Vehicle Warranty Blog

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Why is My Car Not AcceleratingCars often make slightly less power as they age. This happens largely due to tolerances that become looser with wear. Piston rings wear down, and some of the explosive power let loose in the combustion chamber slips past the cylinder and into the crankcase, a process called “blow-by.” However, the effect is pretty small.

While age-related issues like this can rob a few horsepower over hundreds of thousands of miles, the loss of dozens or hundreds of horsepower in a younger vehicle is a sign of more serious complications. If your car is having difficulty getting up to speed, you could have one of the following problems:

A Clogged or Dirty Air Filter

The air filter catches small particles and debris before they have a chance to enter the engine itself and cause harm to the precision-machined, fast-rotating parts inside. But air filters don’t just block all those outside particulates; they trap them.

After a while, air filters can get so clogged that air has a hard time passing through. This means the engine starts to run rich (too much fuel, not enough air), and both emissions and performance suffer.

Loss of Compression

Engines rely on a careful balance of fuel and air. This means the combustion chambers have to be well-sealed to contain all that combustion.

However, the vast majority of engines have a separate head and block. As a result, the integrity of the combustion chambers relies on the strength of the bolts holding the head to the block as well as the gasket between them.

If this gasket is compromised in any way, the combustion process will cause the air/fuel mixture to exit out of the gap between head and block rather than push down the piston. The result is less power and efficiency, as well as a sizable repair bill to fix the bad head gasket.

Dirty Fuel Filter, Injectors, or Pump

As your fuel filter gets fouled up, less fuel makes it to the engine, and the vehicle runs poorly. The fuel injectors in the combustion chamber can also get fouled up and deliver less fuel. And unsurprisingly, if the fuel pump gets clogged or blocked up, the same thing happens.

Bad Spark Plugs

The spark plugs are responsible for igniting the air/fuel mixture. If they have a weak or nonexistent spark, combustion will either be tepid and inefficient or not happen at all.

Stopped-Up Exhaust System

Once the combustion process ends, those spent gasses need to go somewhere. In most cases, that somewhere is out of the exhaust pipe.

Rather than just dump all those gasses directly into the atmosphere, modern vehicles use catalytic converters to reduce those pollutants. Then, the muffler serves to keep the sound at hearing-safe levels. If there are blockages in any of these parts, the engine will have to work harder to expel the exhaust, which will rob it of power and efficiency.

When In Doubt, Get Your Car Checked Out

If your car is having trouble accelerating, take it to your local shop. Skilled and certified techs live and breathe cars, so they’ll be able to locate the problem quickly and efficiently.

Summary: Cars shouldn’t suddenly lose a large percentage of horsepower. If your car isn’t accelerating as well as it normally does, it could be a sign of deeper problems.

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