Car Losing Power Acceleration

10 Causes of a Car Losing Power When Accelerating

In Driving by 12 Comments

Just like all mechanical types of equipment in this world, cars are also liable to damage.

If one of the important parts of your car’s engine gets worn out or damaged, it is a big chance that your car will lose power when accelerating.

Your car engine might not get enough fuel, or there might be a problem with the electricity supply to the engine.

In this article, we will discuss the various reasons why a car could lose power while accelerating.

A car can lose acceleration due to various reasons. Here are some of the most common reasons why it’s losing power. This list comply to both petrol and diesel engines.

10 Causes of a Car Losing Power When Accelerating

The most common cause of a car losing power when accelerating is a lack of fuel, restricted air supply, or a turbo pressure problem. This can be caused by a clogged fuel filter, clogged air filter, faulty fuel pump, or boost pipe leak.

But there are more reasons that can cause a powerless engine.

Lets continue to talk about these causes a little bit more in detail.

1. Clogged Fuel Filter (Both Diesel & Gas)

Fuel Filter

A fuel filter has the responsibility of filtering the fuel before it goes into the engine and combustion chamber. If the fuel filter gets clogged and the fuel does not reach the engine chamber in the right quantity, the engine will not perform at its optimum level.

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You will feel as if you are losing power while 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 bay or near the fuel tank in your car’s trunk. If the fuel filter is clogged, you can get it changed by a mechanic who will charge you a very paltry sum.

2. Clogged/Dirty Air Filter (Both Diesel & Gas)

Dirty Air Filter

The engine needs clean air to function properly. Dust and other particles can damage the combustion chamber. Therefore, the air that goes into the system should always be clean. To ensure this, an air filter is placed right before the throttle body.

As soon as the throttle opens, the air is sucked in, and it passes through the dedicated air filter, which cleanses the air of dust and other harmful particles. The air filter goes bad after a few thousand miles, so it is best if you get it changed every time you go for an oil change.

3. Clogged Catalytic Converter or Particle Filter

Clogged Catalytic Converter

The exhaust removes all the harmful and unnecessary gases from the engine. The sooner the exhaust excretes these gases, the sooner the engine can restart combustion.

Therefore, if the car can excrete gases faster than it produces them, the car runs fast and smooth.

However, if there is any obstacle in the way like a clogged catalytic converter or a clogged exhaust, then your engine loses power.

4. MAF Sensor Malfunction (Gas Engines)

Dirt Maf Sensor

The Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF) measures the amount of air the car needs to accelerate. Once it gets that measurement, it sends this information to the ECU, which notifies the throttle to open accordingly.

If the MAF is faulty and not measuring the airflow properly, you could experience a serious loss in power. Sensors can get worn out due to heat and dust. Regularly cleaning them can help improve their function.

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5. Oxygen Sensor Malfunction (Gas engines)

Oxygen Sensor

The MAF senses the amount of air entering the engine, and the oxygen sensor measures the number of gases that exit the engine. It is therefore located in the exhaust pipe. If the MAF readings match with the oxygen sensor readings, then this means your car is in perfect running condition.

The oxygen sensor also affects the fuel injection system, so its proper function is necessary for your car’s smooth running.

If the oxygen O2 sensor fails, it can cause a lean condition in the engine, which will cause the engine to lose power when accelerating.

6. Faulty Fuel Injectors (Both Diesel & Gas)

Fuel Injector Location E1609829649410

Fuel injectors introduce fuel into the combustion chamber. They do this by sending in fuel at high-pressure, much like a spray. They need to spray the precise amount of fuel into the chamber for combustion to happen.

If there is even a slight miscalculation, the combustion cycle can get disrupted, resulting in loss of power and, in the worst-case scenario, broken cams or pistons.

7. Fuel Pump (Gas Engines)

Cars Fuel Pump

The fuel pump delivers fuel from the fuel tank to the engine. The fuel pump has to be powerful enough to be able to send 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 will not pose problems at low speeds, but you might be left wanting when you are looking for quick acceleration. Fuel pumps usually have a long life, so checking the fuel pump on your car shouldn’t be your first action.

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8. Worn Spark Plugs (Gas Engines)

Bad Spark Plugs

The spark plugs are part of the engine, which can cause problems with the engine’s power. They create the spark that causes explosions inside the combustion chamber. Without them, your car won’t even run.

If you are losing power, bad spark plugs could be a problem in some rare scenarios. Mostly you will notice worn spark plugs when your car is misfiring.

If your car engine doesn’t sound like usual, there is a chance that a spark plug is worn out and the car is running on one cylinder less than usual.

