10 Causes of a Car That Starts Then Dies Immediately

Having your car not starting when turning the ignition on can be frustrating, especially in critical times. The entire troubleshooting process can be frustrating, as the reason isn’t always straightforward. 

As a car’s engine has implications with almost all car components, it can be dysfunctional due to a failure in multiple parts. The article includes ten common reasons that may be causing trouble behind your engine.

  • Bad Idle Air Control Valve

This part of your car may not be working correctly either due to clogging or an electrical issue. If this is the case, try cleaning the valve first and check if this solves the problem. 

If the problem persists, it may have an electrical issue inside. It is best resolved with a mechanic’s help.

  • Severe Vacuum Leak

When there is a hole in the air intake system placed behind the MAF sensor, your car's air-fuel ratio can be disturbed. The hole allows unneeded air inside the car’s intake and causes it to run lean. 

This means that the fuel in your car is being ignited with excessive amounts of air and not enough fuel. This unbalanced ratio may be causing your car to start at first but then quickly stall.

  • Anti-Theft Alarm System Issue

Sometimes the reason can be as simple as your Anti-theft system interfering with your car’s engine. These systems do not let you power the engine and start the vehicle without unlocking through the signal keys that come with the alarm system. Try looking for the alarm signal on your dashboard and check if it is still active. In such a case, switch off the system by switching on the ignition key.

  • Dirty Or Faulty MAF Sensor

Your MAF sensor regulates the airflow moving through the engine and can become clogged over time. A faulty sensor will often cause an unbalance in the air-fuel mixture as it often misreads the air present at each instance. 

This can cause it to allow too much or too little air than needed for proper ignition. Simply having it cleaned professionally should solve this problem.

  • Fuel Pump Leak

The fuel pump is part of the overall mechanism that gets the engine fuel from one part to the other. When there is a fuel pump leak, it causes the internal combustion process to malfunction and messes up the air-fuel ratio. 

A leak will send either excessive or not enough fuel in for the ignition. This is why your car’s check engine light will always get illuminated. 

  • Fuel Injection Sensor Issue

Fuel Injection sensor helps your car be injected with the right amount of fuel by exerting just the right pressure level. 

When faulty, it miscalculates the pressure needed at each instance which causes the fuel injector to apply the wrong amount of pressure. This can cause your car’s engine not to work as it may be facing insufficient fuel needed in the internal combustion chamber. Taking the required professional help rather than DIY-ing is the safest option.

  • Bad Carburetor

This problem is only present in older cars that do not have electronic fuel injection. You will have a carburetor in these cars that guides most of the internal combustion process. 

When damaged or clogged, it will mess up the air-fuel ratio and cause faulty electronic fuel injection problems. 

  • Engine Control Unit Issue

The ECU does not run into problems as often and may be checked only after the earlier components are functioning correctly. 

Because an ECU is an integral part of your car and involves a lot of programming, it is best to seek professional help if a fault is suspected.