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Q: Recently when I press the gas half or more of the time it really struggles to get up to speed.

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A week ago I drove on the freeway for about 45 minutes in drive 2 on accident. Ever since then, when I press the gas it takes a super long time to accellerate. I took it to the auto repair shop first, and they sent me to the exhaust gentleman across the street. He chopped off my cat and put in an exhaust splicer, and that COMPLETELY (I strongly emphasize completely) fixed the problem for precisely one driving session. The next day it was doing the exact same thing again. I just got back from the auto shop for the second time and they said they thought it was bent lobes on my hollow camshaft, and sent me on my way with a death certificate for my car. My question is, if that part was broken, wouldn't the problem still have been present when he took off my cat? Or could that be causing my fuel to burn incorrectly and that's the problem? Any ideas you have would be very welcome, I'm just trying to hang on to a thread of hope my car isn't toast haha. Thank you!

My car has 120000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: It isn’t out of the ordinary for there to b...

It isn’t out of the ordinary for there to be more than one problem with a car of this age. This sounds like the case with your car. From what I can gather, the failing camshaft probably finished an already failing catalytic converter causing it to plug. After removing the plugged catalytic converter, the car would definitely run better, but you still had a camshaft that was going bad. When a camshaft begins to fail, it begins to shed metal. The longer it runs like this, the worse the car will run. There are early symptoms that can be detected with a failing camshaft, but only if a technician is looking for them. A camshaft fails progressively until it can’t open a valve at all. At that point, the motor will exhibit almost the exact same symptoms of a plugged exhaust.

What is happening in both cases is the motor unable to pump air. Internal combustion engines are really just large air pumps. If the intake (which the camshaft is a part of that system) or the exhaust system is limiting the amount of air the motor can pump, the motor will progressively run worse. These kind of failures aren’t sudden failures but slow and progressively worse ones.

Unfortunately, when a camshaft fails like this, it leaves metal shavings throughout the motor which will cause many other problems. This requires the complete disassembly and rebuilding of the motor. With a vehicle of this age, this kind of repair is usually more expensive than the car is worth. Of course, this doesn’t value its worth to you on a nostalgic level. If you are in love with the car, then it maybe worth it for you to fix it. But remember that the value to others may not be the same.

The long story short, it maybe time to let this car go and both issues will affect the fuel burn as you call it. Which is a relatively accurate statement. If you want to have this checked by a mechanic in person, a technician from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to diagnose your vehicle’s acceleration hesitation.

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