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Why Is My Car Surging & Stalling?

by Jay Motes

A car that stalls and surges is not only an annoyance, but may also create a safety hazard. An engine that is stalling and surging will also consume more fuel and may increase wear on internal engine components.

Fuel Problems

A faulty fuel system will create stalling and surging, as the flow of fuel is insufficient to meet the engine's needs. A clogged fuel filter or fuel injectors will restrict the flow of gasoline. A failing fuel pump will fail to provide the needed fuel pressure to properly operate the engine. Many fuel systems have a valve near the engine to test pressure.

Air Problems

A restriction in the flow of air to the combustion chambers will cause an engine to stall and surge. Causes of air restriction include a clogged air filter and loose or worn vacuum hoses. Worn vacuum hoses may collapse when the vacuum is increased. Pinch hoses to feel for weak spots.

Engine Sensors

A number of engine sensors may fail and cause a vehicle to stall and surge. Identifying the problem sensor is difficult, but a diagnostic code scanner can help to locate the faulty sensor. Auto parts stores sell code scanners, and a repair shop can scan the code for the car owner.

About the Author

Jay Motes is a writer who sold his first article in 1998. Motes has written for numerous print and online publications including "The Dollar Stretcher" and "WV Sportsman." He holds a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in history and political science form Fairmont State College in Fairmont, W.V.

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Photo Credits

  • highway image by Ekaterina Sidorenko from