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My car hesitates when I try to accelerate

edited November -1 in Repair and Maintenance
Hi, my car has just under 90,000 miles. Many times when I press the gas, the car hesitates for 3-5 seconds and then it goes. When I press the pedal, the RPM gauge jumps to 3, skipping 1 and 2. Eventually, it goes down to 1 and I am able to drive. This can happen anytime I need to stop the car while driving (lights, stop signs, etc.) The mechanic has: replaced the belts, changed the spark plugs, and cleaned the fuel injector. He's run out of ideas. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks, Dbauer
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Comments

  • edited July 2010
    Is this an automatic or manual? It sounds to me like the clutch (manual) or 1st gear clutches (internal/automatic) are slipping.
  • edited July 2010
    Oh, I'm sorry. This is an automatic.
  • edited July 2010
    So you say that it hesitates - does the engine actually rev up to 3000 rpm briefly before you get any power to the wheels?

    Has the transmission fluid been checked for level and condition?

    You need a new mechanic.
  • edited July 2010
    I get enough power to the wheels to move forward a few inches before stopping, then it will do it again. From the outside I bet it appears as if I'm hitting the gas and then the brake a few times before driving. It also feels that way.
  • edited July 2010
    Your description is very confusing - it goes forward slightly and then stops? All with your foot on the gas? Try to be more descriptive.

    What year is this thing?

    Is the check engine light on?
  • edited July 2010
    No, the transmission fluid has not been checked for level and condition. Is that something I could do, or is it something for a mechanic to do? I think you may be right about my mechanic :/
  • edited July 2010
    It's a 2004. The check engine light does come one periodically. I was told that it was because the fuel is too rich and the car uses to much gas. This is why he changed the spark plugs.

    Let me try to give a better description. I hit the gas, and the RPM shoots up to 3 and the needle goes down from there. As this is happening, the car moves forward a little with with little to no power. It's as if a rush of power hits the car and immediately dies down. Once the RPM gets to 1000 the car is able to accelerate.
  • edited July 2010
    First, see if you can find out what the exact error code is that is associated with the check engine light. The format is "P1234" - post it. If your mechanic doesn't have it and the light is on large chain-type auto parts stores will read these for free.

    Second, it may be that you are misunderstanding you mechanic. But if not then you surely need a new one. There is absolutely no way whatsoever that changing spark plugs is going to address a problem of running too rich. This condition will occur from the engine either getting too much fuel (e.g. malfunctioning fuel pressure regulator or injector problems) or not enough air (e.g. old dirty air filter). It can also come from the engine thinking that there is too much fuel or air (e.g. bad or dirty mass airflow sensor). It cannot be caused by bad spark plugs.

    Third, even though I can't tell from your description whether you're having a transmission or engine problem, you absolutely should know how to check your transmission fluid. The procedure is described in the owner's manual. Basically, the car should be at full operating temp & idling in park (sometimes neutral) on level ground. You pull the dipstick, wipe it, insert it fully and pull it - there are markers that show the proper level. It should be nice and red - brown is bad; black is terrible. It should just have a mild "oily" kind of smell - nothing strong or pungent or burnt.
  • edited July 2010
    Yep. I think the next replacement should be the mechanic. Sounds like he went to the "Replace to Repair School". The question is when does he get down to replacing the engine and transmission? Has the guy run a dipstick through your bank account yet?

    And yes, absolutely you can do a most of the fluid level checks yourself, from oil to transmission fluid, brake fluid, coolant, etc. All you need is a clean rag and a copy of your car owners manual that you should have gotten with the car. Just take a look in the index. And if you want to become a little more knowledgeable, proactive and increase your wow factor at the garage or shop, you can probably get a Chilton or Haynes repair manual from these guys:
    http://www.discountautorepairmanuals.com/ for ten bucks or so.

    There's a lot of maintenance you can do yourself and a lot of fault or trouble shooting by following the tips in those well-written, easy to understand manuals that have lots of pictures to help. You can go to the "Find a Mechanic" feature on this site at the home page on the right hand side.

    There's a protocol of questions, answers, and system checks mechanics follow to isolate and diagnose problems. While yours might be as simple as a transmision fluid refill, fluid and filter change or band tightening, these things are easily checked before doing any replacing. It could also be a dirty fuel or other filter. Proper diagnosis is the key and it's a fairly straightforward process.
    Mark



  • edited July 2010
    I've learned so much just from these few posts. Very helpful. I am going take the advice and find a new mechanic. He has never mentioned anything about the transmission. After reading some stuff online, that seems like an obvious choice.

    I looked at the transmission fluid, following the manual, and it is red. I am going to see if someone can look at it this week.

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