The Causes and Solutions of Car Starts then Dies after few Seconds. (Explained & Solved)

Imagine getting an emergency call that makes you jump out of bed, sending you running across the room. You start to throw yourself into any outfit you can reach. Then, in a flash, you dash out of the house and head over to your car.

As you start the engine, the car starts then dies after few seconds. You try it again, but it happens again. You feel the surge of frustration swell in you, forcing you to want to throw a punch into the steering.

But back up a bit because throwing a punch into the steering could cause more damage to your car. First, take a deep breath to ease the frustration. Then, you have two options.

You can try to figure out the problem, or you can reach out to your neighborhood mechanic.

Clearly, you’re here because you’re curious about what to do when you start your car, and it dies almost immediately. Don’t worry; we’ll show you.


Get your notepad, pen, whatever you take notes on because we’re taking you to the mechanic classroom. I mean, if you’ll acquire knowledge on car troubles and possible solutions for it, we might as well do it right. Here, we’ll examine the likely culprits responsible for your car going off as soon as it starts. Let’s dive in.

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You Ran Out of Fuel:

Besides the engine, fuel is another critical component in your car. There has to be enough fuel in your engine for the vehicle to start and stay running. If not, you’d start the car, and it’ll respond.

But it would turn off almost immediately. Although your engine is in good shape, you can’t run the car if there’s no fuel in the fuel tank.

Hence, if it often skips your mind to drive your car to a fuel station to fill up the fuel tank, create a schedule for it or set an alarm clock that reminds you when your fuel tank is tilting towards the empty side.

So, if you try to start your car and it doesn’t respond, or it starts but goes off almost immediately, it sends your eyes to the fuel gauge. If it’s empty, you know what time it is.

Leaking Fuel Pump:

When there’s an issue with the fuel pump, such as a leak, it could also cause the car to stop almost immediately. This fuel pump leak is either linked to the fuel pump or the fuel injection system.

This problem arises as a result of a faulty combustion system. Here’s what I mean. The free flow of fuel marks a good combustion system into the combustion chamber.

As a result, when the spark in the combustion happens, it ignites the chamber with air. However, if your car comes to a halt immediately after starting the engine, you’ll know the leaking fuel pump is at fault when there’s a fault with the combustion process.

An easy way to tell is to lift the hood. If a whiff of fuel odor hits your nose the moment you lift the hood, then the fuel pump might be leaking. To be certain, check the fuel line that links the engine and the gas tank. If it looks messed up, the fuel pump is leaking.

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Faulty Fuel Injector Sensor:

The Fuel Injector Sensor plays a role in the overall function of your car. The internal combustion unit needs fuel to power your car engine and make it ready to hit the road.

It is the role of the fuel injectors to decide the right amount of fuel that the combustion unit needs. However, the fuel injectors can’t inject fuel into the internal combustion unit without a certain amount of pressure.

Now, the sensor’s work is to monitor the pressure that goes into the fuel injector and relay this message to the engine unit that uses the pressure in the best way that ensures smooth combustion.

But a faulty fuel injector sensor would hinder the smooth flow of fuel into the engine unit, creating problems with combustion. When that happens, you’ll experience difficulty starting your car.

Ignition System Problem:

Your car engine will start without hassle when all goes well in the internal combustion system. But sometimes, a fault with the ignition system could get in the way of the smooth operations in the internal combustion system.

For instance, air and fuel have to properly mix in the combustion system for complete combustion to happen. The ignition system usually triggers this air and fuel mixture by creating a spark thanks to the spark plug.

However, if the spark plugs in the ignition system are faulty, there won’t be enough spark that’ll cause the complete combustion your car needs to start and stay running. Incomplete combustion could also occur when your car battery is faulty as well.

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Gas Tank Build-up:

You see, there’s nothing wrong with leaving your car parked for long.

You could decide not to drive it for the longest of time.

However, when you suddenly decide to take it for a ride, and it stalls, Build-up of dust, etc., in the fuel tank could be the problem.

Otherwise, it could be that water found its way into the fuel tank. During winter, the water in your fuel tank could turn to ice.

When this happens, you’ll experience difficulty starting and running your car.

Other reasons that could result in your car stalling or refusing to start and keep running include, clogged fuel filter, bad fuel pump, bad battery problem, bad carburetor.

