Jeep Liberty Shuts Off While Driving

If you own a Jeep Liberty and have experienced the vehicle shutting down intermittently after coming to a complete stop, then read this first. Many owners report strange noises and erratic idle prior to this happening. If you’ve experienced any of the above then this article is for you. This is a well-reported problem between liberty owners, however, there is a simple solution available.

If your Jeep Liberty shuts off while driving you could have a faulty CPS (Crankshaft Position Sensor) circuit. It could also be a faulty camshaft sensor or faulty IAC valve. Do a thorough inspection of the wiring for shorted-out wires, burnt wires, or faulty connections. The problem in many cases is the sensor circuit.

Even though it’s been well documented that the cause in many cases is, in fact, the CPS (Crankshaft Position Sensor), do yourself a favor and have the vehicle diagnosed by a qualified professional before you purchase any replacement components. The last thing you want is to miss-diagnose the problem and spend unnecessary cash on components that did not require replacement.

Why do we take this approach? Well, simply because there are additional components that could cause the problem. It’s not always an open and shut case.

What are some of the symptoms?


  1. Shutting down once coming to a stop without prior warning
  2. Erratic idle
  3. Strange engine noises
  4. Drives and shuts down again after a few minutes

Any of the below components could cause the above-described issue and a diagnostic reading will spit out a code for each.

  1. IAC Valve (Idle Air Control)
  2. Camshaft position sensor
  3. Crank position sensor
  4. Lockup Torque Converter

There have been cases where two or more of the above components need replacement or a second sensor will fail a few days later so it would probably be good to replace both the sensors if you are by the financial means.

Real-world (Jeep Liberty shuts off but restarts) example


Below is a real-world description of the Jeep liberty shut-down phenomenon?

While driving, my 2002 Jeep Liberty v6 3.7 2wd died on me, with no warning whatsoever. It will turn back on and drive but only for about 5 minutes or so and then will die again. I already replaced the CRANKSHAFT POSITION SENSOR, THROTTLE BODY SENSOR, and SPARK PLUGS. Everything electrical works fine in the car. Is there something else I am missing? PLEASE HELP!!!

Have a look at the above forum as there are many examples of owners experiencing the same issue with reported solutions.

IAC Valve (Idle Air Control)

So to self-diagnose if the shutting down is in fact the IAC valve there is a simple DIY test one can carry out to isolate the problem.

The next time the vehicle wants to shut down as you come to a complete stop while braking with your left foot, lightly step on the gas pedal with your right foot. If you do this and it prevents the engine from stalling, its almost definitely the IAC valve which needs replacement.

Camshaft Position Sensor

The camshaft position sensor monitors the rotational speed of the camshaft. It specifically monitors when valves open and close. The camshaft sensor is usually located just above a notched ring on the camshaft. Most of these camshaft sensors will use a magnet to produce or vary an AC electronic signal that is used in conjunction with a crankshaft position sensor to determine when a position approaches the top dead center (TDC) on the compression stroke. This information will help to fine-tune spark timing and injector pulse.

Symptoms of a Faulty Cam Position Sensor

A car with a faulty or dead CPS will not run. The engine will crank but not turn over. In other cases, it will start then immediately stall. As a safety mechanism, when the onboard computer receives an erratic signal, internal logic will understand this as a mechanical problem, and it will shut down the engine to prevent any damage. In some instances, the faulty sensor may not even send out a signal. The sensor could simply be disconnected. Engine heat, old age, and especially rust caused by moisture are the biggest culprits for sensor failure.

Crank Position Sensor

A Crank position sensor works as the crankshaft rotates. The crank sensor produces a pulsed voltage signal, where each pulse matches the tooth on the reluctor ring. What happens when the crank position sensor fails?

Symptoms of a failing crankshaft position sensor

A failing crankshaft position sensor can cause intermittent problems. The vehicle may stall randomly but then restart after a few minutes without any problems. The engine might have difficulty starting in wet weather when the air is moist and damp. Other times you might notice the RPM gauge behaving erratically. In some cases, a failing sensor can cause a long crank time before the engine starts. If the sensor is bad, the engine will crank but won’t start.

Lockup Torque Converter

To detect if the vehicle is shutting down due to a faulty Lockup torque converter, there is a simple DIY test you can carry out to isolate the problem.

