11 Causes of Car Losing Power When Accelerating (Diesel & Petrol Engine)

If you are driving your car and notice that you are losing power as you accelerate, there can only be one of two reasons for this. Either you do not have enough fuel in your vehicle or you do not have enough power. And there are many reasons why your vehicle losing the POWER especially when accelerate, some common causes are:

  • Mechanical problems such as: Low compression, Clogged fuel filter, Dirty air filter, Clogged Exhaust Manifold
  • Malfunction of Sensors such as: camshaft position sensor, MAF sensor, Oxygen sensor, Crankshaft sensor and all sensor relative to the EFI system.
  • Malfunction of Actuators such as: Bad injectors, bad fuel pump, bad spark plugs

11 Causes of Car Poor Power When Accelerating in Diesel & Petrol Engine

There are little different causes between diesel and petrol engine. For more information, please see 11 possible causes below:

1. Low Compression (Diesel & Petrol Engine)

In order for a car’s engine to function properly and provide adequate power to the vehicle, there must be great cylinder compression throughout the combustion process. If the compression is low, then the power of the engine will be low. The result will be an engine that does not function properly.

2. Clogged Fuel Filter (Diesel & Petrol Engine)

The fuel filter is located in between the fuel injectors and fuel pump of your vehicle. The job of the fuel filter is to screen the gasoline for any impurities which may exist in it. That way, when the fuel pump sends the gasoline into the engine, those impurities won’t be there. The fuel filter is literally a barrier between the contaminants in the gasoline and the engine of your vehicle. If you were to have a dirty fuel filter or one that couldn’t perform its job properly because it’s damaged or clogged, then those contaminants would find their way into the engine. Once that happens, the engine will eventually lose its power and the overall functionality of the vehicle will be impaired.

3. Bad Air Filter (Diesel & Petrol Engine)

The internal combustion chamber of an engine is responsible for mixing gasoline and air together in order to generate the power that is needed to run your vehicle. Before the air can enter the chamber, it must pass through an air filter that screens out bugs, debris, and other kinds of impurities that may exist in it. If these impurities were to get into the engine, they would damage it immensely. However, air filters tend to get clogged after they’ve been used for a while. Once an air filter gets clogged, it will limit the amount of air that can get into the internal combustion chamber. This will negatively impact the functionality of the vehicle because the engine won’t be able to generate a sufficient amount of power to run the car.

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23 thoughts on “11 Causes of Car Losing Power When Accelerating (Diesel & Petrol Engine)

  1. Hello, my stepvan with a diesel MWM international engine is failing when you hit the gas pedal. What could be the cause?
    The truck was sitting at a storage for 3 or 4 months.

    1. It can be learning value memory in your engine ecu is deleted due to no power source. Just make initialization, start engine warm up than drive vehicle for more than 30 minutes.

  2. My MercedesBenz c220 cdi 2010 when reaching a speed of 130 the orange light comes up and it looses power diesel pump inside the tank have been replaced but it is still doing the same

  3. My petrol car loses its power when i accelerate..i changed the filter,lead set oil pump…but the problem still exists..what will b the cause?help me out..!diagnose..

  4. my 2005 ford five hundred has a acceleration problem and just happens when am driving of course but just when I want to or need to accelerate it tends to kinda shake or some kinda a big vibration and stops as soon as release the gas pedal..?

  5. My new Holland wheel loader have high acceleration and sometimes it can accelerate itself without stepping on the pedal. Also there low steering pressure warning on its dash board. What might be the problem?

  6. Timothy Lockhart · Edit

    Hi my name is Timothy and I’m have trouble with my 2002 nissan Altima 3.5 I can be riding down the road and it lose power I change the throttle body sensor I change the two cam sensors but it still doing the exact same thing like I said I could be going down the road and I lose power but like if I pull my my window like I’m letting my windows up and I hold it it’ll catch up catchpower what’s going on with it and it’s like I have no separation but it’ll catch and then I lose again and a kickstand I lose again help me please

  7. hello! my names are Alfred John.
    Currently i replaced a new dry cell battery(Toyota Passo) but my car still faces the problem of near-shutting down.

    What might be the problem?!

  8. Thank you for your very helpfull advise. I drive a 08 vauxhall corsa. While i was driving i was loosing power i hope its only the filter that needs changing as i also had some white smoke coming from the tail end of my car. But when it had rested for a few hours it started up fine. I am going to get it checked out so fingers crossed

  9. hi my Toyota Innova was just oiled change and and service cleaned last April 2018. Lately, it is having difficulty accelerating. Would you know the reason why?

  10. Hola, comento un caso particular en que me falló una boina de corriente, eso también hace que caiga la aceleración del vehiculo, aunque no solo eso, por supuesto afecta toda la parte electrica,

  11. My car ford focus 2013 model sedan type experiencing the following: Most of the time when i started to run the car, i felt that rpm doesn’t increase even i stepped on the accelerator with pressure, then after few moment, as the automatic gear shifted, rpm decreases in a sudden, which is supposedly smooth. And it happened every time the gear shifted. However, during the high gear and on stable running, everything is well. But then, when using engine brakes, i felt that something is jerking or shaking especially when shifting to low gear along with the engine brake.

    Last week transmission has been changed with a 2nd hand one, catalytic converter and TCM were brand new changed as well.

    What is the problem?

  12. My Golf 6 1.4 TSI 2012 model is loosing power and cut off ,when I press accelerator the is no compression on it. The other thing I have noticed is that the car it’s like changing it self when it’s about to start this cutting off. I normally park the car aside and wait for 20 to 30 min before it can start again. When I open the bonnet the engine is so hot especially the turbo side. I have taken my car to the Vw dealers and mechanics non of them seems to be able to solve this issue please assist me. I am in South Africa

    1. look like your car overheat, please check engine oil on dipstick to find out the oil and coolant mix. and check the compression each cylinder

  13. Hi I just had camshaft sensor replaced in my santa fee. Collected it from garage and its loosing power. Can you explain why this is. Very worried


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