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Car difficult to accelerate

Hey my mom has a 2000 Saturn and her car recently has been very difficult to accelerate. In fact shes scared to merge on to the high way because it takes up to 20 minutes to get to full speed. When shes at full speed however the car is fine. But when she needs to accelerate (stop and go traffic is especially frustrating) it won’t go as normally.

Plus during acceleration the car seems to hiccup, or sputter.

In addition when trying to parallel park it often “dies”.

I’m sorry not 20 minutes, 20 seconds.

This is probably a fuel problem, in which case the fuel filter and possibly the fuel pump need to be replaced. Go to a mechanic and have a fuel system pressure test done.

Is the check-engine light on?

Yeah the check engine light has been on during this time. And it flashes when trying to accelerate.

In that case, there’s a code stored that will help narrow down the problem. You need to get that code read, either at a mechanic or possibly for free at an auto-parts store.

I should also point out that most or all owner’s manuals tell you not to drive the car with a flashing check-engine light because that indicates a serious problem that’s causing damage.

The flashing CEL is trying to tell you that there is an engine misfire taking place.
Continuing to drive the car like this may have led to a situation of lax maintenance morphing into a situation requiring expensive repairs in addition to the needed maintenance.

I really think that you should bring this ailing car to a qualified mechanic before the repair bill gets even higher.