An engine stalls because it runs out of gas. No gas; no run. The contributing factors can be many, but ultimately, it’s starved for fuel.
Life’s the same. Many things can cause us to stall in our tracks. Being proactive, recognizing the signs and knowing how to correct the situation pre-empts most stalls and keeps you moving down the road.
5 reasons your engine stalls
- Out of gas. You’ve ignored the warning light telling you to fill up, forgotten you’re on reserve or simply thought you could get a few more miles out of the fumes remaining in the tank. Now you’re stranded at an inconvenient time or place.While perhaps more subtle, the warning signs your body sends need tending to just as urgently. Pushing yourself, hoping to call on those last reserves of energy to get you through can create stalls – accidents, illness and mistakes. Even a well-tuned engine needs to heed the signs and replenish the reserves. Watch for them. They’re there!
- Not enough throttle. Afraid of the power and unaccustomed to the controls, new riders are often reluctant to apply the throttle when releasing the clutch. Failure to send enough gas to the engine creates a stall. Although it could lead to a tip over, the worst that happens is usually only frustration and embarrassment – and immobility.Look for the life parallels – the situations where you’re worried about the outcome and hold back, not realizing that if you just applied the power correctly, the situation you’re fearful of will never materialize.
- Popping the clutch. Any time you change gears, you need to engage the clutch gradually for smooth acceleration or deceleration. It doesn’t have to be slow, just smooth. Most noticeable in low gears, there’s an area of resistance called the friction zone that you need to overcome by coordinating clutch and throttle. Hold back fuel and allow the resistance to dominate and you’ll jump forward and stall.Resistance appears in life any time you try something new, take a perceived risk or try to push through your comfort zone. While a few stalls while learning can be expected, letting it get the best of you immobilizes you where you are.
- Electrical issues. Wiring is the communications system of an engine. Worn wires, a sensor that’s come loose or faulty equipment can stop signals from getting through. If those signals control the flow of gas to the engine, at best it will run roughly. At worst, you’ll stall.Misunderstandings, failing to clarify details or proceeding on faulty information will do the same to you in life.
- Change. If everything runs fine one day and stalls the next, look for what’s changed. Usually it’s something right in front of your eyes, so obvious that it gets missed. It doesn’t take much to create a stall and it can be just as simple to fix – if you know where to look. Think about what you were doing when all was fine, then retrace your actions to look for the change.
The consequences of engine stalls range from mere annoyance to engine wear and putting yourself in harm’s way. Be patient with yourself when trying something new. Learn to understand why stalls occur, recognize the contributing factors and the early warning signs – and take corrective action so you don’t have to deal with a stall.