On the Road Again? What to Do When Your Jeep Wrangler Stalls While Driving

There are a number of factors that are involved in stalling the Jeep Wrangler while driving. It can stall when there is a problem with the fuel system of the vehicle. When any components of the fuel system become damaged or clogged, it will not provide sufficient fuel to the engine to perform adequately. Also, an engine needs electric power to run, if there is an issue with the battery or an alternator, the engine can stall due to lack of power. 

Additionally, a clogged engine air filter can stall the engine of the Jeep Wrangler because insufficient air will reduce the performance of the engine. Other factors such as timing belts, ECM, and ignition keys are also involved in stalling the Jeep Wrangler engine. 

What Are the Signs of a Jeep Wrangler Stalling While Driving?

Here are some of the signs that will signal that the Jeep Wrangler is stalling while driving are provided below. 

  • The vehicle will frequently stop while driving. Steering and acceleration will be powerless, which can be dangerous for both driver and passengers. 
  • After stalling, there will be difficulties starting the vehicle and the “check engine light” will start flickering on the odometer during cranking. 
  • The fuel gauge and cruise control will show no signal except radio and other electrical gauges. 
  • The starter may crumble one to two times while starting the engine.  
  • The fuel gauge will move to empty(E) after driving for a while. 
  • The acceleration will be rough and the engine can make strange noise or vibration before stalling. 

What Causes a Jeep Wrangler Stalling While Driving? (Solutions)

The most common causes that stall the Jeep Wrangler while driving is due to the fuel system of the vehicle, a bad battery or a faulty alternator, the timing belt being stretched or broken, the vehicle not getting enough airflow into the engine, the sensors or ECM not working properly and the ignition key is worn-out or loose. 

1. Fuel System Issue

There are lots of components in the fuel system of the Jeep Wrangler such as a fuel pump, fuel filter, fuel ignition, and fuel line that can stall the engine.

The fuel pump may not be pumping enough fuel required by the engine to perform or it may become faulty. On the contrary, the fuel filter or the fuel line might be clogged and they are not providing proper fuel for the engine to run. Also, the fuel ignition system may not be igniting enough for the accurate combustion of the air-fuel mixture in the engine. 

Solution to Fuel System Issue

You have to find out the exact problem in the fuel system of the Jeep Wrangler to diagnose it adequately. For example, if the vehicle is stalling due to a faulty fuel pump and ignition system, replacement is mandatory. If the problem is with the other components, you can inspect them visually and take necessary measures to unclog or replace them to get rid of the issue. Also, in rare cases, the engine may stall when there is a lack of fuel in the tank, so refill it promptly. 

2. Bad Battery or Malfunctioning Alternator Issue

Jeep Wrangler can stall while driving if there is an issue with any components that provide power to the engine. A battery and an alternator correspond with each other, the battery stores power and the alternator distributes power to the engine’s electrical components and charges the battery. 

A battery can be bad when the alternator is not recharging the battery fully or the cells of the battery are dead and it’s no longer functioning. Also, an alternator can malfunction when it has reached its operational stage. 

Solution to Bad Battery or Malfunctioning Alternator Issue

Check for the voltage of the battery with a multimeter. The reading should be between 13.5-14.2v if it is less than that, then the battery is either not charging due to a malfunctioning alternator or the battery is dead completely. 

In both cases, replacement is needed. It is better to install a high-quality battery and alternator that is compatible with the Jeep Wrangler power system. The process of replacing is simple and you can do it with DIY repairs or you can take it to a professional mechanic. 

3. Timing Belt Issue

Jeep Wrangler’s internal combustion engine works simultaneously with the timing belt to ensure maximum performance of the engine. These belts are connected to the engine components from top to bottom and the crankshaft. 

The issue can happen with the timing belts when it is stretched, damaged or broken and can longer synchronize properly, and as a result, the vehicle stalls while driving. 

Solution to Timing Belt Issue

Replacing the timing belt is complex and you need specific tools and sound knowledge for repairing it. It is best to address the issue at any certified workshop because any mistake can probably damage the engine. 

4. Airflow Issue

The engine of the Jeep Wrangler needs a sufficient amount of air to operate freely and to provide the utmost performance. The airflow that comes through the air intake hose is filtered by the engine air filter. 

Over time, the air filter gets clogged when dust, debris or other particles accumulate on the filter and reduce the airflow into the engine. Insufficient amount of air minimizes the engine performance and thus, leads to stalling while driving. 

Solution to Airflow Issue

You can easily troubleshoot the issue when the problem arises due to this. Simply, you need to check the air filter which is located on the air filter housing. Clean the air filter with soapy water and vacuum it to get the maximum amount of water out of it. Replace it if the condition of the air filter is worse. 

5. ECM Issue

The Jeep Wrangler engine is controlled by the ECM(Engine Control Module). This ECM is like the brain of the engine that acts as a computer to control several engine functions. It receives data from various sensors of the engine such as the throttle positional sensor(TPS), engine temperature sensor(ECT), and airflow sensor(MAF). 

When any of these sensors malfunctions, the ECM will be unable to receive accurate data from the engine which results, in poor performance or stalling of the engine while driving. 

Solution to ECM Issue 

Scan the vehicle with an OBD-II scanner to find out the error code that caused the Jeep Wrangler to stall. Replace it if any of the sensors is malfunctioning. Also, there can be a problem with the ECM as well. Diagnose the ECM fully and if it’s faulty, then you have to replace it as well. 

Replacing the ECM is not that complicated, someone having mechanical knowledge can easily replace it. You can follow the steps below for DIY to replace it. 

  • Remove the old ECM by detaching the battery and the mounted bolts from it. Disconnect the sockets from the ECM.
  • Apply dielectric grease on the sockets and secure the new ECM by mounting the bolts. Connect the sockets into it and attach the battery. 

However, if things look complicated, you can take your vehicle to any authorized workshop and they will do the work for you. 

6. Ignition Key Issue

The ignition key provides power to various components of the engine when it is turned on. It also helps the starter to use the electrical power to start the engine. 

In the long run, it can wear out due to the build-up of dust and corrosion. Also, the Jeep Wrangler engine can lose power when there is any loose connection in the key, and as a result, the vehicle can stall while driving. 

Solution to Ignition Key Issue

Replace the key from a Jeep dealership for your specific vehicle when it is worn out. If the problem persists, you can call for a professional mechanic to look for the loose connection that is messing up with the power of the engine or maybe they can replace the wires as well. 

Causes a Jeep Wrangler Stalling While Driving

Why Does My Jeep Wrangler Stall When I Put It in Reverse?

There are many possibilities that your Jeep Wrangler can stall when put in reverse. The problem can happen when the crankshaft sensor is not providing accurate data to the ECM and the ECM cannot adjust the engine timing accordingly.

The transmission fluid might be low or the transmission filter is dirty for which the engine is not operating freely after reversing the gear. 

The torque converter which transmits power to the transmission and the engine might be working improperly or it has been locked up due to an internal problem in the transmission. Also, the reverse clutch in the transmission can be broken. 

When do I need to Go Mechanic?

You can go to the mechanic when the Jeep Wrangler is stalling due to the timing belt because replacing the timing belt is not an easy job to do and you need the necessary tools and mechanical knowledge to diagnose the issue.

You can also go to the mechanic when the vehicle is stalling due to the ignition switch because finding the specific wires that are loose is complex and replacing them would be more complicated for someone having basic mechanical knowledge. 

It is essential to know the root of the problem of your Jeep Wrangler stalling while driving. You can do it on your own if you are confident or you can take the vehicle to an authorized shop to diagnose the issue.

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