Car Maintenance And Repairs

7 Common Causes Of Car Hesitating On Acceleration

Mike Cross
Updated Feb 16, 2022
What Makes A Car Hesitate While Accelerating

Commonly, drivers will begin to experience a sort of hesitation to their cars acceleration; it feels as if you’re vehicle is slightly stopping and going, not really cruising with ease as it normally would be doing. This most likely occurs while accelerating from a stopping point, such as a red light or a stop sign, as opposed to hesitating while already maintaining a higher speed.

As soon as you feel the hesitating sensation, you undoubtedly begin to wonder if something has gone very wrong with your car, and how much it will cost to fix. Vehicle maintenance fees are no joke, often costing the customer a decent chunk of change.

Luckily, the common issue of vehicle acceleration hesitation is normally caused by a small issue, and can sometimes be fixed with new parts and maintenance at a relatively low rate.

This is not to say some potential causes of your vehicles hesitation are always minor. Some issues may be more serious than others, and will require more money to fix. There is quite a broad range of possibilities that could be pointed to as the root of your acceleration hesitation issue, and these will be discussed in the following sections.

There is always the possibility that your car's acceleration hesitation could be connected to a larger issue, so it would always be recommended to see your local mechanic, body shop or dealership for help. Catching a problem early can mean all the difference when it comes to paying a lot for repairs, or paying the minimum.

What Makes A Car Hesitate While Accelerating
What Makes A Car Hesitate While Accelerating

Common Causes of Acceleration Hesitation

As mentioned, there is a range of possible causes that could be linked to your acceleration issue, some being more drastic than others. Luckily, some are quite common, being easy to identify and replace, or fix as needed.

1. Thrown-Off Mixture of Fuel & Air

In a combustion vehicle, whether gasoline or diesel, there is a required and precise mixture of fuel and air that allows the engine to run properly. If this mixture is thrown off in one way or another, the engine could either start to run too lean, meaning it has too much air, or too rich, meaning it has too much fuel.

As for hesitation, dealing with a mixture that is too lean will most likely cause this. Listed below will be some possible causes of this unbalanced mixture, as well as other general problems that may be the cause of the hesitation.

2. Mass Airflow Sensor

As a device that measures how much air is flowing into the engine, relaying it to the  vehicle's computer, it proves crucial in the cars fuel injection process by ensuring the correct amount of fuel is delivered to the fuel injectors.

If this begins to fail, your check engine light may light up, and could be a potential cause of your hesitation. Using obdii scanner you will get the code and know exactly what is the issue.

Average price to have it bought and replaced: $275 - $300

Read more:

What Happens If You Disconnect Mass Air Flow Sensor?
What Happens If You Disconnect Mass Air Flow Sensor?

3. Fuel Pump

Normally residing in the fuel tank, this device pumps fuel into the engine. In the event that it becomes unable to maintain correct pressure, less fuel may be reaching the engine, making it run too lean. A malfunctioning fuel pump could be the potential source of your hesitation issue.

Average price to have it bought and replaced: $758 - $1,062

4. Failing Fuel Injectors

As a device that sprays fuel as a fine mist into the engines cylinders, igniting it as it mixes with air, it is working very often while the car is moving and can, over time, become dirty and begin to fail.

If this happens, your engine will likely begin to run too lean, gathering too much air as opposed to the required ratio of the mixture.

Average price to have your current fuel injectors cleaned: $50 - $80

Average price to have them bought and replaced: $1,112 - $1,391

5. Oxygen Sensor Malfunction

Positioned in the exhaust system, these O2 sensors normally work as a duo, with one being closer to the exhaust manifold, while the other is situated down the exhaust pipe further down. It’s main purpose is to monitor the amount of oxygen in the exhaust compared to other gases, sending this information back to the car's computer.

If this sensor begins to fail, you will begin to experience your engine running too rich, and this could be the cause of your acceleration problem.

Average price to have it bought and replaced: $250 - $320

6. Catalytic Converter

As a requirement in all cars nowadays, catalytic converters are responsible for converting the harmful emissions from cars combustion processes into non-harmful gases. When one is missing from or damaged on a car, it is normally noticeable, as the car is louder and will make unusual sounds.

A damaged catalytic converter can cause bad fuel economy, loud noises, and may be the root of your acceleration hesitation issue.

Average price to have it bought and replaced: $945 - $2475

7. Throttle Position Sensor

In relation to its name, this sensor is responsible for telling the vehicle’s computer how much pressure is being exerted on the acceleration pedal, as well as how open the throttle is. In accordance with this sensor, the computer correctly adjusts the fuel metering and ignition timing.

When this sensor begins to fail, the vehicle’s computer may have trouble supervising these processes, and can cause your engine to hesitate on acceleration.

Average price to have it bought and replaced: $164 - $228

If Hesitation Is Experienced, Diagnose The Issue ASAP

As exemplified above, there is certainly a fair amount of issues that can be linked to the acceleration hesitation your car’s engine is experiencing, and these can vary a bit when it comes to cost and replacement fees. Some of these issues can cost you a pretty penny, while some others may not run your pockets too deep.

Being an issue that can lead to other, more costly issues, it would always be recommended to take your car to your local mechanic, body shop or dealership right away if you are experiencing hesitation in your car’s acceleration.

Mike Cross
Life is too short to drive with stock audio

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