Car stalled then brake light and battery light came on

  • 4 CYL
  • 213,000 MILES
Yesterday while I was driving my car stalled. The car shut down and I was unable to turn the steering wheel. The brake light and battery light came on. I threw the car in park and put my hazard lights on. I turned the ignition key to the off position. I sat in the car for about 2 seconds. Put my foot on the brake (which felt like the brake pedal had rose up a bit if that makes sense) and started the car up. The car immediately started up and ran like normal. I drove home and the lights did not come back on. What do you think is the issue? Thank you in advance!
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Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 AT 12:21 PM

1 Reply

First of all you must understand you will never lose the brakes or steering when the engine stalls. Way too many people still think that so they don't even try, then they crash. All you will lose is the power assist. If that doesn't make sense, practice turning the engine off in a deserted parking lot, then steering and stopping the car. If you really would lose the ability to steer and stop, you'd be hearing about serious crashes all the time, because stalling engines are very common.

The warning lights most likely turned on in response to the engine not running. The "Battery" light means the generator is not recharging the battery. The engine has to be running for the generator to do its thing. The "Brake" light is supposed to turn on when the engine isn't running yet as a way for you to check that the bulb is good.

The only concern is why the engine stalled. Idle speed that's too low can cause that as you approach a stop sign, but when it occurs while you're driving, it's usually due to a failing sensor, most commonly a crankshaft position sensor or a camshaft position sensor. They often fail when they get warm, then work again when they cool down for an hour. It's rare to be able to restart the engine after just a few seconds. If this happens again, hopefully it will last long enough for the Engine Computer to set a diagnostic fault code. If it does, you can have them read and recorded at most auto parts stores. The people at many of those stores will read the codes for you for free.
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Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 AT 12:56 PM

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