car accelerating

6 possible reasons why your car’s losing power when accelerating

20th Mar, 2023

Cars are complicated things. And most of us use them so much that it can be easy to forget the sheer complexity of the processes that allow us to start the engine, drive along a road, and bring it to a stop. Unfortunately, most of us only tend to remember that again when something goes wrong – and if your engine suddenly isn’t accelerating as powerfully as you need it to when you’re out on a busy road, that can be a particularly scary reminder.

Now, before you start thinking I need to scrap my car, the slightly more reassuring news is that it can often be narrowed down to a relatively simple issue – and if you’re lucky, one that’s reasonably easy to fix.

#1 and #2 – issues with your ignition coils or spark plugs

If your car runs on petrol or diesel as opposed to electricity, your engine is powered by a chemical reaction; essentially, the ignition of an air/fuel mixture within its internal combustion chamber. Which is, let’s be honest, pretty cool.

For this process to happen smoothly and consistently though, it requires a couple of components to play really crucial roles. Your ignition coils and your spark plugs are arguably the most critical.

Basically, the job of your ignition coil is to convert the low current from a car battery into sufficient power to ignite the fuel/air mixture, and start your engine. If it’s faulty though, then that mixture won’t ignite properly, and you can end up with rough idling, low power in your engine, or even no power at all.

Spark plugs, on the other hand, work in close tandem with your ignition coils – they provide that all-important spark to actually ignite your fuel/air mixture. If they’re faulty, then once again that mixture is unlikely to ignite properly, which means there’s a good chance your car may be a little slow off the mark. And, to borrow a popular mechanic’s turn of phrase: it’s probably going to run like a bag of spanners.

Solution: replace your spark plugs, or see a mechanic about your ignition coil

#3 and #4: Oxygen sensor failure or poor air filtration

So we’ve explained a bit about the air fuel mixture in your car already. It’s a very delicate balance, and for that chemical reaction to happen smoothly, the oxygen and fuel need to be kept at very precise levels. That’s where your oxygen sensor comes in. It constantly measures your engine’s ratio of air to fuel, and if it’s faulty, then it can result in an imbalanced mixture – which can ultimately end up in your car stuttering, juddering, or abruptly losing power.

Your air filter plays a closely related role in that it’s supposed to intercept any debris or impurities from getting in with the air drawn into the engine’s internal combustion chamber. If it’s blocked though, it can be all too easy for dirt to start getting mixed in, and once you’re sitting in the driver’s seat then you’re going to feel the effects of that around you quite, quite quickly.

Solution: clean your car’s air filter, or get your oxygen sensor checked by a mechanic

#5 and #6: Clogging of your fuel filter or exhaust

Much like your air filter, your fuel filter plays a very important role – and to be honest, a pretty self-explanatory one. It’s designed to prevent any impurities from getting through to the delicate air/fuel mixture in your engine.

If your fuel filter is dirty or clogged however, it can become vastly less effective at successfully doing its job, and that can result in impurities reaching the main engine. The consequences of that can manifest in a variety of unpleasant effects, such as ‘coughing’ in your engine, serious power drain and loss of acceleration, and potentially even permanent damage to your engine. And you don’t need to be an expert to know that those are very expensive to replace. It’s much easier and cheaper to replace your fuel filter instead.

A blocked exhaust can have very similar results. Exhausts don’t get clogged too often, as most minor blockages will often just be expelled from the car. Bits of dirt or leaves won’t have much effect on their own. However, they’re not the only source of potential blockages – they can also be affected by things like the build-up of carbon and soot in the catalytic converter. And while it might sound simple enough for a DIY job, to be honest we’d still recommend getting it looked at by a professional.

Solution: replace your car’s fuel filter, or see a mechanic about a blocked exhaust

As we started by saying, happily most of these aren’t too tricky to get sorted. However, if you’re finding that that the costs of all these little repairs are starting to stack up, then it might be time to start thinking about scrapping your car.

That’s exactly where we can help here at Scrap Car Network. Our mission is to provide you the very best prices when you scrap your car with us. Don’t just take our word for it – get an instant online quote today! It’s free, and there’s zero obligation until you decide you’re ready to proceed. Just enter your car reg and postcode into the fields on our site, and within seconds you’ll be looking at your very own instant online quote. Ready to find out how much your car is worth?

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