Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car turned itself off, now Check Engine Light is on

asked by on

I was driving today, and I came to a stop sign. When I tried to accelerate, the car stopped running. It's like when a manual transmission stalls out, but without the jerking motion. I had to put the car in park, turn it off, then start it up again.

The Oil, Battery, and Check Engine Lights all came on when this happened. After I got the car started again, they all went off except the Check Engine Light. What could this be?

I’m guessing the Battery and Oil Lights came on because the ignition was in the run position but the engine died. This is normal. What caused the vehicle to stall is another question.

A vehicle that stalls and then restarts typically indicates a lack of fuel and/or spark. There are numerous reasons for this.

The first step to narrowing things down, is to retrieve the diagnostic trouble code (DTC) associated with the Check Engine Light. This information will serve as a starting point for further diagnostics.

I suggest you have a professional, such as one from YourMechanic, diagnose your Check Engine Light firsthand, and recommend the best path to repair.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Radiator cooling fan is not functioning on low power

The resistance reading you tested sounds like it's in range. Most likely the coolant temperature sensor/switch, which controls the fan (on the radiator side tank), has failed and isn't connecting power to the fan when the temperature reaches the design...

Q: Car lost power and a cylinder.

The check engine light came on as a warning your vehicle is in need of service. The most likely cause is the engine is misfiring from an ignition coil failure or the plug wires got oil on them. I recommend...

Q: Jerking (Suffocating)

This may be related to a faulty throttle position sensor or potentially a dirty or failing mass air flow sensor. The mass air flow sensor is a unit in the intake system that monitors air intake as it is mixed...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...