Engine shuts down while driving...


Asked by Jun 02, 2008 at 06:33 PM about the 1998 Honda Accord EX Coupe

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

1998, 5 spd, 4 cyl, engine shuts down while driving between 20 and 60 MPH.  I know it's going to happen when i feel the car lose power and the gas won't feed, about 3 seconds later everything shuts down.  I pull over and wait a few minutes and she starts right up and keeps going.  Really weird.  No other problems.  Runs fabulously.    There is an after-market intake system on it, funky air filter may need cleaned?

38 Answers


You could have a clogged converter, when it gets hot it chokes the engine. On the other hand, it is more likely that you have a bad fuel pump. Same deal, when it gets hot, it stops working. Lastly, ignition distributors are bad about going out. Run your car in the driveway until it stalls. The pull a plug wire off, put and old spark plug in it, and hold it so the end is by the motor, like a bolt, and have a friend crank it. You will see a spark if the distributor is ok.

31 out of 31 people think this is helpful.

could be a bad ignition switch honda has put out a TSB for for the switch... check with a dealer to see if your car falls in the VIN range.

33 out of 33 people think this is helpful.

Check the TPS and MAF. If either one of those are bad or not connected it could cause the car to stall under heavy acceleration. Im not a professional, so dont quote me. I have some experience but I am not a technician.

14 out of 14 people think this is helpful.

These hondas have a couple of things that will cause this, it is either the distriutor, the ignition switch starting to go bad, or the EFI main relay. the relay is the first step cause it is cheap 20 to 30 bucks from honda, the distributor is about 600 bucks and from my time at the shop dont try an aftermarket rebuilt, hondas dont like them and then you got to go to honda for the real one anyway. if it is the ignition switch just jiggle the key while the car is running, if it dies you are out about 100 bucks for the switch.

33 out of 33 people think this is helpful.

I agree with Joshua on this one. My Accord had a similar problem, except it would not start sometimes as well. Moisture was getting into the starter cap and affecting everything inside. Just replaced the cap and assembly inside and works well once again. Was about 150 to 200 dollars I think. I don't think its your intake. I have one as well and if your filter was dirty, you would notice poor performance before it would shut down your car. Who knows until you actually give it a try. Hope someones advice helped!

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.

i have a 99 accord and it recent blowed the ecu/ cruise control fuse i changed it then it blew it again but after awhile it stop blowing well now it runs great but when i go to get down on it it dont seem to have the power it should idk what it could be before that fused blowed it ran good but ever since it did the mph gauge dont work and the engine light doesnt not even come on for the 2 sec it should and it use to stay on cause of the cat but i knew that and also the ignition has been shutting off on me like u just turn it off yourself idk what it could be i was thinking it was in the ignition i need help with it

12 out of 12 people think this is helpful.

my honda does this weird stall thing when i sit in traffic, it doesnt completely turn off it just sputters. its so hard to explain but you can hear the engine working like twice as hard. i havent done anything to fix anything yet

53 out of 53 people think this is helpful.

I have a 199 8 Honda Accord with a four cylinder it runs fine at times but sometimes it will shut down and won't start back up and when it do start back up it just hurt her and act like you're starving for Air are gas

37 out of 37 people think this is helpful.

My 1998 Accord will shut itself off while I'm driving it. Have checked with Honda and there was a recall on the ignition switch (already replaced previously via recall) but the tech did say the ignition switch is a "wearable" part and could be going bad again. Parts and Labor $195-$205... will be taking it down later this week... will let you know if this was the problem or not. Another thing that can cause this is the key... it's a proximity key and if the car "loses" contact with the key it will turn itself off. New key... ~$30 Hope this helps...

24 out of 24 people think this is helpful.

Mindy pls update us thank u. I just had this issue yesterday. Engine shuts off randomly while driving and even while parked. Distributor replaced, did tune up, tranny fluid flush... I guess tomorrow I'll get the ignition switch fixed and the relay. No mechanic can pin point the issue So i have to try each one out as trial /error...sux... Btw no check engine light on. And when the car shuts off i noticed under the hood is kinda hot compare to usual and sometimes i have to put more water or coolant

26 out of 26 people think this is helpful.

