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Causes of Power Loss and How to Fix it

8 July 2020

A vehicle’s engine produces power by using a mixture of air and fuel to achieve combustion. The energy produced, as a result of the combustion, is then transferred to the wheels and the car moves. It is the job of the engine to perform this function repeatedly with maximum efficiency. However, due to several reasons, at times, the engine loses power and we experience a loss in performance. This is not an untreatable mechanical illness and it can be solved through proper diagnosis of the problem. Here we will take a look at a few reasons for power loss and how to fix them.

Faulty Fuel Filter

The fuel filter has the responsibility of filtering the fuel before it goes into the engine. If the fuel filter gets clogged and the fuel does not reach the engine chamber in the right quantity then the engine will not be able to perform at its optimum level. You will feel a loss in power while accelerating and at times intermittent jerks. To solve this issue find the fuel filter located in the engine bay or near the fuel tank in your car’s trunk. If the fuel filter is clogged get it changed at your nearest mechanic workshop. 

Clogged Air Filter

An engine needs clean air to function properly. If dust and other particles enter the combustion chamber the engine can get damaged. Therefore, to ensure the flow of clean air to the motor, an air filter is used. This filter cleanses the air of dust and other harmful particles, which also means it goes bad after around 3000-5000 miles. If you don’t get it changed frequently, you are bound to notice a loss in your car’s performance.

Clogged Exhaust

The exhaust removes all the harmful and unnecessary gases from the engine. The sooner the exhaust excretes these gases the sooner the engine can restart combustion and the more power your car’s engine can make. Therefore, if the car can excrete gases at a faster rate than it produces them, the car runs faster and smoother. However, if there is any sort of obstacle in the way like a restricting cat-converter or a clogged exhaust then your engine loses power. You can solve this by introducing a high-flowing cat-converter or by widening your exhaust.

MAF Sensor Malfunction

The Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF) measures the amount of air the car needs to accelerate. Once it gets that measurement it sends this information to the ECU which notifies the throttle to open accordingly. If the MAF is faulty and not measuring the airflow properly then you could experience a serious loss in power. Sensors can get worn out due to heat and dust. Regularly cleaning them can help improve their function and in turn the efficiency of the engine.  

Oxygen Sensor Malfunction

The MAF senses the amount of air entering into the engine and the Oxygen sensor measures the number of gases exiting the engine. It is therefore located in the exhaust pipe. If the readings of the MAF match with the Oxygen sensor readings then this means your car is in perfect running condition. The oxygen sensor also affects the fuel injection system, so its proper function is necessary for the smooth running of your car. A malfunctioning oxygen sensor will cause the engine to burn a rich a/f mixture hurting your fuel economy in the process. Fortunately, sensors are pretty cheap and easy to replace.

Carbon Buildup on Fuel Injectors

Fuel injectors introduce fuel into the combustion chamber. They do this by sending in fuel at high-pressures, much like a spray. They need to spray the precise amount of fuel into the chamber for combustion to happen. If there is even a slight miscalculation the combustion cycle can get disrupted and that can result in loss of power and the worst-case scenario broken cams or pistons. One of the most common reasons for fuel injector’s failure is carbon buildup due to low-quality fuel. Carbon buildup can make it difficult for the injectors to spray fuel into the cylinders and that results in loss of performance. You can solve this issue by using a high-quality fuel system cleaner.

Weak Fuel Pump

The fuel pump delivers fuel from the fuel tank to the engine. The fuel pump has to be powerful enough to be able to send the fuel at high pressure. If the pressure is low the fuel injectors will not be able to spray the correct amount of fuel into the combustion chamber and that will result in a loss of power. A faulty fuel pump will not pose problems at low speeds but when you are looking for quick acceleration you might be left wanting. Fortunately, fuel pumps are replaced easily.

Conclusion

You can experience a loss in power due to any of the above reasons. Sometimes the problem is caused by a failure in more than one of the above systems. It is, therefore, best to get your car checked by a certified mechanic. 

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