Mechanics

Low Power

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Today's engines have been designed to have more output performance power and lower emissions than ever before. So when the output of your vehicles engine is compromised it is easily detected. When your vehicle has low power output it can mean several different things are occurring. You should know while your car has low performance it could be damaging components while you drive.

Example: The emergency brake is on and you did not notice, this condition will burn up the rear brake pads or shoes and cause premature emergency brake failure. Or, the fuel filter is clogged causing the fuel pump to labor which can cause premature fuel pump failure. There are basically two kinds of low power conditions either the engine is running rough causing low power or the engine is running smoothly but still has low power. If the engine is running smoothly but has low power you are in the right place. If your engine is running rough causing low power please visit.- Engine Misfires

Car Repair Information Guide

Scan for Trouble Codes - Check to see if the "service engine soon" light is on, if not continue to the next step. If the "check engine" (same thing as a service engine soon light, different manufacturers call it different things) light is illuminated you need to have the computer scanned for trouble codes. Use a simple scanner tool to retrieve trouble codes and check if they relate to the specific problem, like a fuel pump circuit failure code. If a trouble code is present but does not pertain to the immediate problem like an EVAP code ignore it until a later time, after the engine is running properly. The reason we repair non-related codes after the engine is running properly is because sometime false codes can be triggered by a poorly running engine

Once the engine is running properly the code present might cycle and turn itself off. You might say "if the engine isn't running right shouldn't it have a check engine light and a trouble code?" Sometimes conditions occur that will not be detected by the computer, example: if the intake or exhaust valve operation fails the computer cannot detect the failure because the problem is not sensor related, so the engine has no power and the computer thinks everything is ok with no codes. If the trouble code retrieved relates to a low power like a mass air flow (MAF) sensor or ignition coil system failure repair these problems and re-test system. If no trouble codes are present proceed to the next step.


How to Scan for Trouble Codes Video

Checking the Air Filter - A plugged air filter not allowing the proper amount of air into the engine. If air is not allowed to enter the engine's intake it will limit the engine power output. To check your engine air filter open the hood and remove the air filter from its housing and inspect, replace as needed and recheck.


Replacing an Engine Air Filter Video

Check the Fuel Filter - Several conditions can cause low power, one of the most common reasons is a clogged fuel filter not allowing the proper amount of fuel pressure and volume into the fuel injection system.  To check for this condition remove the fuel filter and drain excess fuel from the filter, next wipe any excess fuel from the filter. By blowing through the filter you can determine if the filter is clogged, you should be able to blow through it very easily. If you cannot blow through it or it is difficult replace the fuel filter with a new unit and recheck system. Some fuel filters utilize a special release tool available at a tool store. If the fuel filter is okay proceed to the next step.

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AUTHOR


Written by
Co-Founder and CEO of 2CarPros.com
35 years in the automotive repair field, ASE Master Technician, Advanced Electrical and Mechanical Theory.


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Article first published (Updated 2013-08-16)