Understanding Engine Hesitation

7 March 2022
 Categories: , Blog

There are plenty of dramatic and apparent ways for your car to fail. If you're unlucky, you might find yourself stuck on the side of the road or stranded somewhere with a car that just won't turn over. Many components can make loud and easy-to-hear noises. You know you're facing a pretty significant problem when you notice these symptoms.

However, some car issues are much more subtle. Loss of performance is a common complaint, and it may take the form of noticeable hesitation under acceleration. Understanding what this symptom is and what it may mean can help you get your car running well again so you can go back to enjoying your driving experience.

How Can You Tell If Your Car Is Hesitating?

Like many automotive problems, there's no straightforward definition for hesitation. In most cases, this symptom means that your car may stumble or hesitate when you press down on the gas. Depending on the severity of the problem, it may feel like a slight hiccup, or it may be a much more noticeable delay. In extreme cases, it may impact your safety by making it hard to get up to speed.

As with most automotive issues, you'll want to try to ensure that the problem is repeatable. Does your car hesitate anytime you step on the gas, or does it only occur under certain conditions? Is the issue the same whether the engine is cold or warm? This extra information can help your mechanic diagnose the underlying cause much more quickly.

What Causes Hesitation?

Hesitation is a broad symptom, which means it may result from many potential failures. The issue may trigger a check engine light as it worsens, but minor problems may go unnoticed by your car's computer. Since the computer can only detect issues when a sensor reports a sufficiently out of specification value, you shouldn't assume that there's no problem just because you don't have a light.

Typical causes for hesitation include problems with the ignition or fuel system. Fouled spark plugs, failing ignition coils, dirty fuel injectors, and clogged fuel filters are all potential reasons that your car may hesitate. Any of these problems may eventually trigger a warning code, but they may not do so immediately.

Since problems such as these can often progress over time, it's a good idea to contact a mechanic as soon as you notice consistent hesitation from your engine. An experienced mechanic can help you get to the bottom of the problem, even if your car hasn't yet triggered a warning code. Quickly dealing with the issue will help restore your car's performance while avoiding the potential for more damage.

Contact a mechanic in your area for more information about automotive repair