Chevy Truck Starts But Won’t Stay Running: 10 Reasons With Solutions

My Chevy truck starts but won’t stay running: have you ever faced this situation? In the article below, we will answer why this happens and what you can do about it.

If your vehicle starts for a few seconds and then suddenly shuts down, there can be various reasons behind this. 

For instance, if there is an issue with the ignition switch or system, you will face such a problem. The reasons can be a faulty spark plug, malfunction of the throttle body and EGR valve, Engine coolant temperature sensor, or vacuum leak. 

You must thoroughly investigate various components inside the car to find the root cause of the problem and solve it accordingly.

Chevy Truck Starts But Won't Stay Running

Why Does My Vehicle Starts But won’t Stay Running?

#1. Issues In Spark Plug 

A bad or foul spark plug can affect the engine’s performance significantly. It cannot burn the air-fuel mixture at the right time, and thus you will experience low mileage and misfiring of the engine. Your vehicle can also start for a few seconds and then stops to run.


The spark may be weak or insufficient to burn the air-fuel mixture. So, check the spark plug thoroughly. You can follow the below procedures.

  • Remove each spark plug of your check and check one by one thoroughly.
  • A spark that looks brownish or grayish tan indicates that it burns the air-fuel mixture properly. But if the spark plug looks some other color, it means ignition or fuel issues.
  • If you find the spark plug wet, it can be because of oil leakage or insufficient fuel reaching the combustion chamber.
  • The wires of the sparkplug and ignition coil can go wrong with time. So, check them. 
  • Check with the distributor cap to know whether there are cracks or carbon particles.
  • Simultaneously check the electrode gap with the help of a wire gauge and compare it with the manual.

Also read: The right Allen wrench size for Chevy brake calipers

#2. Issues In the Fuel System

The work of the fuel system is to store and provide fuel to the combustion chamber so that it will burn along with air and provide the necessary power to the engine.

It comprises various components like fuel pumps, carburetors, fuel injectors, fuel filters, and fuel lines. All the parts should work adequately for the proper running of the engine.

Problems in the fuel system can be why the vehicle engine starts for a short time and then suddenly stops.


  • Remove the air cleaner outlet pipe from the throttle.
  • Request one friend to start the vehicle.
  • Spray some carburetor cleaner on the throttles as soon as the engine starts.
  • If the engine remains idle for a few moments, then there can be issues with the fuel supply.

The issues can be with the fuel pump, fuel injectors, crankshaft position sensor, fuel pressure regulator, or engine coolant temperature sensor.

You can start with the fuel filter. Remove the filter and start blowing air in the fuel flow direction. If the air finds it difficult to flow, then there can be issues with the fuel filter. You can replace a new filter to get rid of the solution.

If the fuel pump works perfectly, then check the crankshaft position sensor. The work of this sensor is to detect the position of the crankshaft.

It even decides how much the valve will open to supply air and fuel inside the chamber. It sends all this information to the ECU. The ECU then determines the timing of the spark or sprays the proper amount of fuel.

Also read: What Is The Right Sized Torx Bit For Chevy Brakes?

Chevy Truck Starts But Won't Stay Running

You can easily check the working of the crankshaft sensor. Check the tachometer when the engine is in running condition. If the rpm remains at zero, there is some fault in the crankshaft position sensor.

A bad sensor can result in the engine starting for some time and suddenly stopping it. If you find it faulty, then replace it with a new one.

Weak fuel pressure can also cause the car engine to become unstable. Connect the pressure gauge and allow the engine to run in idling conditions for a few minutes.

If your vehicle’s fuel system starts to drop pressure, there are issues with the fuel pump. Take your car to the nearest mechanic and replace the fuel pump with a new one if needed.

Also read – How to work with Chevy truck rear end interchange?

#3. Issue In Ignition Switch

If you have checked the vehicle’s fuel supply system and it works well, then you must check the ignition switch. There are various electrical contacts inside the ignition switch. These contacts can wear out with time. 

