The last thing you want on your way home from work is a car that won’t accelerate. What can it mean when your car suddenly has trouble accelerating? There are a number of possible causes and necessary car repair services associated with difficult acceleration and it’s best to let a trusted mechanic take a look to ensure the problem is fixed. Here are a few possible causes your mechanic may come back with if you’re noticing stuttering while accelerating.
Dirty Fuel Injectors
One of the most common causes of jerky acceleration is a dirty fuel injector. Your fuel injectors are responsible for pushing fuel into your engine’s cylinders. This means they control the timing and amount of fuel used to keep your engine running. If they become dirty or over-worn, the timing may be off or the wrong amount of fuel may be sent into your engine’s cylinders.
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Fuel Injectors Can Cause Misfires When Dirty
What’s happening when your engine stutters while accelerating if the cause is your fuel injectors is an engine misfire. This will also typically trigger the Check Engine light and a mechanic will be able to tell from that code which cylinder is misfiring, and then which fuel injector needs to be cleaned or replaced.
Worn Out Spark Plugs
Another common cause of stuttering acceleration are worn out or corroded spark plugs. Luckily, this is a pretty simple fix that a mechanic can take care of quickly and inexpensively. If you’re handy with cars, you may even be able to check and replace your own spark plugs at home.
Spark Plugs Ignite Fuel to Give Your Engine Power
Basically, your car’s spark plugs ignite the fuel in your pistons. If they’re wearing out, they won’t be able to ignite the fuel fast enough, meaning your car won’t accelerate as quickly as it should. This can also potentially trigger your Check Engine light, which can help with diagnosis of the necessary repair.
Dirty Air Filters
As part of your auto maintenance schedule, you should have your air filter cleaned or replaced on a regular basis. This is another piece of maintenance you can do at home if you’re comfortable doing simple maintenance on your car. The air filter can be removed and wiped clean or you can easily replace it with a new air filter.
Air Filters Keep Pollutants Out of Your Engine
Over time, your air filter will become clogged with pollutants it’s filtering out from entering your car’s engine. If it becomes too dirty, adequate amounts of air will not be able to circulate through your car’s engine, causing hesitation while accelerating.
Another possibility are the dreaded words, “transmission repair.” Your car’s transmission is responsible for powering your car’s forward motion. If parts in your transmission are wearing out or your transmission fluid is too dirty or low, it can cause serious problems, along with difficulty accelerating and changing gears.
Keep Up with Regular Transmission Maintenance
Check your car’s owner’s manual for exact recommended timeframes, but your transmission has a regular maintenance schedule you should keep up with. This includes replacing transmission fluid, which becomes dirty and contaminated over time, just from lubricating the inside of your transmission.
Blocked Catalytic Converter
Your catalytic converter is responsible for reducing the toxic gasses and pollutants expelled by your car’s exhaust system. If it becomes clogged or blocked, it makes it hard for that filtering to happen properly and it can cause jerking when you press your gas pedal. Luckily, it’s possible you’ll be able to fix this problem with an at-home catalytic converter cleaner. If this doesn’t do the trick, you’ll have to take your car to a mechanic.
A Too-Rich Air-Fuel Ratio Can Cause a Blockage
The cause of this possible blockage is typically a too-rich air-fuel ratio. Because of this, if your catalytic converter does get a blockage, it’s a good idea to have a mechanic take a look, even if you’re able to clean it at home. This is because there may be another problem in your exhaust system that could cause another blockage if left alone.
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