Like all types of mechanical equipment in this world, cars are also susceptible to damage.
If any of the important parts of your car’s engine are worn or damaged, your car is likely to lose power when accelerating.
Your car’s engine may not be receiving enough fuel, or there may be a problem with the power supply to the engine.
In this article, we will discuss the various reasons why a car may lose power when accelerating. Let’s take a quick look at the most common reasons:
The most common reason a car loses power when accelerating is due to a clogged fuel filter or engine air filter. It can also be caused by a damaged sensor that disrupts the air-fuel mixture, such as the MAF sensor or O2 sensor.
These are the most common types of causes for this type of problem, but far from all possible reasons. Here is a much more detailed list of the most common causes why your car loses power when accelerating.
10 reasons why your car loses power when accelerating
1. Clogged fuel filter (both diesel and gas)
A fuel filter is responsible for filtering the fuel before it enters the engine and the combustion chamber. If the fuel filter is clogged and not enough fuel reaches the engine chamber, the engine will not operate at its optimal level.
You will feel that you lose power as you accelerate. So when this happens, the first thing you should do is check your fuel filter.
The fuel filter is located in the engine compartment or near the fuel tank in the trunk of your car. If the fuel filter is clogged, you can change it at a garage, who will charge you a very ridiculous amount.
2. Clogged or dirty air filter (both diesel and gas)
The engine needs clean air to function properly. Dust and other particles can damage the combustion chamber. Therefore, the air entering the system must always be clean. To ensure this, an air filter is placed just before the throttle body.
As soon as the throttle is opened, air is sucked in and passes through the dedicated air filter, which cleans the air of dust and other harmful particles. The air filter deteriorates after a few thousand miles, so it is best to change it every time you do an oil change.
3. Clogged catalytic converter or particulate filter
The exhaust removes all harmful and unnecessary gases from the engine. The sooner the exhaust removes these gases, the sooner the engine can restart combustion.
Therefore, if the car can excrete gases faster than it produces them, it will drive quickly and smoothly.
However, if there is an obstacle in the way, such as a clogged catalytic converter or a clogged exhaust, the engine loses power.
4. MAF sensor malfunction (gasoline engines)
The Mass Airflow (MAF) sensor measures the amount of air the car needs to accelerate. Once it gets this measurement, it sends this information to the ECU, which notifies the throttle to open accordingly.
If the MAF is faulty and not measure airflow correctly, you could experience serious power loss. Sensors can wear out due to heat and dust. Cleaning them regularly can help improve their performance.
5. Oxygen sensor malfunction (gasoline engines)
The MAF detects the amount of air entering the engine and the oxygen sensor measures the amount of gases leaving the engine. Therefore, it is located in the exhaust pipe. If the MAF readings match the oxygen sensor readings, that means your car is fully operational.
The oxygen sensor also acts on the fuel injection system, so its correct operation is necessary for the proper functioning of your car.
If the O2 oxygen sensor fails, it can cause a lean engine condition, which will cause the engine to lose power when accelerating.
6. Faulty fuel injectors (both diesel and gasoline)
Fuel injectors introduce fuel into the combustion chamber. They do this by sending fuel under high pressure, like a spray. They must spray the precise amount of fuel into the chamber for combustion to occur.
If there is even a small miscalculation, the combustion cycle can be altered, leading to a loss of power and, in the worst case, broken cams or pistons.
7. Fuel pump (gasoline engines)
The fuel pump delivers fuel from the fuel tank to the engine. The fuel pump must be powerful enough to be able to deliver the fuel at high pressure. If the pressure is low, the fuel injectors will not be able to spray the correct amount of fuel into the combustion chamber, resulting in a loss of power.
A faulty fuel pump won’t be a problem at low speeds, but it could lag behind when you’re looking for quick acceleration. Fuel pumps typically have a long lifespan, so checking your car’s fuel pump should not be your first action.
8. Worn spark plugs (gasoline engines)
Spark plugs are part of the engine, which can cause engine power problems. They create the spark that causes explosions inside the combustion chamber. Without them, your car won’t even run.
If you lose power, bad spark plugs could be a problem in some rare scenarios. Most of the time you will notice worn spark plugs when your car breaks down.
If your car’s engine doesn’t sound like usual, it’s possible that a spark plug is worn out and the car is running on one less cylinder than normal.
9. Poor cylinder compression (both diesel and gasoline)
The cylinders of an engine must be hermetically sealed so that they can contain the explosions that occur inside them. The car works on this basic principle. If the compression ratio is high, all the power of the explosion is used to drive the pistons. However, if there is a leak, the compression ratio drops.
In simpler terms, this means that the cylinder cannot compress the explosion, and the power is not fully transferred to the wheels. This can directly lead to loss of power when accelerating.
10. Defective turbocharger/boost pipe leak (both diesel and gasoline)
If your car has a turbocharger, it is likely that your turbocharger is damaged. The turbocharger gives the engine a lot of extra power, and without it your car will look like a tractor.
An even more likely scenario is that a turbo boost pipe has become loose, so the turbocharger will not generate turbo pressure. This will cause a significant drop in engine performance and lead to turbocharger failure.