In order to check the ignition switch, you need to follow the below procedure.

  • Your first duty is to locate the ignition switch, which is usually present behind the lock cylinder. You need to remove the cover of the steering column or dash panel to find the ignition switch.
  • Check the car manual to ensure the presence of the ignition switch of your vehicle.
  • Press both the ignition switch and electrical connector at a time and try to start the engine.
  • Suppose you observe that the engine is starting but remaining in idling condition while pressing the ignition switch and electrical connector. In that case, there are issues with the ignition switch contacts. You have to connect it properly to get rid of the solution.

Also read – Why Chevy Colorado might not be going into park?

#4. Issues In Throttle Body 

The throttle body is present in between the intake manifold and the air filter. The main work of the throttle body is to control the amount of air that needs to be entered inside the combustion chamber.

It usually comprises a butterfly valve that revolutes on the shaft. When you press the accelerator, the butterfly valve opens and allows a certain amount of air to enter the combustion chamber. When you release the accelerator, the butterfly valves close and lock a certain amount of air in the combustion chamber. 

Thus throttle body is responsible for controlling the engine speed of the vehicle. But the throttle can have carbon build up with time. It decreases efficiency and can also be responsible for shutting off the engine after starting for a few seconds.

You will also find a throttle position sensor attached to the throttle body. The work of this sensor is to detect the position of the butterfly valve and send the information accordingly to the ECU. 

A defect in the sensor sends the wrong information to the ECU, and thus it may lean the air-fuel mixture. It dramatically affects the engine’s performance, and in the worst cases, your engine may stall.


You can clean the throttle body with the help of a carburetor cleaner. If the sensor is bad, replace it with a new one.

#5. Faulty Canister Vent Valve

The evaporative emission control system is now a common feature in almost all vehicles and prevents the fuel vapors produced in the fuel tank from releasing into the atmosphere.

The work of the canister vent valve is to redirect the fuel vapors from the fuel tank into the canister and then to the combustion chamber, where it will burn by the spark plug, just like normal fuel. The main benefit of this valve is to lessen the consumption of fuel. 

It operates electrically and is also known as a solenoid. But if the valve will not work at the correct time or is stuck by dust and dirt, then it creates a problem. Your engine can become unstable because of the bad canister valve.


Clean the canister valve from time to time. If it is poorly damaged, then you need to replace the valve.

#6. Faulty PCV (Positive crankcase ventilation)valve

Whenever the air-fuel mixture is burnt inside the combustion chamber, the waste gases are liberated outside the atmosphere by the exhaust system. 

But some of these waste gases go into the crankcase and piston, where it mixes with oil and produces oil sludge which can damage seals and cause oil leakage. 

Secondly, these waste gases can cause high pressure in the crankcase, which can blow away the gaskets. So PCV valve is present in modern cars, directing waste gases from the crankcase to the intake manifold.

But the valve can get stuck with the time and allows too much air to enter inside the intake manifold; consequently, the engine becomes unstable.


Check the PCV valve from time to time. You can check it easily with your hand. Remove it and shake it for a few seconds. If it does not produce any noise, there is some issue with the valve.

Chevy Truck Starts But Won't Stay Running

#7. Problems with Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor

The work of the ECT sensor is to send information to the ECU about the engine temperature. Consequently, the ECU will adjust the spark timing and air-fuel mixture for the smooth running of the engine.

But if the ECT sensor goes bad, then wrong information will be sent to the ECU, and thus the air-fuel mixture ac become lean. It directly affects the engine performance and results in poor acceleration. 

The engine may even start for seconds and suddenly shut down because of a faulty Engine coolant temperature sensor.


