What Would Make a Vehicle Suddenly Stall?

One of the many challenges that may be faced by a vehicle driver is failure to go up a particular hill.

Of course when the vehicle is to successfully ascend a given hill, its driver should at the outset select the lowest practical gear, more especially if the road is a bit slippery. The added power would enable it ascend while successfully driving through a slippery surface, should that be the case.

In some automatic vehicles one sometimes needs to ‘lock’ the differential before engaging the gears when going up hills. This goes with a reduced speed, enabling the vehicle ascend smoothly and gently. However, there are occasions when the vehicle will simply stall in the middle of an ascent. Almost every time a vehicle ‘dies’ in such circumstances, or even in other situations, it could very well be caused by one of these:

The failure or weakness of the fuel pump. It is the role of the fuel pump to ensure that the fuel is drawn from the tank and pumped to the engine for the necessary combustion. This, it should do even at steep angles of ascent or descent. But when the fuel pump fails in that role, then the vehicle will most likely stall on you.

Water in the fuel system, and the fuel tank in particular, will make the vehicle stall since the fuel may fail to smoothly pass through the fuel nozzles because water is much heavier and harder as compared to the fuel oils which are quite light.

Clogged-up catalytic converters. A catalytic converter is a vehicle emissions control device that converts toxic pollutants in the exhaust gas to less toxic pollutants by catalysing a redox reaction (oxidation or reduction). This device sometimes gets excessive stains of carbons, which may possibly be collected from both bad fuels and bad engine oils used in the vehicle. When this happens, it may affect the vehicle’s climbing power and with time will lead to it ‘dying’ on you.

When the airflow is blocked. When the vehicle has problems receiving enough air, just like in humans, it will make the vehicle suffocate, making it lose power.

A broken timing belt. A timing belt plays the very important role of coordinating or timing the movement of the engine combustion chamber valves. In simple terms, the timing belt ensures that the lower part of the engine and the upper part move in concert and as a complete unit. Should this belt have any problems, it will affect the engine’s power output.

Short-circuits, either from loose battery terminals or bad wiring will definitely make the vehicle stall.

An extreme engine overheat will also make the engine stall.

Though the above could be the more likely scenarios as you drive, there are several other reasons a vehicle would stall. This means one has to be prepared for such an eventuality and know how to recover from it as soon as possible.

Robert Kato is a mechanic who can be reached on:

Source : The Observer

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