Nothing can be more bewildering to a Jeep lover than the vehicle dying out of nowhere. Luckily, if it starts back up in a while, you can save yourself from being stranded and park at a safe location.
If you’ve been dealing with the issue for a long time, you are certainly not alone. The most stressful part is going through it without a single error code or the engine light coming on.
In this case, it can be risky to keep using the Jeep, so an immediate solution is inevitable. Read along to find out the reasons so you can take the necessary actions to fix the issue.
Why Does Jeep Die While Driving But Restarts?
There can be many reasons behind a Jeep dying without any notice but then restarting after some time, depending on the model and age of the Jeep. Following are some common reasons so you can take a quick look –
- Crankshaft position sensor issues
- Inadequate fuel pressure
- Faulty battery cables
- Connection problems and vacuum leaks
- Inoperative throttle body or throttle position sensor
- Bad battery or alternator
- Defective ECU
Which Jeep Models Are More Prone To This Issue?
Every car is built differently. Even different vehicles of the same model don’t always face the same problems. Before stressing over an issue or looking for solutions from others’ cases, it’s crucial you understand how your Jeep works.
Still, a few Jeep models often face issues related to engine stalling and restarting. Some Jeep models that received the most complaints regarding the matter are – Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, Jeep Wrangler JK, Jeep Wrangler Sahara, Jeep Wrangler Sport, Jeep Rubicon, Jeep Cherokee Sport, and Jeep Comanche.
As we mentioned the model names, please note that not all model years faced the same issues.
Troubleshooting And Fixing A Jeep That Dies While Driving But Restarts Afterwards
It is normal to panic when you start experiencing your Jeep dying and then restarting frequently. Most of the time, the reasons are not severe and need quick fixes. Let’s look at the common reasons behind the issue and ways to solve them below.
1. Issue with the crankshaft position sensor
If you look at other people dealing with a similar issue with their Jeeps, most of them will share having trouble with the crankshaft position sensor.
As a crankshaft sensor starts going bad, it can cause intermittent stalling and restarting of the Jeep until it fails.
There will be no spark at the distributor when it goes bad entirely, and the Jeep won’t start. Many people shared their experiences with crankshaft sensor issues without getting any error codes.
Jeep Wrangler JK and Sahara received the most complaints about the crankshaft sensor. Replacing the crankshaft position sensor is easy. The aftermarket sensors usually don’t cost much but you will find most experts recommending the Mopar crankshaft position sensor which can cost around $150.
2. Inadequate fuel pressure
Most people who have been using Jeep for many years suggest measuring the fuel pressure with the help of a gauge to determine the issue. Low fuel pressure is often the prime culprit behind engine stalling.
Many components come into play while ensuring adequate fuel pressure. But the common reason is often a bad fuel pump. It can go bad because of a malfunctioning fuel pump relay, loose terminals, bad fuel injectors, or blown fuse.
While at it, you can also check the fuel filter as it can get dirty and disturb the normal functions of the Jeep. In some cases, changing the fuel filter can also help.
3. Faulty or corroded battery cables
The second most common reason behind the issue lies within the battery’s connections. If the battery cables of your Jeep come out loose or become dirty over time, they can cause signal loss leading to the sudden shutting down of the system.
As soon as the signal gets reestablished, your Jeep restarts. It may seem simple, but it takes a toll on the vehicle if it keeps happening.
Many experienced jeepers recommend checking the battery’s terminals and connections to ensure that they are tightly secured in their places and not corroded. If you find them dirty or rusty, you can take them out and clean them properly.
4. Connection problems and vacuum leaks
Sometimes, cables and wires just come loose, overheat, or get corroded. All of these can cause the engine to stall.
For example, a user shared his experience with a bad wire coming from the alternator to the battery, causing the engine to die and restart. He tried replacing other parts, but in the end, it turned out only a small wire replacement was all it needed.
Even though it’s almost impossible to tell while you’re driving whether there’s a problem with the wiring or connections, you can check and clean them later to see if that helps.
If the spark plugs or ignition switch of the Jeep are not working properly, they can also cause engine shutdown. Another common case is Vacuum leaks. It is risky to continue riding a Jeep with leaks. If you detect any vacuum leaks in the Jeep, get them treated immediately.
5. Bad battery or alternator
The ideal lifetime of a Jeep battery is 3 to 5 years. It highly depends on the usage and maintenance. So if you use your Jeep a lot, the battery may need a replacement sooner than expected.
Another problem associated with this is a bad alternator. If the alternator fails, it can lead to the death of the battery, causing the engine to die.
Please note that the battery temperature sensor can also cause the issue. If the battery or any parts of it overheat, it can cause the battery temperature sensor to cause the engine to stall. Replacing the problematic battery can solve the issue.
6. Inoperative throttle body or throttle position sensor
A defective throttle body or throttle position sensor can be the problem. Just cleaning the throttle body seemed to help a lot of people. You can test the throttle position sensor if this doesn’t solve the issue.
A bad sensor can cause the Jeep to die but then start right back up. You can easily replace the sensor by yourself. While at it, also check the idle screw and re-tune it.
7. Defective ECU
Defective ECU is a common problem, especially in older Jeeps. If the ECU starts malfunctioning, it can suddenly disrupt the ignition process causing the engine to stall. Then when it functions again, the engine starts right back up.
Also, the ECU (Engine Control Unit) can overheat and cause the issue. The occasional glitching of the ECU is hard to detect. If you can’t find the reason behind the problem, ECU could be the reason. Consult an expert to diagnose and solve.
Should you keep driving if your Jeep dies but restart?
It is unsafe to drive a Jeep that dies but restarts. However, whether you should keep driving depends on your situation.
Although no significant risk factors come with the issue, just imagine yourself stuck in the middle of a road, unable to start the jeep back up! So you must solve the problem ASAP to avoid getting stranded without help.
Also, there’s always the risk of the Jeep shutting down on busy roads. It can be life-threatening for you and others on the road if it stops at the wrong time.
If you must use your Jeep like this until you can fix it, try to take it out for short trips only. Also, avoid going on roads with heavy traffic. You should stay on the right side and turn on the emergency lights.
Expert Tips To Prevent Your Jeep From Dying On The Road
You may be unable to completely prevent a Jeep from dying on the road. But there are ways to minimize the possibility, one of them being regular maintenance of every part of the Jeep. Here are some expert tips to help you in the long run –
- Examine the air filter and fuel filter regularly.
- Maintain optimal levels of oil and coolant.
- Keep the tire pressure and conditions in check.
- Examine the battery from time to time and replace it when needed.
- Check the terminals and wires occasionally and secure any loose connections.
- Ensure that all the sensors are in good condition.
- Regularly check for leaks.
- Take your Jeep for routine maintenance.
Unless a component has failed completely, you may be able to restart a Jeep even when it dies frequently. But it can be hazardous in the long run.
Instead of throwing guesses and spending money based on them, it is best to carefully examine the components that can cause the issue and fix them.
Even though it is relatively easy to take care of tasks like securing the terminals, cleaning the dirty components, and replacing sensors, you may need an expert’s assistance for tasks like replacing the ECU.