One day, I was driving my car and pressed the brakes. However, instead of stopping, my car shut down. I managed to coast to a stop on the side of the road. Thankfully, there wasn’t any traffic and I wasn’t injured. However, I had no idea what caused my car to shut down like that and it got me to do some research.
It turns out that the most common reason leading to the car shutting down when the brakes are pressed is caused by a faulty brake booster. Other reasons may include a line obstruction, transmission problems, a restricted EGR valve, a faulty fuel pump, a leaking brake fluid, or a faulty idle air control actuator.
I started researching and found that the most likely reason the car shuts down when brakes are pressed is when there is a problem with the brake booster, but fortunately, it’s not that difficult to get it fixed. There are other less likely reasons as well that I’ll be covering below.
What Are the Reasons Behind Your Car Shutting off When the Brakes Are Pressed?
Here are several reasons behind your car shutting off when the brakes are pressed:
- faulty brake booster
- brake line system obstruction
- transmission system problems
- restricted EGR valve
- faulty fuel pump
- leaking brake fluid
- faulty idle air control actuator
If your car is shutting off when you press the brakes, there’s a good chance that the brake booster is faulty. The brake booster is responsible for providing extra force to the brakes without the need for extra force to be applied to the foot pedal. It does this by using vacuum pressure. It is located between the brake pedal and the master cylinder.
When you step on the brake pedal, it pushes against the booster, which then uses vacuum pressure to push fluid from the master cylinder into your braking system. If the brake booster isn’t working properly, it can receive too much vacuum from the engine, thus causing your vehicle to shut down.
There are a few different ways to fix a faulty brake booster, but one of the most effective methods is to replace it with a new one, costing you anywhere from $325 to $1250. This will ensure that your car can be stopped safely and effectively again in no time. If fixing the brake booster doesn’t help, there could be something wrong with your brake line system.
Brake Line System Obstruction
If your car suddenly shuts off when you press the brakes, it’s likely due to a brake line obstruction. The brake line system is responsible for transferring the pressure in the brake lines to the brakes when you step on the pedals, providing stopping power for your car or truck.
The brake line system is a vital part of your vehicle’s braking system. It consists of a series of tubes and hoses that carry pressurized brake fluid from the master cylinder to the individual brakes at each wheel.
Over time, though, those same lines can become corroded or damaged, reducing their effectiveness and potentially causing problems with your vehicle’s braking performance. Either way, this is not something that should be ignored as it could lead to serious accidents.
The best solution is to have a professional check and repair your braking system as soon as possible, which will cost you around $250 to $500 per brake line. In the meantime, however, you can try pumping your brakes gently to see if that clears the obstruction and allows your car to function normally again.
If not, then avoid using your brakes until they’ve been fixed properly, and make sure to drive slowly and carefully. If fixing your brake line system doesn’t help with stopping your car from shutting down when the brakes are pressed, there could be a problem with your car’s transmission system.
Transmission System Problems
An issue with your car’s transmission system can lead to your car shutting off when the brakes are pressed. Your car’s transmission is responsible for transferring power from the engine to the wheels. It does this by using a series of gears that increase or decrease the amount of torque being applied to the wheels.
The transmission is also responsible for shifting gears as you accelerate or decelerate, which helps keep your engine operating at its most efficient speed. When there is a failure in the transmission system, the most common cause is simply wear-and-tear, as, over time, the parts in the system will begin to break down and degrade, causing them to eventually fail.
Another possible cause could be poor maintenance or improperly installed parts. One solution to help prevent transmission problems from occurring is regular maintenance and inspection of your car’s transmission system.
This way you can identify any potential issues early on and have them repaired by a qualified mechanic for the cost of around $2000 to $3000. If fixing the transmission still doesn’t help solve the problem, then it could be an issue with the EGR valve.
Restricted EGR Valve
A non-working EGR valve can cause your car to shut off when the brakes are pressed. Your car’s EGR valve is responsible for recirculating exhaust gases back into the engine. This helps to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency.
The reason your EGR valve can cause your car to shut off when the brakes are pressed is due to the EGR valves become restricted when there is a build-up of soot and other particles over time. When you press the brake, the pressure from the pedal pushes these contaminants back into the engine, causing it to stall.
One way to clean your restricted EGR valve is to use an aerosol-like spray, such as the Carburetor Cleaner, once a week on it or as needed. You can also remove it and physically clean it with a wire brush to make sure there isn’t any built-up debris inside of it affecting its function.
If that doesn’t help, and you think your EGR valve may be damaged or needs to be replaced, have it checked and replaced by a professional mechanic for around $250 to $350. If fixing the EGR valve doesn’t help out with the problem, there could be an issue with your fuel pump.
Faulty Fuel Pump
If there is an issue with your fuel pump, it can cause your car to shut off when you press the brakes. Your fuel pump is responsible for supplying a continuous flow of gasoline to the carburetor or fuel injection system. This continual supply maintains a constant pressure in the fuel line, which is necessary for proper engine operation.
When there is a loss of pressure in the fuel line it can prevent enough gasoline from reaching the engine, causing it to stall.
If your fuel pump is failing, one solution to this problem is to get a mechanic to install a new and reliable fuel pump for around $200 to $1000. If installing a new fuel pump still doesn’t stop your car from shutting down when you press the brakes, then it could be a problem with your brake fluid.
Leaking Brake Fluid
If your brake fluid is leaking, it could cause your car to shut off when you press the brakes. Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that helps to transfer force from the brake pedal to the brakes themselves. When the brake pedal is pressed, brake fluid delivers pressure to the brakes which then stops your vehicle.
If you notice that your car shuts off when you press down on the brake pedal, this could be due to low brake fluid levels or even a leak in your braking system.
One solution to this problem is to simply check your brake fluid levels and top them off if necessary. If you suspect that there may be a leak in your system, it’s important to have it checked out and fixed by a professional as soon as possible for around $100 to $300.
Ignoring a brake fluid leak can lead to even more significant problems down the road so it’s best to nip it in the bud. If fixing the leak in your brake fluid still doesn’t fix the problem, there could be an issue with your idle air control actuator.
Faulty Idle Air Control Actuator
If your idle air control actuator is faulty it can cause your car to shut off when you press the brakes.
An Idle air control actuator is a device that controls the engine idle speed of a vehicle. The IACA allows the engine to maintain a consistent idle speed regardless of load or temperature changes. It does this by constantly adjusting the amount of air that bypasses the throttle valve via an electronic servo motor.
The easiest way to fix this problem is to get a mechanic to replace the idle air control actuator with a new one, which will cost around $100 to $500.
Now before you go to a mechanic to get your car checked out and fixed, for all these different issues, you might be wondering if it’s possible to drive safely with your car if the car shuts down when you press on the brakes.
If your car shuts off when you press the brakes, it is no longer safe for you to drive anymore. You should immediately pull over to the side of the road and turn off the engine. Once you have done that, call a tow truck or mechanic so they can take a look at what is wrong with your vehicle.
When this happens, it is indicating of a serious problem with your vehicle, and it’s no longer safe to continue driving your vehicle until you figure out what the problem is with your vehicle and how to get it fixed by a qualified mechanic as soon as you are able.
In conclusion, the most common reason leading to the car shutting down when the brakes are pressed is caused by a faulty brake booster receiving too much vacuum from the engine and causing your vehicle to shut down.
If you’ve tried all the methods above to fix your car, then the issue with your car shutting down when the brakes are pressed should no longer be a problem.