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5 Popular Causes of Car Won’t Accelerate Issue

How annoying might it be when you step on the gas pedal but the car won’t accelerate? Two things can happen – the vehicle does not accelerate at all or as fast as it should be. You can pin down the problem on several causes and some can be complex enough to earn a visit to the mechanic.

The Causes Of Car Won’t Accelerate

Regular maintenance is the key to minimizing the chance of various issues. However, sometimes it becomes old enough to stay out of troubles. In fact, the high-mileage vehicles could also have this acceleration problem. So, what should you do when your car won’t accelerate? You should diagnose the symptoms and take action accordingly.

1. Look Into The Clutch

My car won’t accelerate when I push the gas pedal, what should I do? – Have you looked into the clutch?
Almost 90% of the time, it’s the clutch! When it can’t properly engage the transmission with the engine, your car shows acceleration issues. It could be a worn out clutch pedal or the clutch fluid. The fluid should not go below the minimum level or cross the maximum level.

car wont accelerate when pressing gas
The clutch is the most common reason for acceleration problems. (photo source:

Watch the clutch’s action. If it seems loose or the engine changes speed without accelerating or decelerating, the clutch is definitely the origin of the problem.

2. Problems With The ECU

An error in the electronic control unit (ECU) could also be the reason for your car won’t accelerate when pressing gas pedal. For example, a pollution error could trick the computer system to think that the car has been producing excessive fume. In response, it will make the engine to lose power slowly, which gradually leads to trouble with acceleration.

The ECU may provide incorrect readings if any or multiple of its sensors don’t work properly. You have to go to a car servicing to find out what is wrong with it.

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3. Filthy Fuel Filter

The fuel can collect sludge over time that often comes from the fuel tank. Dirt makes the fuel heavy, making it unable to move freely from the tank to the engine. Proper lubrication is vital in making the acceleration highly responsive.

You have to clean the filter or replace it with a new one to solve this issue.

4. Faults In The Timing Belt

A worn out or damaged timing belt will affect the acceleration. But, a newly replaced belt could also be the culprit. Why does this happen? It happens when it’s misplaced or misaligned. Choose a professional mechanic to do the replacement because the improper installation will result in worse acceleration than before.

car wont accelerate
Replace the worn out timing belt. (photo source:

5. Leaks In Vacuum Hoses

There are plenty of vacuum hoses inside an automobile’s engine. They transport fuel and air from and to the engine and different supply points and connectors. Your car won’t accelerate if there are holes in the hoses or dirt buildups.

Frequently Asked Questions:

car will not accelerate when gas is pressed
My car wont accelerate when pressing gas. What should I do? (photo source: Shutterstock)

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1. Why Is My Car Having Trouble Accelerating?

Imagine you are driving your car and find out that it is losing power when you accelerate. What are the reasons behind this? Well, there are only 2 reasons responsible for this. Either your car is running out of fuel or it does not have enough power. And there are lots of causes behind your car losing the POWER especially when accelerating, some of them are:

  • Malfunction of Actuators such as: bad spark plugs, bad fuel pump, bad injectors.
  • Malfunction of Sensors such as: Oxygen sensor, MAF sensor, Crankshaft sensor, Camshaft position sensor and all sensors relative to the EFI system.
  • Mechanical issues such as: Clogged Exhaust Manifold, Dirty air filter, Clogged fuel filter, low compression.

2. Should I Ignore Acceleration Issues?

As we’ve showed you above, acceleration problems are not too serious. But if you are experiencing any of acceleration issues, you should not ignore it. Acceleration problems are a matter that will not go away if you don’t do anything to fix them. The longer you try to ignore them, the more accidents are increased. Most of car owners don’t have enough mechanical knowledge to understand fully about their car. They tend to concentrate on one probable source of the trouble whereas paying no attention to what is the cause at hand. That will develop other trouble to surface in the future.

3. Do I Need To Bring My Car To A Professional Auto Service Centre?

As you don’t fully understand about an vehicle so it is better to bring your car to a professional auto service centre for checking acceleration problems. A professional auto service centre is going to have skilled mechanics and equipments to inspect and fix the problems of your car. The repair may not cost you too much at all. If the repair is a bit expensive, you shouldn’t hesitate to pay for it as your safety will depend on it. You want to make sure that you can get the right speed everytime you speed up or slow down.

  1. loqman hasan says

    Please, i have problem with my car (Toyota Corolla 2008) made in japan, when driving after the first operation (2- 3) minutes , the car didn’t moving well ( heavy moving & Intermittent speed) but after driving 5 to 6 km all this problem disappear & the car going well even with cooling. help me to find the problem that causes this malfunction.
    many thanks

    1. joseph says

      did you manage to find out what it was

  2. Joseph mwale says

    Hello I have a problem with my Toyota Rav4. When I start moving it vibrates a lot then when in motion it moves normal. Other issue is power.if it is not moving it can not climb a Small pothole but once in motion it can compete with any other car interns of speed .what could be the problem. Some mechanic say it is the nozzle others say it is the coils. But am afraid to let someone open it coz a friend adviced me that vviti engines should not be opened

  3. Chianumba collins says

    Please I have a Mazda 626 and its really consuming fuel and does not accelerate well…please I need professional advice on how to fix it..Thanks Collins from nigeria

  4. Ed says

    At slow speed the accelerator pedal of my SUZUKI SWIFT gets tough and does not move.
    I’ve done a DIAGNOSTIC analysis and nothing is found.
    What might be the issue?

  5. Serena March says

    I just bought a 2013 ford focus a couple days ago. I was driving the car today and all of a sudden the car started bogging out like I was running out of gas so I put gas in it but that wasn’t the problem, it won’t go any faster than 5 km

  6. Serena March says

    I just bought a 2013 ford focus a couple days ago. I was driving the car today and all of a sudden the car started bogging out like I was running out of gas so I put gas in it but that wasn’t the problem, it won’t go any faster than 5 km. What’s wrong with it

  7. Thomas Zervas says

    I have a 2006 VW Eos with 320,000 km. After replacing the clutch at 132,000 km I’ve noticed the car cannot go past acceleration and remains almost steady at 140 km/h. What could have gone wrong? I am very careful with the maintenance and change often every 10,000km my oil, all filters and around 20,000km my spark plugs. The car has proven to be a very solid and reliable ride throughout the years and I am very hesitant to parting with it. I have had ignition problems once or twice in the past due to contaminated fuel and have had my fuel pump replaced years ago. My last mechanic pointed out that I have two fuel pumps because it is an fsi engine and told me to keep my eye on the high pressure fuel pump located within the engine. That I have yet to replace.

  8. Christopher says

    My rav4 2001 stopped accelerating on top of the hill but engine was still running. After much attempt we notice transmission oil shortage after topping it it drive only on first gear(L).
    What should I do?

  9. Moses Chambeshi says

    I have a problem on my car acceleration toyota harrier 5s engine automatic. When the temperature is at low side, gear 4 will not engaged until i travelled about two to four kilometres that is when it can engage. And there is no thermal start

  10. Mandla says

    Got a Nissan xtrail gt it can’t go beyond 100km/hn nomatter how much you press the pedal and it sometimes cuts the revs back to 200rpm

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