When I drive my car it will jerk while Im driving slow down real slow and then take off and cutts off. Sometimes it will crank back up and sometimes I have wait a while then it will crank...I have replace the cadiallic converter, map sensor, and a fuel injection and fill car up. And no one can pin point the problem...Any suggestion ???

60 out of 60 people think this is helpful.

I have a 99 Honda accord and while I was driving on the freeway. It died for have a second the started back up. It was freaky. As soon as I got off. It died completely and I had to pull over and restarted again. And I made it home with no further problems. I installed underglow neon and subs a while ago. But reading other responses it could be different. Can someone help me out what this could be?

39 out of 39 people think this is helpful.

Same thing happened to my honda crv 1998 i replaced 2 electric parts inside the distributer everything is ok now

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.

I was driving my 91 accord ex down road in the city in second gear about 10mph. Car just shuts off on me and doesn't start back up at all.... I've replaced distributor my main relay is fine.. New plugs new wires. And car still doesn't ever want to start.... What could be my problem??? I'm a Chevy person not a import type of guy... I'm lost at this. First import I've ever owned. Help me out please

23 out of 23 people think this is helpful.

I'm having same problem with 95 accord I replace fuel filter and found out that I was losing spark and would start when randomly get spark. I repaced coil dist cap and rotor and I still have shut off problem . my next move might be igniter but still not sure. I'm getting tired of the time and money I'm throwing at this car. Help!!!

23 out of 23 people think this is helpful.

I own a 1992 Honda accord mine died on me driving one night....wouldn't start back up...I did everything this page suggested fuel pump, fuel filter ,battery terminal, spark plugs, valve cover gaskets , fuel relay, distributor checked all fuses...all in all $330.00 did all the work myself...and it still don't want to start...you can hear that she wants too....I like the car only 170,000 ...but im stumped its a black hole for money

26 out of 26 people think this is helpful.

the same thing happens to my 2001 hyundai elantra but the mechanic said it was because a malfunction with the crankshaft positioning sensor

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

I have 1996 Honda accord it will work fine and also it will stop pulling if I put my car neutral and turn offs and cranky back up and start back working fine now it want pull at all

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

My 1998 Honda Accord had the same random shutting off problem. After $400 of wires, distributor,spark plugs and the O2 sensor. The issue continued.Joshua your post was right on the money. I jiggled my key and the car shut off. Installed a new ignition switch and BINGO! The car runs like it should. Thanks

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.

i have a 1995 honda odyssey, and some times wen driving, start feel weak and shut off, and after some minutes is possible starting again and drive, but feel weak, if i push the gas pedal shut off, i have to let go slow and i can run far but if i try to drive as normal good conditions goin off, i change the distributor cap an rotor but still do same thing, so am still looking for a solution to this issue.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.

95-civic dx- b18 non-vtec 1) Motor ran very good but once I got hot and was turned off it would not start back up until at room temperature Have a good buddy in which I just did his BA team swap so I buy his own EC you for his Honda that I had different realtor but it plug-and-play in my car all are waiting on the other to get sent back. Have a good buddy in which I just did his BA team swap so I buy his old EC you for his Honda that I had different realtor but it plug-and- play in my car all I waiting on the other to get sent back was just curious what causes this problem as far as engine not starting back up as supposed to ??????

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Noticed for 1 year my 1999 Honda Accord was shutting off while driving in traffic at top speed and so forth. It was told to Pep Boyz where by my starter was changed, wires and s.plugs. it ran great w/o shutting off for 2-3 mths. It shut off last week, still starts up and will run and I can drive it but I know it will shut down whenever. I contacted a mechanic who worked for my husband 15-20 yrs ago. soon as I told him IMMEDIATELY SAID IT'S YOUR D.CAP. HONDA IS KNOWN FOR THIS PROBLEM. HE LOOKED UNDER THE HOOD AND SAID SEE ITS LEAKING. HE DIDN'T SAY IT COULD BE ANYTHING ELSE. *** I WILL CHECK THE IGNITION SWITCH AND IF SHUTS OFF, I WILL CALL HONDA TO SEE IF THERE IS A RECALL ON THE IGNITION SWITCH. *** when I get work done, I will let the site know how I made out.

