Car Won’t Accelerate, But RPM’s Go Up- What are the Causes and How to Troubleshoot Them?

Have you ever been in a situation where you step on the gas pedal, but your car won’t accelerate even though the RPMs are going up? This can be a frustrating and confusing experience, especially if you need clarification on what’s causing the issue.

RPM is referred to as revolutions per minute. It is a measurement of how many times the crankshaft of an engine rotates in a minute. Your car’s rpm gauge lets you know how quickly the engine turns at any particular time. 

A car that won’t accelerate can be a symptom of various problems. Some could be minor, while others could be more serious and require immediate attention. Regardless of the cause, it’s crucial to address this problem sooner rather than later to avoid potential safety hazards.

If you’re experiencing this issue, there are several possible reasons why your car won’t accelerate, but the RPMs are going up. Identifying the root cause of the problem is essential to ensure that you can continue to drive safely and efficiently. Here are eight reasons why your car may be experiencing this issue.

10 Underlying Reasons Your Car Won’t Accelerate, But Its RPM Goes Up. 

Malfunctioning Engine Control Module (ECM)

The Engine Control Module (ECM) controls various engine functions, including fuel injection and acceleration. If there’s an issue with the ECM, it can cause a lack of acceleration. A mechanic can diagnose and fix any issues with the ECM.

Worn out clutch 

The clutch disc may have worn out, another potential source of this problem. Most manual cars have a clutch plate. The vehicle won’t accelerate even if the RPMs rise because of a broken clutch. The clutch joins the gearbox to the engine through the flywheel and input shaft. 

The clutch can no more hold the gear when it starts to deteriorate. It will lose control and squeal when it loses contact with the vehicle’s flywheel. At high speeds and with rapid acceleration, this frequently occurs. It degrades when the clutch slips and has a maximum torque capacity.

The worn-out component must be replaced as the only remedy in this case. Bring someone else if you are unable to complete the task yourself.

Transmission Fluid 

Low gearbox fluid levels can cause increased RPMs yet poor acceleration in your car. The function of the gearbox fluid is to support and aid the gearbox as it transmits power to the car’s engine. A problem may arise if the gearbox fluid leaks or gets low.

The engine cannot transfer power; only the torque converter can. This is remarkably accurate when the gearbox fluid level is low. Thus, you must check your gearbox fluid at home and replace it if the level is either lower or greater than what is advised. If you still need to, you can promptly have your car inspected.

Fuel System Issue

The engine might not receive the right amount of fuel if there’s a cause for concern with the fuel system. This may result in the engine running erratically or stalling out completely. Several fuel systems problems, such as a blocked fuel filter, a malfunctioning fuel pump, or a gasoline line leak, could bring on this issue.

Defective Mass Air Flow Sensor

The Mass Air Flow Sensor measures the air entering the engine and sends a signal to the engine control unit. If the sensor becomes defective, it can cause a car not to accelerate even though RPMs are increasing.

Clogged Catalytic Converter

A clogged catalytic converter can restrict exhaust flow, which can cause a lack of acceleration. This issue can often be accompanied by a smell of rotten eggs from the exhaust.

Clogged Air Filter

A clogged dirty air filter has the full possibility to restrict the amount of air entering the engine. This can cause the engine to struggle to generate enough power, which, in turn, can prevent the car from accelerating.

Faulty Fuel Pump

If the fuel pump is not working in a proper manner, it can cause a decrease in fuel pressure, which can hinder the engine’s performance. It can lead a car to stall or not accelerate even though the RPMs are increasing.

Bad Transmission

A damaged or worn-out transmission can cause a car to struggle to accelerate. In such a scenario, the engine might rev up, but the transmission may not be able to transfer enough power to accelerate the car.

Faulty Throttle Position Sensor

It is a type of sensor that analyses the position of the throttle pedal and sends a signal to the engine control unit. If this sensor becomes faulty, it can cause a delay in the opening of the throttle and lead to a lack of acceleration even though RPMs are increasing.

Possible Solutions to Help You Diagnose and Fix the Issue.

1. Check for a Clogged Air Intake Filter

A clogged air intake filter can restrict the amount of air that reaches the engine, which can cause the car to lose power. To fix this, simply replace the air intake filter.

2. Check for a Restricted Exhaust System

If your car’s exhaust system is clogged or restricted, it can also cause the car to lose power. A quick way to test this is to remove the exhaust pipe from the engine and see if the car usually accelerates. If it does, the exhaust system must be cleaned or replaced.

3. Check the Fuel Filter

The fuel filter works by restricting dirt and debris from getting into the engine and clogging it up. If it becomes clogged, it can restrict fuel flow to the engine, therefore leading it to lose power. To remedy this, replace the fuel filter.

4. Check the Transmission Fluid

If the transmission fluid level is low, it can cause the car to lose power and not accelerate even though the engine revs up. Check the transmission fluid level and add more if necessary.

The Bottom Line 

In conclusion, several factors can cause a car not to accelerate even when the RPMs go up. It’s essential to identify the cause of the issue and address it promptly to ensure your vehicle functions in a swift and smooth way on the road.

Regular maintenance and inspection of the various systems in your car can help prevent many of these issues. However, if you experience acceleration issues, it’s advisable to get it checked by a professional mechanic.