Car doesn't accelerate when starting the engine. Takes a ...

Q: Car doesn't accelerate when starting the engine. Takes a few minutes to heat up until it runs normally. Happens in all temperature

asked by on November 03, 2017

When I start my car, I can't drive off immediately, as the car will not accelerate. Even if I press hard on the gas the car will only drive a few mph. It takes the car a couple of minutes to warm up in order to be able to accelerate. This means I need to get in the car, turn on the engine and sit for a few minutes before attempting to drive off, or else I'll pull out and the car will only accelerate to 5 mph tops.

The only way to get the car driving faster is to really depress the gas pedal hard, and even then it takes a minute of driving fully pressing on the gas, to gain acceleration.

After the engine is warmed up, the car drives, and accelerates just fine (it's a Subaru Tribeca, so it's not a quick accelerator in general).

This happens regardless of the outside temperature. Cold or hot, I get the same issue nearly every time I start the engine.

Thank you!

My car has 150000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

It’s not clear whether you are referring to no motion accompanying actual increases in engine speed versus a situation where there is no increase in engine speed, despite commands, which of course would be accompanied by no motion. The point is the problem you are describing could be either a transmission issue or an engine issue and sometimes a combination of both. If engine speed increases but there is no forward motion, there could be a hydraulic fault in the transmission, a low transmission fluid level, slipping bands or clutches, a torque converter defect and so forth. No acceleration, or loss of power, can be due to throttle body faults (electronic throttle controls, mass airflow sensor, torn air intake hose), worn out spark plugs, faulty fuel pump or restricted fuel system, and large vacuum leaks (including EGR malfunctions, PCV system, leaking intake manifold, leaking EVAP purge valve). In your circumstance, a scan tool would be used to look at real time conditions within the engine (e.g., fuel trim, MAF sensor and TPS sensor outputs, etc.) and identify the root cause. If you want these diagnostic tests performed by a certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, please request a loss of power inspection/diagnostic and the responding certified mechanic will get this resolved for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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