9. Poor Cylinder Compression (Both Diesel & Gas)

Car Compression Test E1609889560360

The cylinders in an engine have to be sealed tight so they can contain the explosions happening inside them. The car works on this basic principle. If the compression rate is high, then all the power from the explosion is being used to drive the pistons. However, if there is a leak, the compression rate drops.

In easier terms, this means that the cylinder cannot compress the explosion, and the power is not completely transferring to the wheels. This can lead directly to a loss in power while accelerating.

10. Faulty Turbocharger / Boost pipe leak (Both Diesel & Petrol)


If your car is equipped with a turbocharger, your turbocharger is likely damaged. The turbocharger gives the engine a lot of extra horsepowers, and without it – your car will feel like a tractor.

An even more likely scenario is that a turbo boost pipe came loose, so the turbocharger will not increase the turbo pressure. This will cause a serious drop in the engine’s performance and cause the turbocharger to break.

12 thoughts on “ 10 Causes of a Car Losing Power When Accelerating ”

  1. Hi sir, my car is a wongroad Nissan, when the check engine light on the dash board goes on, the car looses power. When the engine gets hot and I put it off, putting it on the light (check engine) goes on and lose of power starts. When the check engine light is off, it can go for hundreds of kilometers. What could be the problem?

  2. My car is losing coolant and no pressure when take off coolant cap,seems to be some smoke when driving.

    1. Probably a head gasket leak. If the smoke is white coming out of the exhaust.

    2. Your cooling system has to be pressurized to work properly check where your loosing coolant at for most vehicles the car has 2 radiator hoses and 2 heater core hoses the radiator at the front of the vehicle(most the time) and the heater hose on your fire wall (wall in-between you and your motor the heater core hoses usually enter your fire wall right bye eachother or not more than a foot apart you have a leak somewhere in your cooling system. when your car heats up and you have a leak in let’s say your radiator you will see it comming out In the form of steam .I hate how every body says and assumes head gasket there can be 20 other more than likely senerios like if you notice your cars getting hot and checked and noticed your car didn’t have water you are probably smart enough to keep at least water in it its probibly just a fault in your cooling system like a leak.if it was your head gasket you would still get SOME type of pressure in your cooling system check for steam right when your car over heats after you put coolant in ,I’d use water for the test coolants too expensive to be just leaked into the street check your floor panel see if its wet that would be your heater core check the floor under your vehicle right when you fill it .see if the leak is apparent. if your white smoke of your tail pipe is not super noticable,and it’s hard to tell at a stand still have someone else drive bye you in your vehicle. you can also get some stuff at auto zone or where ever to put in your cars coolat that has a pair of glasses and the stuff you pour it in and you use the glasses to look for your leak that will be aperent with the glasses on they also make a device that will tell you if your head gasket is blown bye screwing on your radiator and the salution will turn color telling you there is exaust fumes inside your cars coolant. I wish someone woulda explained stuff to me like I’ve took the time to do for you pass a good deed or favor on to someone else who needs it in return God bless and good luck

  3. Hi. My car is Honda Accord, it shakes when applied brake, it’s been showing check car engine light on the dashboard for a while, stops when applied brake in traffic but pick up almost immediately when ignited. I have changed plugs, blow the injector. What exactly could be the problem?

  4. I have camry 2004 was overheated and I used the blue devil fixed after that the car not started if the reason is low comression what should I do to get it back or fix it thanks

  5. Hello, I have a Hyundai Santafe 2008 model. Sometimes the car keeps vibrating when on idle, and while driving it loses power for sometimes then it picks again, this happens everytime I drive it. What could be the problem? Thank you.

  6. I have a 2011 F150 with an Ecoboost engine. It accelerates well from stop, but if I accelerate hard when I’m at highway speed (passing or going up a steeper incline), I lose power and the engine light starts to flash. The truck will run rough for a few minutes after, then go back to it’s normal self, which is good except for this power loss problem.

  7. Hi I have a kia cerado 2005 model and while driving it the engine light came on and it lost power and went to about 20km when I put my foot a little harder on the accelerator it just revs what do u think it could be my machanic said it was throttle sensor and fixed that but it’s still doing it

  8. first my brake light came on then a couple weeks later my battery light but when i put foot on brake battery light came on then with battery light on i lost pwer and dim light put it in 2nd gear and my power came back. took corner and my lights got bright. then the next time i went out my airbag brake and battery all were on and the lights were dim . whats my problem. alternator . i drove 30 miles with battery light on and every time i hit brake it would go off

  9. hi my polo tsi is dropping a speed I change petrol pump, petrol filter, top gasket, valves, seals and guides but it still have a same problem please help

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