10 Reasons Your Car May Not Be Performing Well (and How to Fix It)

Remember when you bought your new car? Driving off the lot with the engine whirring and tires grinding uphill effortlessly, and you felt invincible? But as time passes, it’s natural for key components of your vehicle to experience some wear and tear. You may notice that your car drives a little more slowly, takes longer to start, or makes some unexplained noises when you’re on the open road.

Well, good news for you — these complications are perfectly normal, and there are plenty of solutions to try. Here are 10 potential reasons why your car may not be running well and how to fix them.

1. Aging Spark Plugs

Spark plugs may be small, but they play a vital role in your vehicle functioning as it should. Without them, your car wouldn’t start, as they are responsible for creating the sparks that ignite fuel to produce power. These key components are designed to endure extreme heat and explosions, but it’s not uncommon for them to wear out in the long-term.

Replacing your spark plugs will not only ensure a smooth start but can also conserve fuel and ensure optimized combustion for maximum power. Consider choosing spark plugs that are made of more durable materials, such as platinum and iridium. With a wide range of aftermarket parts available, including universal car parts, you’re sure to find the perfect components for your vehicle.

2. Overheating Engine

Overheating is a common issue, especially among owners of classic cars with less advanced cooling technology. Some of the primary causes of overheating are:

● Corrosion and deposits
● Blocked hoses
● Leaking coolant reservoirs
● Damaged water pumps and thermostats

To prevent damage and avoid becoming a roadside statistic, never drive your vehicle if the temperature gauge is showing signs of overheating. Instead, tow it to a trusted maintenance shop, where a mechanic will troubleshoot the entire system and service it accordingly.

3. Decrease in Oil Levels or Expired Oil

Your car’s engine is made up of many moving parts that create constant friction. Oil is a vital element of the engine, as it lubricates these parts to streamline the movement and prevent corrosion and overheating. Other key uses of oil include:

● Inhibiting rust
● Acting as an additional coolant
● Preventing energy loss
● Cleaning moving parts

Dirty, expired oil and low oil levels run the risk of disrupting the efficiency of your engine. The solution? Check your vehicle’s oil levels regularly, topping up as you go and replacing oil as necessary. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation regarding the type of oil to use and take your car to the mechanic for an oil change about twice a year, depending on your vehicle and the distance you’re driving.

4. Acceleration Issues

A car that accelerates slowly can be annoying, especially if you’re in a hurry to get on the road. Luckily, this problem is usually caused by minor issues such as clogs in the mass airflow sensor.

In most cases, the solution is to clean the affected part, but it can be difficult to troubleshoot which engine element is causing problems if you lack experience. As such, we recommend visiting your mechanic for a thorough check-up if you’re having issues with acceleration.

5. Uneven Tire Wear

Tire wear is normal, especially if you enjoy drifting. However, uneven wear can cause a drop in overall vehicle performance and trigger disturbing vibrations in the steering wheel. Here are some simple solutions to get the most out of your tires and prevent these issues:

● Maintain recommended tire pressure at all times
● Be careful when steering, and ensure your steering system is in good condition
● Check suspension for possible alignment issues and adjust accordingly

6. Water in the Transmission System

Sometimes water and other fluids can enter into components where they are not wanted, affecting your vehicle’s efficiency and performance. This problem is especially common during storms and rainy seasons, but can also be caused by internal leaks. Driving a car with a flooding transmission can be dangerous, and is likely to cause more problems down the line.

One simple solution is to drain the affected component and seal any leakage points, which you should be able to do using some simple service tips and tricks. If the problem is more advanced, it may require an overhaul of the entire transmission system to replace potentially damaged parts such as the gasket.

7. Faulty Battery

Did you know that a weak or faulty battery could lead to increased fuel consumption? Or that engine power output is affected when the battery is charging? A battery that doesn’t hold power or requires constant charging can harm your vehicle’s performance, as well as the performance of electronics such as power windows, wipers, and lights.

Unfortunately, once a battery is experiencing issues, there’s little that can be done to remedy the situation. The best solution is to acquire a new battery from an online store or local auto parts shop.

8. Overloaded Alternator

Your vehicle’s alternator is responsible for charging the battery and ensuring the engine and electrical components have power. Sometimes, this component can be overloaded, such as when you’re charging a completely empty battery. The added burden results in overheating, which can damage your alternator’s coils and diodes and affect the vehicle’s overall performance.

The easiest way to keep your vehicle’s alternator healthy is by maintaining the drive belt and keeping the battery terminals clean to curb resistance.

9. Dirty or Clogged Fuel Injector

If you have ever felt as though your car was vibrating or sputtering, chances are it had a dirty fuel injector. A clogged injector can cause many issues, such as increased fuel consumption, loss of acceleration, stalling, and even failure to start. You may also smell gas due to possible leakages.

To solve this issue (or simply prevent it), it’s important to clean your fuel injector every 30,000 miles. A bottle of injector cleaner goes for less than $20, typically, but the cleaning process itself can be complicated. A trip to the mechanic will help you avoid any unnecessary hassle.

If a simple clean doesn’t do the trick, you may need to change out leak-prone O-rings or buy a new fuel injector altogether.

10. Clogged Exhaust Pipe

The exhaust pipe can become clogged with soot and waste coming from the vehicle as well as external objects like stones and paper. If this component becomes blocked, it prevents waste gases from escaping, increasing their concentration in combustion chambers and inhibiting the circulation of fresh air needed for optimal performance.

You should be able to clean out the dirt using water, soap, and a cloth with a handle to help you reach further in. However, a more advanced cleaning procedure may be required if the entire exhaust system is compromised.

Follow Maintenance Schedule

While issues that decrease your vehicle’s performance are annoying, they’re quite common and are typically minor inconveniences. Every complication has a solution, but if you want to avoid costly repairs, it’s important to take precautionary measures and follow a consistent maintenance schedule. Check out your car manufacturer’s manual for more information about the do’s and don’ts, the spare parts you need, and other information critical to your car’s performance, or explore our blog for more tips.

Photo by Malte Luk from Pexels

Author: Jordan McDowell
Jordan McDowell is a writer and automotive enthusiast. He specializes in content that helps car and truck owners get the most from their vehicles through aftermarket upgrades.

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