Q:

Why does my car hesitate when I accelerate?

A:

Quick Answer

If an engine stalls upon acceleration, one likely cause is a dirty fuel filter. Not replacing the filter according to the manufacturer's recommendation allows debris from fuel to build up and plug it. This causes the car to operate on a lean fuel supply and render it unable to meet the demand of pressing the accelerator pedal, according to Carsut.

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Why does my car hesitate when I accelerate?
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Full Answer

Fuel injectors become dirty and stop operating normally over time. Varnish from gasoline closes the orifice in the fuel injector, so fuel is no longer able to pass properly. If fuel filters continue to foul after cleaning, the problem often stems from a fuel tank with accumulated debris from cheap gasoline.

Problems with plugs, plug wires and spark plugs also cause cars to stall. If the plugs are new but the car continues to hesitate, the problem is likely in the plug wires. If replacing both plugs and wires does not cure the situation, it is likely in the ignition system.

Most newer vehicles have onboard diagnostic systems. Under normal circumstances, the hesitation upon acceleration causes the check engine light to illuminate. The diagnostic system stores a code indicating the cause of the stall. Have the problem checked using a scan tool. These systems prevent the unnecessary replacement of parts in order to troubleshoot a problem.


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