Car Won’t Accelerate When Turning (12 Common Reasons)

Zipping around corners in your car is an enjoyable and time-saving way to get to your destination.

Unfortunately, certain mechanical issues can halt your in-turn acceleration horribly.

These are 12 reasons you might be experiencing that problem.

Read also: Problems with acceleration at high speed.

1. Your air filter is clogged or dirty.

Air filters are inexpensive components, but they are vital to your vehicle’s performance.

When dirty or clogged, they can deprive your engine of the air it needs to “breathe,” causing you to get unreliable acceleration while turning.

You may also notice issues accelerating from a stopped position or getting your car up to speed quickly on the road.

Fortunately, you can easily correct the issue by having someone check the air filter. The filter is located under the hood of your car, and a technician can recognize a dirty one with the naked eye and replace it for you in only a few minutes.

Your acceleration problems will cease if it’s the primary cause of the problem.

2. You have low transmission fluid.

Your vehicle needs to have sufficient transmission fluid in it for the system to respond when you press the gas.

Therefore, your problem accelerating when turning could result from a low amount of fluid.

Older cars have a transmission dipstick you can check while your vehicle is running and parked on level ground.

You will need to pull the stick out and clean it before re-inserting and pulling it again to read it. Have someone top off the fluid if you find that it’s low.

You may also want to have a mechanic check your vehicle for leaks.

3. Your tire pressure is low.

The pressure in your tires can directly affect your car’s acceleration efficiency.

Low tire pressure can increase your rolling resistance, which will increase the effort your engine and transmission have to put forth to keep the wheels moving.

That means you could have difficulty accelerating on a turn if one or several of your tires have inadequate air.

tire pressure

Low pressure usually comes from a leak.

You might have a slow leak that decreases your tire pressure a hair each day, or you could have a massive leak.

You can check your tire pressure using a small, inexpensive tire gauge and confirm a leak if your pressure goes down from one day to the next.

The most effective thing to do is to have someone repair the hole or replace the tire.

4. You’ve engaged your emergency brake.

The emergency brake is an extra safety feature drivers should only use when parking a running vehicle.

However, sometimes drivers hit them and turn them on by mistake, especially when operating a manual transmission.

Some emergency brakes are faulty, and they engage themselves when they have a mechanical problem.

An engaged parking brake would affect your ability to accelerate rather swiftly.

When the emergency brake activates, you will see a brake light or parking light on your dash. A dealer or automotive repair shop may need to examine your vehicle to fix the issue.

If you’ve activated it with your hand by accident, you can simply stop doing that.

5. You need new spark plugs.

Spark plugs ignite your engine’s air/fuel mixture, and they need to do that hundreds of times each minute.

Just one faulty plug can cause a misfire, which will cause your car to have low power that hinders your acceleration.

Spark plugs should be changed every 20,000 to 40,000 miles unless you see an issue earlier.

You can check them by removing their boots and giving them a visual inspection. Alternatively, you can take your auto to a reliable mechanic who can do the same or connect it to a diagnostic machine to pinpoint the problem.

6. You have a bad fuel filter.

Fuel filters keep the gas in your car clean so the vehicle can run smoothly.

They remove an array of debris from the fuel so that your engine gets the best of it and responds accordingly.

Over time, this component can get dirty or clogged.

That’s why the owner’s manual usually recommends a maintenance interval by which you should have someone change it.

Failure to do so could initiate a wealth of problems, including poor acceleration when turning. The poor acceleration may not be exclusive to turning, and you may experience it regardless of whether you turn your wheels.

7. Your throttle position sensor is faulty.

You may also have a faulty throttle position sensor if it seems like you have trouble accelerating while turning.

The TPS “reads” how much pressure you put on the accelerator pedal and determines how wide to open the throttle.

When it malfunctions, it no longer reads your foot action, which means the throttle no longer knows how much to open.

Major acceleration issues can occur from such a problem.

A TPS problem needs a certified automotive mechanic. He or she can run a slew of diagnostic tests to ensure that your TPS is the problem and then offer you a price to replace it.

8. Your car is in Limp Mode.

Limp Mode is a feature in certain newer cars that protects your engine from harm.

It activates whenever the engine’s computer receives data that indicates an issue with the motor or transmission.

One of the signs that your car is in Limp Mode is severely reduced engine power, including the inability to accelerate very well.

You may also notice a “check engine” light. Additionally, Limp Mode can cause your vehicle to get stuck in the same gear with seemingly no way to get out of that gear.

Limp Mode aims to shield your car from harm while you transport it to a reliable automotive shop.

Once you get it there, the technicians can perform diagnostics on it to see what the original problem is.

9. You have bad timing or a worn timing belt.

If your car uses a timing belt, it may need to be replaced at some point during your vehicle ownership.

The belt connects the engine’s crankshaft to the camshaft(s) so that your valves will open and close properly.

This can also cause the car to not accelerate past 60 mph.

Any variation in timing will cause your vehicle to operate less effectively.

Usually, timing belts don’t give warnings before they break, but you might get lucky and experience poor acceleration before yours goes.

Typically, belts need to be replaced after 100,000 miles, whereas chains are more likely to last for 250,000 miles.

10. Your mass airflow sensor is bad.

The mass airflow sensor is a component that measures the density of the air going into the engine.

Thus, it sends that information to the car’s computer, and the computer signals the injectors to release the appropriate amount of fuel.

If the MAF sensor gets clogged or dirty, it will send the wrong information to the computer.

It might send information that will lead to a lean mixture, and you will lose power that way. Depending on your vehicle make, these parts can range from under $100 to almost $300.

The labor for the job should be much less than one hour to have it replaced unless it’s in a complicated position.

Speak to a trustworthy mechanic about it and research its whereabouts on your vehicle before committing to the work.

11. You have a defective fuel pump.

Your fuel pump is the unit that pumps gas into your engine, and it’s vital to your acceleration.

If your fuel pump goes bad, you’ll be lucky if you can even start your car.

If it does start, you’ll likely suffer issues such as:

  • surging,
  • sputtering,
  • and loss of acceleration.

Some fuel pumps are more expensive than others to replace because they’re in difficult spots on the vehicle. However, you will have to get your car checked for that issue and tend to it right away.

12. Your car’s ECU has gone haywire.

The engine control unit receives and sends data to and from various sensors to ensure that your car runs properly.

In some sad cases, the ECU can fry or get worn out. No more information will be exchanged between engine components, and your car will show symptoms like a loss of acceleration.

It’s one of the worst problems to have because it can wreak havoc on your whole car.

The only solution to that problem is to have a dealership or automotive mechanic change the part. ECUs can be pretty expensive.

They can cost you a couple of hundred dollars or almost $1,000, depending on the vehicle’s make.

Those are some common problems that can cause your car to fail to accelerate when you turn.

Your vehicle could also be suffering from many other issues, which is why you need to take it to a reliable mechanic’s shop.

The best shop will have technicians trained to work on your specific vehicle type.

Check the consumer ratings, pricing quotes, and warranties before committing to any automotive repairs.

Sources

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