Q: Engine stays running but no power at wheels

asked by on

The engine in my 2011 Toyota Sienna doesn't stall, but no power goes to the wheels when I accelerate. Obviously, this is a frustrating problem. I almost got rear-ended because of it! What would cause this in a van with only 27,000 miles on it?

Greetings and thank you for writing in with this question! Problems like this can be difficult to diagnose. Does the Check Engine Light illuminate when the car loses power? If so, a local mechanic (like those with YourMechanic) can diagnose your engine hesitating during acceleration with a scan tool. Problems like this can be related to the Throttle Position Sensor (TPS), Electronic Control Unit (ECU), the transmission, or a mechanical engine failure. If there are no codes and the Check Engine light does not illuminate, the mechanic may need to perform data logging on the ECU to track down the problem. The condition of the engine air filter should be checked. If it is full of dirt and debris, the engine wouldn’t be getting enough air to run properly. The condition of the engine oil should be verified as well. If the engine oil is golden or brown in color, it is okay. If it black, sludgy, or smells foul, there could be an internal engine issue causing the problem.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Engine stays running but no power at wheels

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: What are the ignition switch positions?

If your car is equipped with a standard ignition and a mechanical key/remote combination, you have several different ignition switch positions that you’ll need to know (smart key systems have one less ignition switch position). Here’s an overview of each...

Q: Noise starting car

I'm guessing the bumping noise you're referring to means it clicks and then finally starts. Or possibly that it cranks and then starts? These are two different issues. A click no start indicates a problem in the starting system. A...

Q: Cleaning the cabin air filter with compressed air

Sure, not a bad idea--spray it with compressed air. Realize that if you've got one of those ones that's darker black, that's a charcoal. You can blow the dust out but eventually the charcoal breaks down and it doesn't filter...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...