17 out of 17 people think this is helpful.


9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2000 Honda Accord and I was having a problem starting it . I would have to beat on my steering wheel to get it to start . So I did a full tune up I also replace the ignition switch and I still had the problem it would also shut off while driving so long story short it ended up being my main relay .. 50 bucks and the car starts like new

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

I have a 1995 Honda accord ex. I'm reading over all the post, my car is having the same issues. Replaced the relay switch, replaced fuel pump. Still won't start.. Starting to think they are LEMONS!!! Money pit of a never ending cycle... Help!!!


I know exactly what it is. Some people's problems may be different but I have had about 10 Honda's in my life and 4 of them had the same issue. I'm driving down the road could be doing 10 miles per hour or 80 and the car just shuts off and all the switches go down it's an automatic car so I pop it in neutral turn the switch to start it again usually works put it back in drive and just keep on going. When it don't work I simply turn the key again and then it will work. The simple answer to this is your main relay assembly. AutoZone sells them for about $56 and they are usually in stock. The odd thing is that when the AutoZone rep was looking for it the same part number and pictures came up under various names like: main relay, relay assembly,fuel relay assembly, relay- accessory power, and relay-multi purpose. The part # I got from del auto zone is: 19236. All maid by DIFf Co which is why I think they label them different. You can (or anyone slightly knowledgeable about cars/electronics can do it. The "relay box" is a small 4' w/h and is changed inside ur car, just tk the old wired out to disconnect and then reconnect the wires to new relay. Mine looks like its in the area above my fuses when I tk the fuse door ofd. Some yrs/models r in DIFf areas. I think in my other civic I had to actually remove the large plastic price covering up the inside electrical stuff under the area on driving side under starring wheel. Unless u can get back there far enuf to reach and change it. In the 6+(?) Times my Hondas hv done this, this was ALWAYS my first solution and it ALWAYS WORKED. Background info they may help..... had accords, civics, crx, everyone was 8+yrs old, prob 3 or 3 was over 10 yrs. It's nothing u did and nothin u can prevent (unless u chanel it before u hv the aymptoms) it's just a "defect" that 94% of older hondas get. If u must.... YouTube a video on changing the peice. Evn a non- mechanical female shld b able to follow the directions....as long as the teacher is good. Anyway, Goodluck and before spending loads of money.... do this first I GUARANTEE THAT AT LEAST 96% OF THIS ISSUE WILL BE CORRECTED BY FIXING THIS RELAY. Good luck, and replies on how it qrkd wld b great. Not a mechanic but know some stuff so msg me if u ever can't find ur answer elsewhere .

14 out of 14 people think this is helpful.

95 CD5 Accord, starting and stalling issues, car starts and runs fine, but when I turn my headlights on car labours, car later stalls when driving at 11k and hour or 100 or stationary in driveway. new dissy cap, rotor and coil, new ignite, new main relay, new fuel pump, new plugs and wires, still having this issue, no injector pulse when car isn't starting, exchange ecu, engine light goes off but still wont start, main thing is when the engine light is on it has issues and wont start but if engine light is off car starts and runs fine, anyone got any ideas?

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

I FOUND THE ANSWER. I was having the same problem with engine shutting off while driving. I talked to a mechanic and he said this was a common problem with Honda's. He had me replace the Main Relay. I was able to purchase it at Autozone for $47 and it only took two minutes to put in. Problem was solved.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

I am having the same shutting down problem I have changed the fuel pump fuel pump relay the distributor,computer,fuel filter,ignition fuse car will run good you take off drive for 5 Minutes and the car shuts down like it loosed all power or like it runs out of gas any ideas

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2002 Honda accord 4 cyl.y car runs and shuts off it was restarting but now it won't restart. It's not the ignition switch cause we tested the spark plug and it got spark. Any idea's??

