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Why Does My Car Hesitate When I Accelerate?

2020 Chevrolet Traverse on Dirt Road

Have you noticed that your car feels sluggish or seems to lag when you hit the gas? A car that hesitates when accelerating is likely to have an engine issue—like a clogged fuel filter or broken fuel pump—although it’s also possible that there’s something wrong with the transmission.

Learn more below about the possible reasons why your car hesitates when you try to accelerate. If you’d rather leave it to professionals, we’re happy to find the root of the problem when you schedule service here at Sid Dillon Chevrolet Crete!

Common Causes of Engine Hesitation 

There are a handful of engine-related reasons that a car hesitates when accelerating on Lincoln roadways. There may be a problem with one of the following parts:

  • Fuel Pump: The fuel pump delivers a specific amount of fuel to the engine combustion chamber. If the fuel pump doesn’t deliver the right amount of fuel, your engine could hesitate when you try to accelerate.
  • Mass Airflow Sensor: The mass airflow sensor (MAF) detects the amount of air flowing into the engine. It then sends that info to the car’s main computer, which tells the fuel injectors how much fuel to send to the engine. A worn-out MAF may not be able to detect the right amount of air, and in turn, the engine won’t receive the proper amount of fuel.
  • Fuel Injectors: When fuel injectors wear down or get dirty, they’re less effective at spraying fuel into the internal combustion chamber. Over time, this can increasingly cause a car to hesitate when accelerating.
  • Throttle Position Sensor: Throttle position sensors communicate with the main computer about the proper placement and pressure for the throttle. The computer uses this information to fine-tune the fuel and air mixture before it enters the engine—but a broken sensor will result in a sub-optimal air/fuel mixture being sent to the engine.
  • Fuel Filter: The fuel filter is there to catch dust and dirt particles before they can get mixed up in the fuel. If the filter is clogged, the fuel can become contaminated and cause engine hesitation.

Transmission Issues: the Reason Your Car Hesitates When Accelerating?

If you’ve determined that there are no issues with your engine, why does your car hesitate when you accelerate? The problem is likely with the transmission. Like combustion engines, electronically controlled transmissions can develop sensor and actuator issues. 

If your car hesitates when accelerating and there’s nothing wrong with the engine, you could be dealing with damaged clutches, transmission clutch slippage, a worn-out transmission oil pump, or clutch solenoid failure.

Rely On Us for Professional Engine and Transmission Service Near Crete!

If you’re looking for expert help with a car that hesitates when accelerating or stalls when you start the engine, look no further than the dedicated service center at Sid Dillon Chevrolet Crete. We proudly serve the Seward and Milford areas with top-notch car care and fair prices. Browse our current service specials and see how much you can save at your next appointment!


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Sid Dillon Chevrolet Crete 40.6448, -96.9338.