  • Find the ECT sensor of your vehicle.
  • Remove the ECT sensor connector when the engine is in off condition.
  • Take a multimeter and set in its ohms, and measure the resistance of the ECT sensor electrical connector.
  • Install the ECT sensor connector.
  • Allow the engine to run at idle for 15-20 minutes
  • Measure the resistance of the ECT sensor connector.
  • Compare the resistance when the connector is cold and when it is hot.
  • Remember, the resistance value should be lower when the ECT sensor connector is hot than cold.
  • Now compare your results with the manual.

Additionally, if your ECT sensor has faults, it will trigger the check engine light. If the ECT sensor works fine in the test, but the check engine light is illuminated, you have to check the circuit between the computer and the sensor. Sometimes the worn-out wire can be a reason for engine stall.

#8. Fault In EGR Valve

The main work of the EGR valve is to redirect some of the exhaust gases back into the intake manifold, which significantly helps reduce the engine temperature and prevent polluted gases from being released into the atmosphere.

But the EGR valve can have carbon deposits with time and finally results in blocking. It causes the engine to become unstable after starting for a few minutes.


  • Locate the valve. It is usually present near the exhaust pipe.
  • Most valves are pretty challenging to uninstall. So, ensure you have all tools for removing the EGR valve.
  • Once you remove it, clean it with carburetor cleaner to remove all carbon deposits.
  • Reinstall it by using a new gasket.

#9. Faulty Catalytic Converter

The work of a catalytic converter is to convert harmful gases into less harmful ones before being released into the atmosphere. But it can develop cracks with time or get damaged badly. Hence you will experience less engine power, low acceleration, and a rotten egg smell.


If the catalytic converter is faulty, you must replace it with a new one. But replacing the catalytic converter is a bit expensive.

#10.Vacuum Leak Issue

Your engine may shut off after running for a few minutes because of a vacuum leak problem. The leakage can happen because of damaged gaskets and hoses.


  • You must all the vacuum pipes thoroughly.
  • Trace every pipe with your hand to find any leakage. Remember, leakage usually produces a hissing noise.
Chevy Truck Starts But Won't Stay Running

Fault Codes

Few fault codes can define the problem correctly.

  • P0300 – P0312

It defines errors in the ignition system. So, try to check the sparkplug and its wires, and then again check the code. If the code still exists, then check the ignition coil.

  • P0335 – P0339

It defines an error in the crankshaft position sensor. Check the sensor and then again check the code.

  • P0400 – P0409

A fault in the EGR valve will show this code. You can uninstall the valve, clean it and install it again. You can then check the code.

  • P0500 – P0511

The error represents the malfunctioning of the throttle body and sensors attached to it. You need to clean the carbon deposits settled on the butterfly valve and recheck the code.

  • P0087 -P0094

This code represents a problem in the injection system. So, check the injection system of the car and then check the code.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. What would cause a Chevy Silverado to shut off while driving?

Your Chevy Silverado can shut off while driving because of several reasons. For instance, if there is an issue with the ignition system, the engine will shut off immediately after running for a few seconds. Well, there are other reasons, too, which we are listing below

  • Dead battery
  • Faulty alternator
  • Malfunctioning of the fuel system
  • Bad catalytic converter
  • The issue with the EGR valve
Chevy Truck Starts But Won't Stay Running

#2. Why is my Chevy Silverado stalling out

Your Chevy Silverado may stall out because of various possible reasons. We are listing some of them below.

  • Bad EGR valve
  • The bad crankshaft position sensor
  • Malfunctioning of the throttle body
  • Faulty ignition system
  • Malfunctioning of ECV valve

#3. How do I get my Silverado out of limp mode?

You need to disconnect the Silverado battery and allow the vehicle to sit for almost 30 minutes. Now connect the battery once again and then check the limp mode. If it appears, then it indicates something serious.

Wrap Up

The car engine shutting down after running for a few seconds is quite frustrating. There are various reasons behind this problem. You have to thoroughly check various components to know the root cause of the problem and accordingly solve it.

If you don’t know much about car components, it’s better to take the help of any professional mechanic to find out the leading cause of the problem.

Thank you for reading this article.

Photo of author

Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

Leave a Comment