You determine if the stalling is caused by the lock-up torque converter by simply putting the car in neutral when coming to a stop to see if it still stalls or not. Putting it in neutral disconnects the transmission from the engine.

If the vehicle still stalls after being placed in neutral it is not the LTC and possibly one of the above-mentioned electrical components.

If your Jeep Cherokee is equipped with an automatic transmission, it is equipped with a torque converter. The job of the torque converter is to connect the power source to the load. The “lockup” mechanism rigidly connects the engine to the transmission. When their speeds are nearly equal, it locks up to avoid slippage and a resulting loss of efficiency.

Aftermarket 3rd Party Sensors vs OEM

So, what about aftermarket sensors? Are they any good compared to the OEM versions? Well, there have been reported cases where liberty owners have opted to go the less expensive route and fit an aftermarket or 3rd party component not sold by Jeep.

In many cases, the OEM works better than some of the cheaper products supplied by independent garages. OEM O2 sensors are almost always recommended over other brands.

2019 Jeep Cherokee shuts off while driving

2018 jeep Cherokee shuts off while driving

Below is a complaint about a 2018 Jeep Cherokee that shuts off while driving:

I have had ongoing issues with my 2018 Jeep Cherokee, at least eight times it has totally lost power while driving, the battery light comes on and it says to shift into Neutral, the steering wheel locks up and I had to hope to slowly stop and have nothing in front of me or close behind since steering was not an option. I would have to put my Jeep in park right where I was and push the button several times to restart it when it was ready. This happened several times in traffic.

One of the times it happened I was going about 40 miles an hour and just come up over a hill in heavy five o’clock traffic. I continually tried to restart the Jeep and thankfully got it to start before someone came up over the hill and rear-ended me at 40+ miles per hour. Two of the times I was slowing down and getting ready to turn at a light. All the traffic just backed up behind me.

We called the dealer the first time it happened and they said I just needed an oil change. Which clearly explains the battery light and the loss of power and steering while driving right? NO!! But we took it in a bit early for the oil change. A month or so after it started doing it again almost every time I drove it. So often that I refused to drive it outside of town and took one of our older more dependable cars on any trips.

The latest time it started this pattern we checked the oil and it was very low even though it was just time for its next oil change. I didn’t get any warnings at all for low oil or a check engine light or anything. We added three quarts of oil just to be safe and took it in days later (the soonest they could get us in).

We took it in yesterday morning and they called and said they figured out the issue and they are replacing the engine!! I will update you when I have more information. I know they said it was burning oil because of the amount of space between something. It is of course all under warranty and they just happened to have an engine in stock for someone else that ordered one and then ended up trading their car.

I’d like to trade mine too, for something that doesn’t have Jeep on it!

2017 jeep Cherokee shuts off while driving

Same story with a 2017 Jeep Cherokee

So far my 2017 Jeep Cherokee has stalled 6 times, all within a few blocks of the startup. My regular and trusted mechanic thought it was bad gas, and did a fuel system cleaner that cost $284.00. The fuel system clean did not fix the problem. I called my local Jeep dealership, and they recognized the problem while I was on the phone, and insisted I come in for an oil change ASAP. They changed the oil, $49.99 about 800 miles before an oil change was due, and I’ve not had the problem since. I was instructed to come back to the dealership in 2000- miles for them to check the oil.

I was also told that if the problem continues, that they might have to replace the motor. I got the impression that this is a common problem, and that they replace motors on a fairly regular basis.

It occurs to me that THIS COULD BE VERY DANGEROUS!! I noticed before the oil change, that the problem seems to go away as the car warms up. I advise anyone with this problem that needs to drive their car, to drive around the block a few times before entering any major highways.

I’ll be interested to see what happens in 2000 miles.


We’ve identified at least 4 reasons why your Jeep Cherokee stalls whiles driving.  In some instances, the problem could even be a faulty transmission that needs replacement if you are driving an automatic Jeep Cherokee.  Hopefully, you are still under warranty in this case. Carry out some of the suggested DIY tests mentioned above to isolate the problem first. However, before purchasing any replacement parts, get the vehicle to a reputable garage to have the vehicle tested on a diagnostic machine which will spit out the code identifying the faulty component. This will save you a lot of guesswork and money.

Jade C.

4-Wheel drives and off-road driving techniques has been my passion for over 20 years. Here we strive to provide the most accurate, up-to-date, information about the functionality, common faults and latest technology built into most 4 Wheel Drives.

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