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: Brake lights don't work

Some brake lights and turn signals share the same circuit, but looking at the wiring diagram for your vehicle, I see that this is not the case; there are two separate circuits. My guess is that the fuse is blown....

Q: What Is a Twin-Cam Engine?

Engines that are considered twin camshaft engines will have individual separate camshafts for the exhaust and intake valves on a cylinder head instead of a single camshaft to operate both the intake and exhaust valves in a cylinder head. The...

Q: Camaro iroc z sat for 17 years... Won't start

The fuel in the tank is bad from sitting so long. The entire fuel system may need to be flushed and the carburetor rebuilt. This means that the fuel tank should be removed and cleaned. The fuel pump should also...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
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...
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...