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You can try quite a few solutions if your car suffers from any of the above-highlighted problems. I’ll show you the possible solutions to the issues above. So, if you’ve figured that your car trouble is a result of any of the above problems, buckle up, and let’s dig in.

Empty Gas Tank:

This problem is the easiest to fix. If after an attempt to start the car fails, check the gas tank. You might have used up the gas in your vehicle. Now, if your gas tank reads empty, you definitely can’t drive it to the fuel station. So, the way out is to rush to the gas station with a container for fuel. Then, manually fill up the gas tank yourself or get someone with more experience to help out.

Fix the Fuel Pump:

If the leaking fuel pump is the problem, do not keep trying to start the car, but by all means. Newsflash; it’s dangerous for your vehicle.

It would help if you tried to fix the leak in the fuel pump before you kick start the car again. If you’re dealing with rubber fuel lines, you’ll fix the issue in no time.

The best line of action is to replace the rubber lines. You’ll need to take out the clamps to remove the rubber lines. Then, replace the rubber lines with the perfect size for your car and gauntlets.

If you’re confronted with steel fuel lines, do not attempt to change them. You’ll have to leave it to the mechanic. The reason? Changing steel fuel lines require a high level of expertise that you might not have.

One wrong move could ruin your car. So you’re better off letting your mechanic handle steel fuel lines.

Faulty Fuel Injector Sensor:

Truthfully, if the fuel injector sensor is responsible for why your car starts and stops almost immediately, you have no business trying to fix it. Here’s why. Issues with the fuel injector sensors are complex. You can’t handle it yourself. If you’ve taken to fixing cars as a hobby, you could attempt to fix it.

However, if you have to rely on YouTube videos to fix the Fuel Injector Sensor problem, you shouldn’t proceed with it. My advice for you is to pick up your phone and call your mechanic. The reason is that there are three ways to fix the Fuel injector sensor.

You can either replace the sensor with a new one, clean the injector thoroughly or fix it. If fixing cars is more of a hobby than a profession, you might have a hard time deciding which solution would best resolve the issue.

But a mechanic who’s had several years of experience fixing cars would quickly know the best approach to resolving the fuel injector sensor problem. So, could you leave it to the mechanic to handle it?  

Fix the Ignition System Problem:

Watch this; if the ignition system is the problem, you need to figure out what part in the ignition system is responsible for this headache. There are two possible culprits.

First, the Spark Plugs could be responsible. Second, the spark plugs wires could be the culprit. If the spark plugs look burned, short, or are old, you should either replace them or thoroughly clean them.

I advise that you replace them. But if you’re on a budget, subjecting the spark plugs to a thorough cleanse might fix the problem. But if the issue persists after cleaning the spark plugs, you have no choice but to change them now.

On the contrary, if the Spark plugs are fine, check the spark plugs wires. If your spark plugs wires are old or broken, consider replacing them. If they are fixable, try to fix them.

Fix the Water, Ice, or Build Up problem:

Now, you’ll need to get a fuel additive capable of getting rid of water in a fuel tank. An example is HEET. Relocate your car to a room where it can heat up.

Your car needs to warm up on the inside as it would melt the ice (if that’s the culprit). Give your car 4 hours to warm up. You might need to set a timer to this effect.

After 4 hours, pour enough HEET into the tank and wait a few minutes for the HEET to settle in. Start the car, but not aggressively. Turn the key for three seconds at intervals, but slowly.

Repeat that action close to 5 times, then leave the car so the HEET would continue to do its job.

After a few minutes, try to start the car. If it doesn’t start, try the process all over again until your car starts without hassle.


If your car starts then dies after few seconds while you’re in a hurry to a destination, don’t let it intimidate you. Reach out to a mechanic if you can’t imagine yourself going through diagnosing and fixing the car.

Besides, there are quite a few reasons why your car could stall. If you’re a rookie, you’d most likely feel intimidated but the diagnosis and fixing process. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mechanic for help.

In the meantime, you can order an Uber if you need to get to your destination earlier or get into another car (if you’ve got more than one).

But ensure to book an appointment with your mechanic first, especially if you can’t diagnose and fix the issue by yourself. But if you feel up to the task, don’t hesitate to attempt a diagnosis and begin fixing the car.

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