acceleration problems in a car
October 20, 2022

What Causes Acceleration Problems in a Car

As you know, many people associate a great driving experience with acceleration. They are actually quite right. This is because poor acceleration reduces the ride quality of your vehicle and leads to serious problems such as wear, tear, etc. For this reason, one of the most popular questions is related to “why won’t my car accelerate”.

To give you useful information about problems with acceleration, let’s talk about a car not accelerating when pressing gas. In fact, those who say “my car won't accelerate when I push the gas” are not generally aware of how poor acceleration is risky. If you have a car struggling to accelerate, you will face frustration, worse fuel economy, environmental pollution, and accident risks.

In general, one of the most possible results of problems with acceleration is based on bad performance and more fuel consumption. This is already enough to annoy drivers. As you know, if you want to solve a problem, you need to find out its causes. When it comes to a car struggling to pick up speed, there are a lot of different reasons behind it.

We will talk about what causes acceleration problems in a vehicle. More specifically, the article will give a specific answer to the question “why won't my car accelerate”. Therefore, if you are one of those who say "my car won't accelerate when I push the gas", you need to keep reading!

Check if important components are clogged or dirty

One of the most important reasons for a car struggling to accelerate is clogged or dirty car parts. The reason is that they cause the engine to lose power. We can sort significant car parts affecting acceleration as air filters, mass air flow sensor, exhaust system, and fuel system. If one of them is clogged or dirty, you will have to say “my car won't accelerate when I push the gas”.

As you know, the air filter is designed to catch all kinds of contaminants like dust, dirt, and sand in the air. For this reason, it can get clogged over time. As the air filter allows clean air to get into the internal combustion chamber of the engine, it contributes to engine power. So, if this continuous process gets out of order due to a dirty air filter, you will deal with poor acceleration.

 A clogged air filter can cause big issues

Let’s look at a clogged mass air flow sensor. If you have a clogged or malfunctioning MAFS, it cannot measure the necessary amount of air flowing into the engine because of sending incorrect data to the ECU. This kind of faulty mass air sensor also leads to incorrect calculation of the air-fuel ratio. For this reason, you may get poor fuel economy and acceleration problems. 

A clogged exhaust system is also responsible for the poor acceleration. As it is unable to remove unnecessary and harmful gasses from the engine, the engine doesn’t restart combustion immediately. In fact, the engine cannot generate sufficient power. Therefore, if you have a dirty exhaust system, it will lead to a loss of engine power and problems with acceleration.

Another reason for a car not accelerating when pressing gas is a clogged fuel system. It consists of three components including a fuel filter, fuel injector, and fuel pump. While the fuel filter prevents impurities and particles from reaching the engine, the fuel injector controls the amount of fuel going into the combustion chamber. 

a dirty fuel filter and fuel injector

For this reason, a dirty fuel filter and fuel injector lead to a loss of horsepower. In addition, a clogged fuel pump cannot supply enough fuel from the fuel tank to the engine, so insufficient fuel supply causes you to ask “why won't my car accelerate”.

Detect your faulty car parts

If you have some faulty car parts, you can find yourself complaining about “my car won't accelerate when I push the gas” and also asking “why won't my car accelerate”. We can sort faulty car parts leading to poor acceleration as a throttle position sensor, APS, timing belt, and catalytic converter. Let’s talk about their functions in terms of acceleration.


A faulty throttle position sensor cannot monitor the throttle blade opening angle and the engine speed. For this reason, the accelerator doesn’t control both the increase and decrease of the engine speed. Thus, this kind of faulty throttle sensor leads to many problems with acceleration.

A faulty APS (accelerator pedal sensor) cannot transmit the right position of the accelerator pedal to ECU (engine control unit). For this reason, the load applied by the driver is not implemented immediately. Therefore, the faulty accelerator pedal sensor is responsible for the poor acceleration.

As you know, a timing belt is designed to manage the engine pistons, spark plugs, and car valves. But, a faulty timing belt cannot ensure the continuity of these parts moving together In the combustion process. Thus, if it leads to a collision between valves and pistons, the engine cannot produce enough power for acceleration.

A faulty catalytic converter doesn’t allow exhaust gasses to exit the engine. It is responsible for trapped gasses in the engine. For this reason, we can say that the faulty catalytic converter causes a lot of pressure to accumulate in the engine. So, you can face poor acceleration and also a serious fire because of the hot engine resulting from a faulty catalytic converter.

Discover How Pedal Commander Can Help With Acceleration 

We claim that Pedal Commander is all you need to get better acceleration. And we mean it! Once you solve all your issues, give Pedal Commander a shot! It is the most reliable and practical throttle response controller on the market. As Pedal Commander offers instant access to the engine power, you can experience smooth and fast ride quality with it. Our product is designed with high-quality technology, so it is easy to install and unplug in just 15 minutes.

Also, you can easily operate Pedal Commander from your mobile phone with its state of art app including Bluetooth capabilities. This technology allows you to customize your acceleration. In addition, Pedal Commander pays strict attention to your driving comfort, considering different road and weather conditions thanks to its four adjustable modes which are Eco mode, City mode, Sport mode, and Sport+ mode. With Pedal Commander’s cutting-edge features you will say goodbye to poor acceleration. 

FAQs About Car Acceleration Problems

1) Why is my car slow to accelerate?

Slow acceleration can result from fuel issues (like low pressure or clogged filters), airflow problems (dirty air filter or faulty mass airflow sensor), exhaust blockages (particularly a clogged catalytic converter), spark plug wear, or transmission issues. A professional mechanic can accurately diagnose and fix the problem.

2) What does it mean if my car jerks when accelerating?

Jerking during acceleration might be due to ignition issues (faulty spark plugs or coils), fuel supply disruptions (problematic injectors or filters), air intake system leaks, or transmission concerns, including fluid levels or torque converter problems. Immediate examination by a mechanic is advised to prevent further damage.

3) How do I fix a car that’s slow to accelerate?

Fixing a car that’s slow to accelerate involves diagnosing the underlying cause. Common remedies include cleaning or replacing the air filter, changing the fuel filter, replacing worn spark plugs, cleaning fuel injectors, and addressing any transmission issues. Accurate diagnosis by a professional is crucial for effective repair.