Chugging car

I have a 1999 Ford Taurus wagon. The car mostly chugs when accelerating up a hill. Just replaced the fuel filter, but it’s still chugging. Any suggestions?

When was the last time that the spark plugs and air filter were replaced?

To be honest, I don’t know. We bought this car a year ago.

Basic maintenance. Get new spark plugs, air filter, transmission fluid and coolant changed as budget allows, but as soon as possible. 10 year old cars with unknown maintenance performed means you must assume none was done.

If you didn’t perform these maintenance tasks, and if you don’t have maintenance records from the previous owner, you have to assume that the car is due–or more likely overdue–for this type of service.

While you are at it, you should also have ALL of the required maintenance for the last major mileage interval (60k, 90k, 120k, etc.) performed. For instance, if the transmission fluid has never been changed, you are probably VERY close to transmission failure. Having that fluid and the trans filter changed a.s.a.p. may help you to avoid having to install a new transmission.

Other skipped maintenance procedures will also take their toll, but the transmission is probably the most expensive repair that you will face if you continue to assume that the previous owner maintained the car properly.

(Hint–The previous owner probably didn’t maintain it properly, and you will be the one who suffers big financial losses unless you take steps now.)