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Why is My Car Stalling When I Accelerate? Common Causes

Experiencing car stalling when accelerating? Discover the common causes behind this frustrating issue and find out how to fix it with this helpful guide.

Engine stalls while accelerating can be a frustrating and potentially dangerous issue for drivers. It can happen in various situations, but two specific scenarios are commonly associated with this problem. In this article, we will explore these scenarios, understand the underlying causes, and provide remedies for each case. By identifying and addressing these issues, you can ensure the smooth operation of your vehicle.

Scenario 1: Moisture in Distributor Cap

Have you noticed that your engine tends to stall on cold, wet mornings or during heavy fog? If the answer is yes, then moisture in the distributor cap may be causing misfiring and engine stalls.

Moisture in Distributor Cap

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In cold and wet weather conditions, condensation forms on the inside of the distributor cap overnight. When the engine is cold, this moisture can cause an electrical current to arc inside the distributor cap, resulting in engine misfires. These misfires are particularly pronounced during acceleration, leading to engine stalls.

To prevent moisture-related stalling, consider parking your vehicle inside a garage during rainy or wet weather. This will help keep the distributor cap dry and minimize the chances of moisture-induced misfires.

Scenario 2: Vacuum Leak

If you have noticed that your engine stalls have become more frequent over time, it might be due to a vacuum leak.

Vacuum leaks often start small and gradually worsen over time due to the pressure inside the engine. In a vehicle's fuel system, vacuum plays a crucial role in determining the air/fuel mixture that enters the engine's combustion chambers. Any leak in this system can disrupt the air/fuel ratio, leading to engine hesitation or, in severe cases, stalling.

To address a potential vacuum leak, it's essential to consult a mechanic. Request a thorough inspection, focusing on components such as the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) valves, as these are common sources of vacuum leaks.

Scenario 3: Bad Throttle Position Sensor

If your engine stalls have remained constant and not gradually worsened over time, a faulty throttle position sensor might be the cause.

Fuel-injected engines are equipped with a throttle position sensor that measures the degree to which the gas pedal is depressed. This sensor provides data to the engine's computer, which calculates the appropriate amount of fuel to inject into the engine. A malfunctioning throttle position sensor can disrupt this calculation, leading to stalling during acceleration.

Consult a mechanic to diagnose and potentially replace the throttle position sensor if necessary. When discussing the issue with the mechanic, explain the symptoms and causes we've discussed in this article. Demonstrating knowledge of the problem can aid in a more accurate diagnosis and resolution.

Engine stalls while accelerating can result from various factors, including moisture in the distributor cap, vacuum leaks, or a faulty throttle position sensor. Identifying the specific scenario that applies to your situation is the first step in finding an effective remedy. By following the recommended actions, you can address these issues and enjoy a smoother and safer driving experience. Remember that regular maintenance and proactive problem-solving are essential for keeping your vehicle in top condition.

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  1. WHat if, after the stall, the engine cannot be restarted for about 15 minutes. The engine cranks, but does not start. After waiting, the engine starts, the vehicle runs as if nothing had happened.
    Replace the (dot) with a .

  2. my car is toyota corolla gli (efi) 94 model, ive been experiencing engine stalling during called start even if not cold wet weather but if the engine gets hot the vehicle runs if nothing had happened. Pls advice....


  3. My 81 cutlass has a 5.0 Liter V8, when I have the car in neutral or park I can "gun" it with no problems, but in drive I have to press the accelerator more slowly or it will struggle and/or die...any ideas...?

  4. Check your exhaust

  5. In hot or cold weather, every morning or evening (when the car has been sitting at a place for some time) - car starts normally, but if put it in gear & accelerate without leaving it in idle for at least a minute or so after starting the engine, engine stalls. In fact even if I just put it in gear without leaving it in idle for sufficient time, I can see hear the engine weak and struggling. But if I leave it in idle for about a minute or so and then drive, no issues after that. It is a 2000 corolla with about 125k miles and has all 4 new iridium spark plugs since last year. And also ever since I had a missing gas tank cap last year, the check engine light keeps coming and going. Engine does consume some oil if I go at higher speeds. If I stick to around 50-55mph, no significant consumption.I keep experimenting with different thicker/synthetic oils but this problem seems independent of whatever oil type I use. Any inputs would be appreciated. Thx.

  6. I have a 04 VW GTi 1.8T auto with the sport shifter - i'm having problems when trying to shift out of first gear (go over 10mph) because the car stalls out, revs up but doesn't jump into gear. I've noticed that I can prevent this from happening half the time by warming up the car for at least 40 minutes before attempting to drive. It's still rough at stop lights and jumps into gear, also around turns it slips out and jumps back into gear.

  7. hi i have a toytoa 2e we just replaced the engine and it ran amazing we went a fueled up and when we got to the end of the road it died. now it idles fine put when put foot down the revs come up and then it dies. if you keep pumping the gas pedal it will react but if your to hold the pedal down in any point it will die but will return to idle?????? any ideas be awsome

  8. hi,

    i have an 09 corolla and i've been experiencing weird accelerating and braking problems. My car has stopped letting me accelerate, while the rpm shot up and mph locked at like 20. If i turn it off and turn it back on it runs normal again but my engine light turns on. Sometimes when i'm driving the car sounds like it's pushing but nothing changes on the mph or rpm. It's like i'm accelerating but nothing is happening. My car has also shut off while the battery was still running by itself.

    It said there was a pedal position sensor issue, i changed the wiring harness, but this is still happening. Any idea on why???

  9. My car keeps stalling for about 3-4 times but usually after its first few minutes of driving.
    After few kms it drives good without any stalls.
    What could be the problem??

    1. Hi, thanks for visiting our site.
      About your problem, does the stalling occur during cold weather?


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