2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Shuts Off while Driving [9 Easy Solutions]

The main reasons behind the 2004 jeep grand Cherokee shuts off while driving are an empty fuel tank, dead battery, bad alternator, faulty fuel pump, bad ignition switch, faulty crankshaft sensor, failing mass air flow sensor, bad spark plugs, and damaged ECU.

Keep reading this article to find out more about these issues and learn how you can fix them to get your jeep Cherokee up and running again. We’ll also discuss some safety procedures you should follow when your vehicle dies on you. Let’s dive in!

2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Shuts Off While Driving [9 Easy Solutions]

Your jeep Cherokee turning off while driving is a serious safety hazard and can lead to an accident as you’ll have incredible difficulty in controlling it. Here are the most common reasons why a jeep shuts off while driving:

1. Empty Fuel Tank

Every engine needs the proper mixture of fuel, air, and spark to work properly. When one of these three elements is taken away, it can cause problems and come to a stop in the middle of driving. Out of these three things, a car runs out of fuel in most cases.

You can check the fuel level with a gauge and your check engine light will give you a warning when you’re low on fuel. But if you have a damaged fuel gauge, you won’t get an accurate reading and think the fuel tank is full when it’s empty.


Running out of fuel is a good problem to have as it can be easily fixed unless you have a leak in the system or a faulty fuel gauge. Visit this guide to learn about the most common fuel gauge problems and how you can fix them.

2. Dead Battery

The battery starts many components in the vehicle by giving power to them. When the battery goes dead or runs out of charge, these components will no longer have any power. That can cause the jeep to shut off while driving.

You can easily diagnose the battery in your car with a multimeter. If it has more than 12V of charge, that means it’s good. But if it’s less than 11.7V, that means it has a very low charge.


Inspect the cables of your battery if you’re not getting a good charge from it. Sometimes, there’s corrosion and the build-up of dirt can also cause the power not to flow well and shut off the vehicle.

Cleaning it or tightening the cables will solve the issue in such cases. But if you’re not getting absolutely any power from the battery and everything looks clean, you need to replace the battery.

3. Bad Alternator

The alternator charges the battery by converting chemical energy into electrical energy. Your Cherokee jeep will run out of power and shut off if the alternator goes bad and fails to recharge the battery.

 bad alternator

When the alternator goes bad, you should see warning lights in your dashboard before it happens. The dash lights will also go out when the alternator goes bad in most vehicles as the power supply to them will cut off.

You can also tell that it’s not the alternator if the electrical components in your jeep work fine. Most of them are powered by the battery in your jeep that relies on an alternator. They shouldn’t work when the alternator malfunctions.


Check the alternator for dirt first and clean it if it’s dirty. If that doesn’t do the trick, you need to replace the alternator. You’ll get an alternator for your jeep for $50- $200 depending on the quality you prefer.

4. Faulty Fuel Pump

Another reason behind your 2004 or 2002 jeep grand Cherokee dies while driving is a faulty fuel pump. The main functions of a fuel pump are:

  • Supplying the current amount of fuel to the engine.
  • Keeping the supply of fuel steady.
  • Sending pressurized fuel to the fuel rails.

But when it goes bad, the supply of fuel gets interrupted. If your jeep dies while driving but restarts after a few seconds, it could be due to a bad fuel pump. Because the fuel pump doesn’t go bad at once and it goes out sporadically.

You cannot diagnose a bad fuel pump with a check engine light as it’s not powered by the electrical components. But you can still tell if a fuel pump is bad when you try to start your vehicle again.

You should hear a whining noise from the fuel pump when it’s working. If you don’t hear the noise, that means it could be bad. You can also use a pressure gauge to check if there’s good pressure coming from the fuel pump. If not, then you can also conclude that you have a bad fuel pump.


You’d have to replace the fuel pump to keep your jeep from shutting off if it malfunctions. The fuel pump is an expensive repair and you should hire an expert mechanic to do it for you.

5. Bad Ignition Switch

If you still haven’t found the solution to your problem and still wondering why does my jeep Cherokee turn off while driving, the next thing you should look at is the ignition switch in your vehicle.

The ignition system supplies power to the car and maintains the proper combustion in the engine. But metal pieces can build up in it and cause corrosion and rust. That interrupts the supply of power and causes your jeep to shut off in the middle of driving.

The ignition lights in your dashboard should turn on when you have a malfunctioning ignition system. If your instrument cluster doesn’t display anything, it could also be due to a bad ignition switch. You’ll also have trouble starting your vehicle when it happens.


If the symptoms and the diagnosis of your jeep points to a bad ignition switch, you need to replace it with a new one. Replace the ignition switch is an easy job and you can do it yourself.

6. Faulty Crankshaft Sensor

Another common cause why your 2004 or 2005 jeep grand Cherokee randomly dies is because of a faulty crankshaft sensor. It measures the movement of some moving parts in the engine, especially the crankshaft and passes on that information to the ECU.

 faulty crankshaft sensor

It controls the spark, ignition timing, and the fuel injector flow in your vehicle. But when it fails, it won’t be able to send the signal to the ECU and that can lead to the vehicle shutting down in the middle of driving and engine misfiring.

