Why Won't My Car Accelerate?

Your car doesn't accelerate? The obvious issue is a near-empty tank or contaminated gas. However, if there is enough pure fuel in your tank, there could be issues with the car's engine, transmission, exhaust, or braking system.

Car experts from Pfeiffer Wholesale Parts, a leading supplier of OEM parts for the Ford models, have highlighted issues associated with poor acceleration, common tell-tale signs, and possible solutions.

Faulty Spark Plugs

If your car has trouble accelerating, it may be because one of its spark plugs is malfunctioning. A malfunctioning spark plug prevents the vehicle from producing enough power to accelerate or run at total capacity. 

Vehicles with malfunctioning spark plugs experience rough starts, produce knocking noises when accelerating, consume more gas, have uneven idling, and register a drop in engine performance.

If you suspect a faulty spark plug, remove it and check to see if it is defective or dirty. If it is dirty, use a spray-on plug cleaner to eliminate soot on the spark plug's tip, and if it is worn out, replace it with a newer one.

Clogged Air Filter

Check the air filter and clean it if necessary. Your air filter traps dirt, debris, and other impurities that could find their way into your vehicle's combustion chamber, causing your vehicle to run inefficiently. Cleaning the filter will help keep your car running at peak performance.

Filters clog over time, restricting air from entering the combustion chamber. As a result, the engine experiences incomplete combustion, thereby producing little acceleration power.

The malfunction can also lead to difficulties starting the engine, decreased fuel efficiency, rattling engine noises, black smoke, and a strong fuel smell.

Suppose you notice such tell-tale tell signs, disassemble the filter and check if it has dirt, dust, and debris. Then, clean the debris thoroughly before fixing the air filter back. You'd want to replace the filters if they have served your vehicle for at least 12,000 miles.

Malfunctioning Exhaust System

Exhaust problems like a collapsed catalytic converter & exhaust pipe or a clogged muffler prevent a car's engine from breathing properly. In return, gases build up in the system, preventing the engine from producing enough acceleration power.

A car with a faulty exhaust system consumes more fuel, releases a powerful gas smell from the exhaust, emits a burning smell from the engine compartment, and produces unusually high noise.

Since this issue is hard to diagnose and fix by yourself, it would be best to hire an expert mechanic. A mechanic can unclog or replace faulty parts with new OEM parts to improve your car's acceleration.

A Failed Clutch System

A worn-out clutch system causes acceleration issues as it does not fully engage the transmission to the engine. The clutch-related problems in acceleration manifest when going uphill or hauling heavy cargo.

Besides acceleration anomalies, a failed clutch presents issues such as noisy, pulsating, or vibrating pedals, complications reversing, and failure to get into gear.

In such a scenario, hire a mechanic to:

  • Align or replace the clutch linkage
  • Replace broken motor mount
  • Unblock master cylinder
  • Clean the clutch assembly
  • Replace pressure plate

Faulty Oxygen Sensors

A faulty oxygen sensor triggers a wrong fuel-to-air ratio causing incomplete combustion, an issue that lowers acceleration. The Oxygen sensor could be worn out, clogged with dirt, or slow reacting.

Besides sluggish acceleration, your vehicle might consume more fuel, experience rough idling, and release black smoke when its oxygen sensors fail. The car's check engine light also alerts you of a possible issue within the engine compartment.

If you notice such issues, it would matter to swap the worn-out part with a new part. Otherwise, your car would experience engine complications on top of poor acceleration. Replacing the part is relatively cheap and quick.

Engaged Emergency Brakes

The problem could be as simple as a partially engaged emergency brake if your car won't accelerate. The brakes press on the rear wheels, making your vehicle sluggish even when you hit the gas pedal. Unlike other issues needing a mechanic's intervention, you need to disengage the brakes to keep accelerating as usual.

Get Replacement Parts From Pfeiffer Wholesale Parts

If your car doesn't accelerate, chances are that you have to replace some broken parts with newer parts. If your mechanic recommends so, do not risk buying cheap aftermarket parts as they wear out quickly.

Instead, get OEM parts from Pfeiffer Wholesale Parts, a one-stop shop for authentic spare parts like brake pads, headlights, radiators, oil filters, and alternators. Check out our inventory to order a part you need at a bargain price. 

You can also contact us here for more information about our products.

Image credit: Miljan Zivkovic / Shutterstock