When you have a weak battery, your alternator will have to work harder to supply electrical power to your vehicle. This added stress leads to your car cutting out or stalling.
If you have a voltmeter you can check to see if this is the case, if not you can book your car in for a diagnostic check and our experienced mechanics will get to the root of the problem. And the best part is, with Fixter’s seamless, contact-free collection and delivery service, you won’t even have to leave the comfort of your home.
Faulty EGR valve
Risk level – Medium
What to do – You can visually inspect your EGR valve for signs of wear, dirt and blockage. If it is blocked or not opening and closing properly this could be causing your car to stall more often. You may be able to clean the EGR valve to unblock it, however we recommend having your car looked at by a mechanic as you may need a replacement EGR valve.
The exhaust gas recirculation or EGR valve plays a vital role in regulating your car’s exhaust emissions. The EGR valve is closed when the engine is starting up. When your car is idle and travelling at low speeds, only a small amount of power is required, and therefore only a small amount of oxygen, so the valve gradually opens. However, as more torque and power is required, for example when accelerating, the EGR valve closes to ensure as much oxygen enters the cylinder.
When the EGR valve is blocked, worn or dirty, which they are prone to due to carbon build up, it may not function properly. This can cause your car to stall, especially when idle. Other symptoms to look out for, which could indicate a faulty EGR valve, are, a rough engine idle, poor fuel mileage, and/or a strong smell of fuel.
Worn, faulty or damaged spark plugs
Risk level – Medium
What to do – Inspect the spark plugs for signs of damage. Use a spark plug socket to remove the plug so you can get a good look at it. Your spark plugs send electric currents to your car’s engine from the ignition. If the plugs and their wires are worn out or damaged, this can cause a disruption in the flow of electric currents, which in turn, causes your car to stall or misfire when in idle.
If the spark plug is just old or damaged, replacing it may solve the problem. You should get replacement spark plugs fitted as soon as possible. Each car requires a particular type of spark plug made from specific materials and with an exact spark plug gap that is set by a mechanic during installation. Booking a repair with Fixter couldn’t be easier. Simply select the services you need online, choose where and when you’d like us to collect your car, our drivers will take it to one of our vetted, local garages, and we’ll return your car back to you once the work is complete.
What causes rough idle and stalling?
A rough idle and a stalling engine indicate a faulty or failing EGR valve. When the EGR valve is blocked, worn or dirty, it may not function properly. This can cause your car to stall, especially when idle. Other symptoms to look out for which indicate a faulty EGR valve are poor fuel mileage and/or a strong smell of fuel. If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms it could be wise to book your car in for a diagnostic check or a replacement EGR valve, before the issue gets any worse and damages your engine.
Is stalling bad for my car?
Stalling shouldn’t damage your car, however if your car stalls a lot it could be a tell-tale sign that there’s a more complex, underlying problem. It’s important to keep on top of your car maintenance and repairs to avoid putting yourself and your passengers at risk and to avoid further damage to your engine.