Car just lost power while driving (0 RPM)

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I have MITS Galant 97. I was driving on a highway and suddenly car seemed
to lose all the power and pressing on gas pedal stopped having any effect with RPM meter registering 0. Battery etc lights also came up. Luckily I landed on the emergency lane. Even the parking blinkers wont come up.

After a while my brakes and power steering went dead. Had to really use all my muscles to move power steering and use emergency brakes.

Before this happened, I had sometimes seen my indicators dont blink once in a while.

1. Will battery and alternator dying can cause running car to stop?
2. Will a drained out battery have an effect on brakes and power steering.
3. If alternator is gone, what is the approx cost (price + labor) to replace it.
4. Is there any alternative to not replace the complete alternator and just fix it?

BTW one info item. I have been driving this for a while without any such problems. But this weekend I had my friends visiting me and he was contiously charging his GPS device from the car cigarette lighter.
Please help.

posted by  mitsman123

A problem with the alternator or battery shouldn't make the car stop! :screwy: I guess I honestly can't help you ...

posted by  smallangryneon

A problem with the alternator can certainly make an engine stop. If the battery isn't charging it will cease providing current to all those electrical devices required to make an engine run.

posted by  Wally

Yeah, I also did a little research and it seems an alternator has to be running to have an engine running. If alternator dies, car starts drawing power from Battery and will last till the battery dies.
All power systems dying points me to electrical system but obviously what exactly went wrong is difficult to say.

Yesterday night my car had just stalled and wont start again and I had to get it towed to home.
But today I went and it started in first go. but i am too scared to take it out on the roads thinking what will happen if engine dies again. when it stopped y'day night, I was cruisingn on freeway on left lane and luckily came to stop on left lane emergency side. Without blinkers on, I was really scared to have my car stopped blocking a little of left lane. Luckily the highway patrol came behind me in less than 3 mins.

posted by  mitsman123

Did any warning lights in the dashboard illuminated? A battery warning lamp or similar....

posted by  Cliffy

Yep ! the battery and other 2 lights came up when this happened.

posted by  mitsman123

Are you sure the Alternator belt or auxillary drive belt (drive more than one thing at a time....instead of alternator belt) are in tact? If your car has the latter, it could cause a few warning lights to come on aswell as the battery light. Often the temperature warning light will illumiate too due to the possibility of the engine overheating as the water pump is not being driven, and hence cutting the water supply to half of the engine thus causing it to boil up. My appologies if not all of this makes sense, but I'm tired, lol :sleep:

posted by  Cliffy

When the engine stops, chances are there will be a few warning lights:wink2:

posted by  Wally

heres the key question, did you have any recent repair work done, or install anything? and did you have any warning lights on before the thing died, most new vehicles if the car dies while your on the highway the first thing you do is look down and see most of the warning lamps on, so if it runs now what do all your guages say, and any warning indicators on while it is running?

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

Before going out and getting an alternator pull it out and take it down to Autozone they will test it for free... If the lights came on and a few seconds later the car died it does not sound like the alternator.. becouse usually when the alternator dies the battery light comes on and you have about 10 minutes left to drive the car unless you have like a 1,000,000,000,000 watt system in your car.

Even if the serpentine belt broke you would lose your powersteering, and your engine would overheat but for your car to just quit is weird...

Also make sure to check all your wiring.. Check your battery posts to see if they are coroded and check all your fuses.

I dont know I am confuzled.... :banghead:

posted by  EvilPodAE

- Yes, there were battery and couple of other lights on when my engine stopped running.
- No, there werent any more abnormal lights when car could start again yesterday.
- There were no repairs etc done.
- For last two days I was using the cigarette lighter to power GPS and that was the only difference.
- I drove for a while and went to the mechanic. But after talking to Mechanic it refused to start again but engine did crank after turning the keys.

Here is from visit to Mechanic:

Ok ! I took it to the mechanic and he checked alternator and battery and they were all just fine.

Then I drove it for a minute and after that it just refused to start. After truning the keys to run, the engine was crancking but looked like there wasnt

any spark and car didnt start.

He said that this looks like a Starter (distributor/motor) problem and asked me to leave the car with him so that he can diagnose everything step by step.

My question is:

Can a starter (ignition system) problem can make a running Car stop??

If yes, than it might be indeed a starter problem. He also said that it might be a bigger issue in the ignitiion system with big buck spending. (600$) ?

Do you have any opiions on this? I need to make a decision with him by tomorrow.

posted by  mitsman123

the starter motors only job is to turn the engine over. If the engine turns over your starter is (generally) okay (there is more involved but i don't think it pertains to your circumstance). The starter motor would not cause the car to stall if it were already running. This would be the cause of an ignition or fuel problem. Was the battery light or any other light flickering at any time when the vehicle was running. When the vehicle doesn't start, can you hear the fuel pump kick on (a humming noise coming from the back seat?)

posted by  carls47807

Just to clarify, the starter is not part of the Ignition System. The starter is part of the Starting System.

The starter has nothing to do with what caused your problem. It has no affect going towards what happened to your car on the interstate. As far as being an electrical issue, yes, far more than likely. But all of your symptoms as far as warning lights coming on, no powersteering, no power brakes, no power, ect, it sounds like...well your engine cut off that one night.

My guesses would be coil or fuel pump.

posted by  67Coronet383

On the expensive side it could be a fuel pump... Infact it probably is. Could it be an internal engine problem? Possibly?

posted by  EvilPodAE

The alternator spins, causing power to flow into the battery. The battery, in turn, relays that power to the rest of the car. Therefor, an alternator failure won't cause a car to stop running; a battery failure will. If the alternator fails, the car will continue running until the battery ceases to generate current.

The car must have electricity to generate a spark via the spark plug; without the spark, no ignition occures.

1: Check your belts. Some cars have v-belts, others have serpentine belts. If they look intact and all the pullies have belts going around them, you're fine. If a/the belt is missing, that's bad. Some cars have a cut-off feature at a certain temperature whereas if the engine gets too hot, it'll shut off the car completly; electrical and all.

2: Check the battery terminal to see if it's loose. I'v had a terminal slip off of my car when I was driving and the entire works came to a hault. A loose terminal can cause all sorts of happy wierdness to occur.

3: If 1 and 2 are ok, check the acid levels in the battery or if it's very old, replace the battery outright. As draw increases on any fixed power source or a fixed power source fails, voltage output can decrease draumatically, causing all sorts of failures of computer equipment. The main thing that causes a starter to turn is amperage, not voltage; the main thing that causes a computer to work is voltage, not amperage. So if the battery is putting out enough amperage but not enough voltage the ECU won't kick in but the starter will, causing the car not to run.

posted by  Gwokable

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