7 Common Causes of a Car Not Picking Up Speed


Have you ever gotten the driving problem where you step on the gas pedal to accelerate but you don’t pick up any speed? A slow acceleration problem is generally found in vehicles which have a lot of miles on them. This can be a dangerous situation if you’re entering a busy state road or interstate which requires you to pick up speed quickly. The problem can also occur if you’re trying to drive uphill but you’re unable to accelerate fast to get up the hill. In these cases, it will become clear that your engine simply doesn’t have the power or the support to provide the acceleration demands that you’re placing on it.

Top 7 Reasons Why Your Car Not Picking Up Speed

When you can’t pick up speed in your vehicle, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your engine is bad. It just means there is some component of your vehicle which is malfunctioning and not allowing your engine to handle these faster acceleration demands.

Read also: Basic Principle and Top 10 Cars with Double Wishbone Suspension

Below are the top 7 causes of a car not picking up speed.

  1. Oxygen Sensor Problem – The function of the oxygen sensor is to keep track of the car’s exhaust emissions and determine the amount of fuel that is needed in the internal combustion chamber by tracking the air to fuel ratio. If the oxygen sensor were to malfunction, the wrong amount of fuel would get burned during the combustion process. This would create a rich fuel mixture, which would result in slow acceleration as you step on the gas pedal.
  2. Air Flow Meter Problem – The air intake cleaner has an air flow meter attached to it. As air flows into the air intake cleaner, the air flow meter calculates the mass of the air and then relays this information to the engine control unit. Once the ECU has this information, it knows how to calculate the proper mixture of air and fuel. If there is a problem with the air flow meter, then it will give the wrong information to the engine control unit. This will result in slow acceleration.
  3. Neural Gear – There are some drivers who can’t pick up speed in their cars because they accidentally change the gear to Neutral instead of Drive. Either that or they’ll accidentally change it to Neutral as they’re already driving. Sometimes if the shift stick is easy to move, this can happen. If you drive with the car in Neutral, then you can expect to have acceleration issues like this.
  4. Bad Timing Belt – The timing belt needs to be in superb condition. If there is just one tooth on the belt that is worn out, then you will have acceleration problems as you’re driving. If you don’t replace the timing belt soon, then you could have entire teeth on the belt break off and go missing. Then you’ll start to see the car really slow down and not pick up speed.
  5. Dirty Fuel Filter – If your fuel filter is backed up with dirt and debris, then it is not going to let fuel pass through it. That means the fuel can’t enter the engine, which means you won’t be able to accelerate properly when you step on the gas pedal. In this situation, you must simply replace your fuel filter.
  6. Electronic Error – If the central computer or electronic system that controls your vehicle is getting glitches or errors, then it could wrongly determine that excessive amounts of fumes are being generated by your vehicle. Because of this, the computer will limit your ability to accelerate.
  7. Bad Throttle Position Sensor – The throttle position sensor is what analyzes the opening angle of the throttle valve. Once it detects this information, the throttle position sensor sends it to the engine control unit. If this sensor were to malfunction, the gas pedal would no longer be able to control the speed of the engine because the pedal controls the throttle valve.

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