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What Causes a Car to Suddenly Lose Power? 11 Causes

What Causes a Car to Suddenly Lose Power? 11 Causes

If you're wondering, what causes a car to suddenly lose power? Check out these 11 potential causes:

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  1. Issues with the compression
  2. Problems with the fuel filter
  3. Troubles with the air filter
  4. Issues with the exhaust pipe
  5. Malfunctioning in the camshaft position sensor
  6. Troubles with the MAF sensor
  7. Complications with the faulty oxygen sensor
  8. Damages in the fuel injector
  9. Troubles with the fuel pump
  10. Problems with a spark plug
  11. Issues with the ignition coil

Car problems can be very complicated; learning one or two things about these problems help you get out of emergencies and prevent you from dealing with safety issues.

One of the common car problems you might experience is when your car suddenly loses power while driving, especially while accelerating.

Typically, your vehicle will lose power as you hit the gas pedal because you do not have fuel, or your engine doesn't have enough power. Either way, there are specific reasons behind your vehicle losing power.

Learning about these reasons helps you narrow down the list and expect what is coming next regarding repair options and repair costs.


This article helps answer the question, what causes a car to suddenly lose power? In addition, it highlights 11 potential causes you should inspect and resolve immediately if you want your vehicle to run again.

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What causes a car to suddenly lose power?

When your car suddenly loses power, you're most likely dealing with mechanical, malfunctioning sensors, or actuator problems. These three categories can be further divided into the following potential culprits that you should check and resolve:

1.    Issues with the compression

The first and most important thing to check when your car suddenly loses power is the compression. Whether you're driving a gasoline or diesel engine vehicle, you have the right compression and don't want any leaks within the engine system. Otherwise, the engine will not have the right compression; therefore, it cannot have the right environment for the combustion process that happens properly and generates the required energy.

There are many potential causes for a reduction in the compression in your engine system, which could include a problem with the cylinder issue, and it could also be related to some other surroundings that allowed pressure to leak from the system. Your mechanic needs to thoroughly inspect all these components and determine what is going on to resolve the issue.

2.    Problems with the fuel filter

Interestingly, sometimes all that you're dealing with has to do with a simple component like a fuel filter. A clogged fuel filter can easily prevent your engine from producing the required energy because there is insufficient fuel inside the cylinders. Therefore, your engine doesn't produce any energy.

If your filter is expected to get font over time because it collects any contaminants or debris and prevents them from getting inside the cylinders. You must follow the requirements in your vehicle's owner's manual to determine what exactly took place for the fuel filter. There are many potential symptoms that you will deal with when your fuel filter is about to get completely clogged, and you should detect those before you get to a point where you ask yourself, what causes a car to suddenly lose power?!

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3.    Troubles with the air filter

Like the bad fuel filter, sometimes you're dealing with a problem that has to do with the air supply in your engine. If you don't already know, the engine requires a specific amount of air and fuel to get mixed and ignited until it generates the energy. So when there is any problem with the three goals, you will deal with engine misfiring and can easily deal with situations where you ask yourself, what causes a car to suddenly lose power?

Once you confirm that your fuel filter has no problem, the next step is to check on the air filter to ensure enough air is getting inside the cylinders to achieve the proper combustion process. Unfortunately, the air filter can also get clogged because of the collected contaminants and debris over time. If you don't follow your manual recommendations, you can easily get trapped in a situation where your car suddenly loses power.

You must differentiate between your car's two types of air filters. There is one next to the engine, and there's another one in your cabin, and that second one is responsible for clearing the air getting inside the vehicle’s interior, and that's not the one we're talking about.

4.    Issues with the exhaust pipe

After checking the pathways for the inputs in your engine, the next step is to check on the output. You want to ensure that the exhaust pipes are clean and clear, allowing the exhaust to leave safely and smoothly without any issue. If the exhaust pipe is clogged, it will impact the overall combustion process, and your engine will have some compression issues and the extra pressure that the Internet cannot handle. Therefore, you can easily get to a point where you ask yourself, what causes a car to suddenly lose power?

Have your mechanic look at the exhaust pipe and check what is going on. Sometimes your mechanic could be able to clean this pipe and clear anything clogging it. However, in some instances, the issue could be a bit more complicated than might require some parts replacements.

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5.    Malfunctioning in the camshaft position sensor

In addition to the potential problems with the bigger components, you might have issues with simple minor components like the sensors. For example, the first sensor that could cause your car to lose power suddenly is the camshaft position sensor.

This sensor is responsible for communicating with your vehicle's engine and telling it where the camshaft is located. This way, your engine will receive the required information about when to send fuel and go to send the other pending components on the position of this camshaft sensor.

If there's a problem with the sensor, your vehicle's computer will not receive the right information and won't know when to send the fuel and when to complete the combustion process.

