automatic car stalls when put into gear

Automatic Car Stalls When Put into Gear: Understanding the Causes and Solutions

Are you experiencing the frustrating and embarrassing issue of your automatic car stalling when you put it into gear? It can be a perplexing problem, but understanding the causes behind it can help you troubleshoot and fix the issue. In this article, we will delve into the common causes of automatic car stalling and provide you with solutions to address the problem effectively.

Common Causes of Automatic Car Stalling

  • Low Fuel Level: One of the most common causes of automatic car stalling is running on an empty fuel tank. When the fuel level is extremely low, the engine might not receive an adequate fuel supply, leading to stalling.
  • Faulty Alternator: A bad alternator can result in stalling. The alternator’s performance is closely tied to the battery, and if the battery is low or faulty, it can affect the alternator’s ability to provide sufficient power to the engine.
  • Insufficient Fuel Mixture: When the air and fuel mixture in the engine is imbalanced, it can cause stalling. This issue can be attributed to problems with the alternator and can often be indicated by dashboard warning lights or a low battery.
  • Malfunctioning Fuel Pump: The fuel pump is responsible for delivering fuel to the engine. If it is damaged or not functioning properly, it can lead to a weak fuel supply, resulting in poor engine performance and stalling, especially after engaging the gear.
  • Failing Torque Converter: The torque converter is a critical component in automatic cars that replaces the clutch in manual transmission systems. It manages the transmission fluid and helps keep the engine running even at a stop. When the torque converter fails, it can cause the car to stall due to reasons like overheating, dirt in the fuel, or inadequate stall speed.
  • Issues with the Car Idle Circuit: The car idle circuit plays a crucial role in the combustion process by supplying oxygen when the car is in stall mode. If the idle circuit is broken or malfunctioning, the oxygen supply to the engine can be interrupted, affecting engine performance and potentially causing stalling.
  • Jammed Air Filter: The air filter is essential for maintaining proper airflow into the engine. If the filter becomes jammed or clogged with particles like dust and leaves, it can disrupt the airflow, leading to stalling.
  • Low Fuel Pressure: Stalling in automatic cars after engaging the gear can also be caused by low fuel pressure resulting from blocked injectors. Dirty fuel or clogged injectors can reduce the fuel flow pressure, leading to low power and stalling.

Troubleshooting and Fixing the Problem

To address the issue of automatic car stalling when put into gear, it is important to follow a systematic troubleshooting approach. Here are some steps you can take to diagnose and fix the problem:

Identifying the Cause: 

Start by checking the obvious factors like the fuel level, battery, and alternator. Ensure that the fuel tank is not empty and the battery is in good condition.

Checking Battery and Alternator: 

If you suspect a battery or alternator issue, have them tested by a professional. Replace the battery if necessary and address any alternator problems.

Inspecting Fuel System: 

If the stalling persists, have a mechanic inspect the fuel pump, fuel filter, and fuel injectors. Clean or replace any components that are damaged or not functioning properly.

Testing the Torque Converter: 

Perform a stall-speed test to assess the condition of the torque converter. Follow the steps outlined in the owner’s manual or consult an auto repair shop for assistance.

Examining the Idle Circuit: 

Have the car idle circuit checked by a mechanic. If any issues are found, consider replacing the faulty components to restore proper engine function.

Cleaning or Replacing the Air Filter: 

Regularly check and clean the air filter to prevent any obstructions that could hinder airflow. Replace the filter if it is damaged or excessively dirty.

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Resolving Low Fuel Pressure: 

If low fuel pressure is identified as the cause of stalling, consider replacing the injectors and cleaning the fuel tank to ensure proper fuel flow.

Steps to Take When an Automatic Car Stalls

If your automatic car continues to stall even after troubleshooting and repairs, it is essential to take the following steps:

Initial Diagnosis and Repairs: 

Begin by identifying the cause of the stalling and addressing it promptly. Regular maintenance and addressing issues early can prevent further damage.

Seeking Professional Help: 

If the problem persists or you are unsure about the diagnosis, consult a qualified mechanic or technician. They can perform more advanced tests and provide a conclusive solution.

Maintenance and Prevention: 

To prevent stalling in the future, adhere to regular maintenance schedules, including fuel system checks, battery inspections, and overall vehicle servicing.


Experiencing an automatic car stall when putting it into gear can be a frustrating and concerning problem. By understanding the common causes of stalling and following a systematic troubleshooting approach, you can address the issue effectively. Remember to perform regular maintenance and seek professional help when needed to ensure your car runs smoothly and reliably.


Yes, a faulty alternator can affect the performance of the engine, leading to stalling when engaging the gear. It is important to have the alternator checked and repaired if necessary.

A vacuum leak disrupts the proper airflow and fuel-to-air ratio in the engine, potentially causing stalling. It is crucial to identify and fix any vacuum leaks to maintain engine performance.

No, it is not safe to drive a car that stalls when put into gear, as it can result in unexpected loss of power and control. Address the issue promptly to prevent accidents or further damage.

The frequency of air filter replacement depends on various factors, including driving conditions and manufacturer recommendations. However, it is generally recommended to replace the air filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles or as indicated by your vehicle’s maintenance schedule.

Yes, a failing torque converter can cause other transmission issues, such as difficulty in shifting gears, abnormal noises, or slipping. It is crucial to have a malfunctioning torque converter repaired to prevent further damage to the transmission system.

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