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I have a 1998 Honda Accord, for awhile my car would just randomly not start, I would drive somewhere & stop somewhere for and errand and it would turn over and not start back up, then I'd wait maybe 5-10 minutes and it would start right back up. Now not only does it do that, it cuts off when I'm driving & it doesn't matter the speed or the temperature because it shuts off regardless of how fast or slow and how hot or cold, it just shuts off. When it shuts off, I lose power steering & as soon as that starts to happen I put it in Neutral, park it for 5-10 minutes and it will start right back up like nothing happened. We have taken it to 2 mechanics & neither can tell us what is wrong. The check engine light came on while all of this has been going on so we had it checked & it is saying the Catalytic Converter needs to be replaced. I've read comments on a few other websites like this and others have written that their Hondas also shut off or didn't start randomly & once they replaced the Catalytic Converter, all the issues went away. I'm crossing my fingers that the issue will be fixed, I ordered a Walker Catalytic Converter from Amazon for about $65.00. All you have to do is put in the year, make, & model of your vehicle and they'll tell you whether or not it will fit your car. Here's the link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000C945PK/ref=ya_st _dp_summary It should be here in a few days and once we have installed it and tested my car, I'll submit an update to advise whether or not it fixed my car. I hope this helps someone.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Got my 1st gen honda crv-98 model, the problem is when I had a long drive then had to slow down due to traffic, I noticed the rpm gauge goes to zero and engine stops..all I do is to shift to P, aircon off and start the engine quickly and it will start again...I'm really upset with this routine and hopefully have an answer to have a smooth driving. Thanks!

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

If you are hearing the key in the ignition signal when the car shuts off, it is most likely the keyway has worn down, and is actually turning the car off. A dead stall, is most likely the fuel pump relay switch.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I first want to say thank you for all your answers. My wife has a 2002 Honda Accord v6 it was shutting down while she drove it at 20 or 60 mph. Then wait about 10 mins and would start again and then she drive about 5 to 6 miles and it would do the same over again. The service manager at the Honda dealer suggested we replace the ( Fuel Main Relay) I bought it at the Honda parts cost about $90.00 replaced it myself and its been running like a champ. The does not shut off anymore. That's where I would start. Hope this answer helps you all.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

1996 Honda Accord shut off while driving at high speed. Coasted to shoulder of highway, turned key off, waited a moment, turned key on, car started right up and drove off. Replaced distributor with its internal coil. On those old Hondas, the igniter and coil will go bad. Problem fixed. The other alternative was ignition switch, however, you can tell if it's the ignition switch by jiggling the key while running. If jiggling doesn't turn the car off, it's likely not the switch.

Racerfirl15 was right. Problem was Main Relay. Mine had a broken solder. I re-soldered all the contact points and problem was fixed. Thank you for your post. BTW, my vehicle is a 2003 Honda Pilot EXl with 203k miles. With all the other issues that I have had with this vehicle (CEL, power steering, etc), I almost gave it up. Thanks to your post, it is working perfectly again (so far).


Just wanted to say Thank you for all the Great answers for this question. I bought my Honda Accord 20 years ago. It is an Awesome car. Gave it to my granddaughter who just turned 18 last year. I got the accord about 5 months before she was born. It has started doing the dying while going 10 to 60 miles an hour thing. I have sent her to this page and hope she can find the answers here. Thanks again for helping.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2004 Honda CRV. Last week when passing on the freeway (maybe 70mph) it suddenly lost all power. Speed dropped, gas pedal would do nothing, but it was still running. Moved into slow lane on momentum and then suddenly pedal came back to life and continued driving normally. Scared to go fast, kept it in 50 and it went fine. Thought maybe it was something in the fuel line and it seemed to go away. But today it happened again. Same thing, lost power momentarily at speed on freeway, then came back. Didn't need to touch key, didn't need to shift to neutral or anything. Is this the distributor problem mentioned or a relay or ? I assume not the key as you don't need to touch that... thanks for any input

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