Car shut off while going 30 mph, radio stayed on, safe to drive?

My car stopped suddenly while I was driving 30 mph. The radio stayed on. I pulled over. I tried to start the engine a couple times and finally it started. I drove for another few minutes and then parked and idled the car. After idling the car for about 5 minutes it turned off, and the radio stayed on. I tried starting it again for 5-10 minutes but was unable to. I got it towed and brought to a mechanic. The mechanic wasn’t able to start it either, so he sprayed some starter fluid on the engine and it was able to start. He drove it around and idled it and was unable to recognize what the problem was. He didn’t expect it to stay running with just the started fluid, but it did. He has no clue what happened and is not able to replicate it. There were no engine codes. I’m afraid to drive the car in case it stops again. Any idea what is going on? Is it safe to drive? I don’t want to be driving 60 mph and have this happen again.

Safe to Drive? Not until it’s determined what the problem is. I’d be hesitant to drive it.

It sounds like fuel starvation. Model/Make/Year would be appreciated to help diagnose this.

Does this vehicle have a changeable fuel-filter? If so - when was it changed last?

not safe to drive

1994 BMW 540. it does have replaceable fuel filter, not sure when it was last replaced, but i want to say within the last few years. i thought about the possibility of the fuel filter, but it also happened when the car was idling, when i wouldn’t expect it to be using much fuel?

Have the mechanic check the fuel pressure at the injector rail. If you again have the problem occur in the presence of the mechanic, have the pressure tester at the ready. It sounds like this could either be a problem with the fuel pump or the Mass Air Flow sensor.

Hope this helps.

1994…Lots of miles…I’d replace both the fuel filter and fuel pump…Or the entire car, depending on the strength of your wallet…

Not safe to drive. Only safe to listen to.

I dunno, I think you need a different mechanic if he doesn’t have a clue. He sprayed starter fluid in and it started. That means it lacked fuel. There will be no codes for a fuel pump going out. He needs to check fuel pressure, fuel pump draw, relays in the circuit, connections and so on.

thanks for all the help everyone, it sounds like there is some consensus that it is probably related to either the fuel pump or the fuel filter … sounds like i may need to bring it to another mechanic

A friend had a bad MAP sensor that caused the exact same symtoms in a Bonneville. I would start with the pump and filter. Pumps can be intermittent.

Almost anything could be the problem, but I’m sure it’s in the fuel delivery.

The mechanic was able to get it started with starting fluid and drove it. At that point an intermitant problem might not show up.

We don’t really know if he checked fuel pressure and power to the pump before using the starting fluid. I wouldn’t blame the mechanic so fast.

Because neither you nor the mechanic wants to risk driving it and getting stuck somewhere, and you can’t replicate the problem, you are in a position to just hope that choose the right part to replace.
I think it’s a bad pump and would replace that along with the filter and a new pump relay.