Therefore, it's not surprising to deal with car shopping and losing power when there's a problem with the camshaft position sensor.

6.    Troubles with the MAF sensor

The MAF sensor is another important sensor to check because it could also prevent your car from working properly. It can easily get your vehicle to stop suddenly without any warning sign.

In most scenarios, when there is a problem with this sensor, it will trigger a check engine lights, allowing you to take advantage of other ways to check and confirm the real culprit.

For example, if you have a simple tool like an OBDII scanner, you cannot easily scan your vehicle's computer and get an idea about the error code. You can then translate this error code using Google or, depending on the complexity of your scanner, come to like you should be able to tell what exactly is going on. Then, based on the scanner results, you will most likely determine if it's related to the MAF sensor.

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7.    Complications with the faulty Oxygen sensor

The oxygen sensor is one of the most critical sensors in your vehicle. It is responsible for communicating with your vehicle’s computer about the amount of oxygen exiting the combustion process. This information is extremely important because it tells your computer how well the combustion process went and how much air and fuel should get inside the cylinders the next time.

Of course, the oxygen sensor is a common culprit causing your vehicle to stop suddenly without any previous warning sign. However, you will typically notice and check the engine light associated with the problem, which could help you narrow down the list and determine what is going on.

8.    Damages in the fuel injector

As we mentioned earlier, your engine expects a specific amount of fuel, air, and a spark. If there is a problem with any potential of these, you can easily deal with your car stopping suddenly without any previous warning sign.

Sometimes a bad fuel injector could be the real culprit causing this issue. This is because when the fuel injector doesn't work, no fuel gets inside the cylinders; therefore, your engine doesn't produce any power because it cannot generate power using air only. The situation will be extremely like when you have no fuel in your vehicle.

Unfortunately, if you confirm that the fuel injector is the culprit, you need to replace it. It can be a little bit expensive, but that's only one solution you have. Your mechanic should be provided with detailed advice about whether it's worth replacing all the fuel injectors or you should think about selling your car.

If you've got to the point that you need to sell this vehicle because it has too many problems, you can always reach out to Cash Cars Buyer who guarantees to buy your car no matter what! All you need to do is to give us a call at 866-924-4608.

10 Signs Of A Bad Fuel Injector

9.    Troubles with the fuel pump

In some more severe scenarios, your problem could be related to a more sophisticated issue, including the fuel pump. As the name suggests, the fuel pump is responsible for pumping fuel from the fuel tank to your vehicle cylinders. When there is a problem with this pump, you won't receive the right pressure, and, in most cases, your cylinders will not receive the specific amount of fuel needed for your combustion process to happen properly.

If that's the case, your mechanic needs to inspect the fuel pump and determine what is causing this issue. If you get to a point where the fuel pump fails, you must replace it. However, replacing the fuel pump is not simple, and it's not cheap, and that's where you must evaluate the situation and determine whether your vehicle is worth the repairs.

10.  Problems with a spark plug

Problems with the spark plugs can also make you wonder what suddenly causes a car to lose power? First, check your spark plugs and have your mechanic inspect each one because multiple cylinders depend on the number of cylinders in your engine.

We highly encourage you to invest in higher-quality spark plugs because they don't fail fast, and you will likely not need to replace them frequently. Therefore, if you get involved in situations where your car stops suddenly because of a problem with the spark plug, it might be worth investing, and a slightly higher quality want to prevent the situation from happening again.

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11.  Issues with the ignition coil

Finally, the ignition coil might be the potential culvert causing your vehicle to stop suddenly. If that happens, you must inspect it and replace it if needed. Depending on your vehicle type, brand, and where you get the job done, prices can differ significantly. Unfortunately, there's no other solution for you to get rid of this problem except to replace the ignition coils if they fail.

Final thoughts

Dealing with car problems can be extremely challenging, and when these problems happen suddenly without any clear explanation, they can be extremely frustrating, especially for an experienced driver.
This article walked you through 11 potential causes behind situations where you wonder, what causes a car to suddenly lose power?

As we highlighted before, some of these causes could be very simple, and you can resolve them independently. However, there are many instances where you might need to invest thousands of dollars in resolving the issue. If you're dealing with the latter situation, we highly encourage you to evaluate whether you should sell your car rather than risking your time, money, and effort.

If you're looking for someone to buy a car with problems, you can always consult Cash Cars Buyer!

Cash Cars Buyer is one of the top-rated car removal companies in the nation that guarantees to pay you the top dollars and provide you with free towing despite your living location around the United States.

Our process is very straightforward and doesn't take more than a couple of days to get your car removed safely and for the most money.

All it takes you is to:

  • Describe your car's type and condition
  • Receive our instant free quote
  • Accept the quote
  • Get your car removed and receive your cash payment on the spot!

To learn more about our process and our team, you can reach out to us by calling us at (866) 924-4608 or by visiting our home page click on the free instant online offer.