A common symptom of a failing crankshaft sensor is that you’ll notice a drop in the fuel efficiency in your jeep. Tap the crankshaft on a running engine with a hammer. If it stops, that means it has gone bad.

But if you want to confirm a bad crankshaft sensor, you’ll need an OBD scanner. The common codes for a failing crankshaft sensor are between P0330 to P0340.


A faulty crankshaft is a cheap component that can be easily replaced once you locate it. Just unplug the connector attached to it, unscrew the bolt it’s connected to, and put the new one in its place.

7. Failing Mass Air Flow Sensor

The MAF sensor in your jeep controls how much air goes into the engine. It does it by calculating the current level of air in the engine and telling the ECU how much more air needs to be sent.

But when it goes bad and communicates the wrong information to the ECU, it sends either too much air or too little air to the engine. That results in a lean or rich fuel mixture and causes the jeep to shut off.


You can try cleaning the Mass Air Flow sensor first if you think it’s causing the problem because it’s dirty. But you need to replace the mass air flow sensor if it has gone bad. You can easily access it.

8. Bad Spark Plugs

The spark plugs ignite the mixture of air and fuel in the combustion chamber of your vehicle to start it. Each of the cylinders in the engine has a spark plug. If one spark plug goes bad, then you may be able to still start the car.

spark plugs

But if there are multiple spark plugs that have failed, they’re the most probable reason why your jeep grand cherokee shuts off after starting. You won’t be able to drive long with failing spark plugs and your engine will keep stalling.

But damaged spark plugs give a lot of warning signs before going bad. You’ll notice a reduction in the performance, the engine will misfire frequently, lose acceleration and make knocking sounds.

Locate the spark plug and take a look at it. If it’s blistered because of running too hot or covered with carbon or other fuel, it’s a telltale sign that the spark plug has been damaged.


Spark plugs are normally located at the top of the cylinders. If they look bad upon your inspection, you need to replace them. Spark plugs are inexpensive and you can easily replace the spark plugs on your own.

9. Damaged ECU

The ECU or Engine Control Unit is the brain of the car and it communicates with all the sensors and electrical components in your car to keep the vehicle running smoothly.

When the ECU goes bad, it won’t be able to detect the signal from the different sensors and it could be the reason why your 2002 or 2014 jeep Cherokee turns off while driving.

The check engine light will be on when there’s a faulty ECU. Get an OBD scanner to diagnose a faulty ECU as it can be difficult to detect an ECU that is damaged. Spark plug failures and water getting into the system can cause an ECU to go bad.


After an inspection with an OBD2 scanner, you need to replace the ECU with a new one if the results show that it has gone bad. ECUs are expensive components to replace but you have to do it if you don’t want your jeep to keep shutting down on you when you’re driving.

What To Do If Your Jeep Shuts Off While Driving

It can cause you to panic if your jeep dies on you in the middle of the road. So, you need to keep a cool head and follow certain safety procedures when it happens. Follow these steps if your 2004 or 2005 jeep grand cherokee cuts off while driving:

Pullover To The Side

Your car will start to slow down before it eventually comes to a stop. You must pullover your vehicle on the side of the road to prevent crashing with other cars that are coming from behind.

You may find that it’s getting more difficult to control your car as it’ll lose its ability to steer and brake. If that happens, get to a safe spot and pull the emergency brake. It’ll bring an abrupt stop of the car but that’s much better than being stranded in the road waiting for other vehicles to hit you.

Restart The Car

The next thing you should do is try to restart the car so that you can take it to the closest auto repair shop and have it fixed. If the problem is small, then you can fix it in a short time and head home.

Ask For Help

If you jeep doesn’t start, use emergency flashes to alert others that you’re not being able to start your car. Connect with the roadside assistance services that are available and have them help you out.


Can a low amount of oil shut down a jeep?

A low level of oil normally doesn’t shut down the jeep but if it gets extremely low, the oil pressure comes down and the jeep can turn off because of safety triggers.

Why does my 2000 jeep grand Cherokee randomly shuts off?

Your car cutting off when you stop means that you have poor idle. It’s caused by a lean fuel mixture and there could be many reasons behind it. A faulty throttle body causes it in most vehicles.

What causes jeep grand Cherokee shut off while driving and won’t start?

Your car running out of fuel, a bad battery, a dead alternator, and a faulty fuel pump are the most common culprits behind your vehicle shutting off while driving and not starting again.

Is the Jeep Grand Cherokee a reliable choice?

There are mixed opinions when it comes to the jeep Cherokee. Some people report having amazing experiences with their Cherokee while others don’t like it as much. It usually lasts for 15 years or more if properly maintained.


It can be frustrating and scary if your 2004 jeep grand Cherokee shuts off while driving. But now you know all the potential causes behind it and how you can address each of them.

We hope that reading this guide will give you a proper course of action on what you should do when your vehicle stops in the middle of the road. Drop a comment below if you have any more questions about what causes a jeep to shut off while driving.

About John M

John contributed as a technical head at an automobile company just 2 years after his post-graduation in Automobile Engineering. He loves to lead a free life, so he left his job & started blogging. Now, he does research on every automotive problem, part & product and seeks a better solution & best products & shares his findings with his readers to help them as well as to minimize their struggle.

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