Causes and Fixes for Your Car’s Loss of Power

It’s driving 101: when you step on your car’s gas pedal, you expect to accelerate. Not only that, but the further you press the pedal, the faster you expect your car to move.

If your throttle response is sluggish or your vehicle hesitates to get going, something is amiss, and you should address the problem before trying to return to the road. Loss of engine power is not only annoying, it can be dangerous for both you and other drivers.   

There are many reasons your vehicle’s engine might lose power. An engine needs air, compression, spark and fuel to run. Each one of those elements has associated parts that need to function properly to get you moving. If any of these systems fail, it can show up as a loss of performance and lead to a cascading effect that can create worse problems down the road.

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Like the human body, an internal combustion engine depends on several different systems working together to run smoothly. Almost every component of your vehicle’s engine requires service at regular intervals. If one component wears out or breaks, your engine will let you know—often in the form of lost performance. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common power-loss culprits.

Dirty Air Filter

The gateway for air entering your engine, your air filter serves the essential function of filtering out dirt, bugs and debris that could cause serious engine damage. Over time, your air filter will become clogged, reducing the amount of air your engine can draw in and hurting performance.

Malfunctioning Oxygen Sensor

Oxygen sensors are the controlling factor to your Engine Control Module (ECM) and allow the ECM to monitor what happens inside the cylinders during the combustion process. A slow or malfunctioning Oxygen Sensor can alter the ECM’s ability to control fuel properly and cause a lack of power and poor fuel efficiency.

Dirty Fuel Injectors

Your fuel injectors deliver precise amounts of fuel into your engine’s combustion chambers, but they can suffer from carbon buildup over time. Clogged injectors can prevent proper fuel delivery, slowing you down.

Clogged Fuel Filter of Bad Fuel Pump

Before fuel can get to your injectors, it needs to be pumped from your gas tank and filtered to ensure it’s clean. If you have a dirty fuel filter or a pump that is failing, your engine won’t get all of the fuel it needs to perform its best.

Failing Ignition Parts

Whether it’s your battery, ignition coil, spark plugs or plug wires, your ignition system needs to be in good shape to provide the spark required to ignite the fuel/air mixture in each cylinder. If one component is limiting or preventing spark, you’ll notice a significant performance drop.

Loss of Compression

Worn piston rings or leaky head gaskets can deplete the compression needed in each cylinder throughout the combustion process. An engine with low compression will have low power.

Clogged Exhaust System

Exhaust is the final phase of the internal combustion process and needs to take place for the cycle to begin again. A clogged exhaust system will prevent this from happening and can dramatically reduce acceleration. The most common place for an exhaust system to clog is in the catalytic converter.


Many of the reasons for a loss of engine power are preventable or easily correctable. Inspect your air filter regularly and replace as needed. Check on your spark plugs and wires and replace those as needed, too. Keep your fuel system clean by using a treatment such as Sea Foam Motor Treatment, or for higher mileage cars and trucks, Sea Foam High Mileage. 

If you’re still noticing a lack of power after addressing those areas, you might need to work with a professional technician to check your compression, inspect your exhaust system or evaluate more complex components. 

SEA FOAM MOTOR TREATMENT works fast to prevent or overcome some of the common causes of lost engine power.

Sea Foam Motor Treatment works to clean injectors and restore factory spray patterns. It is safe and effective for all types of gasoline fuel injection systems. Using Sea Foam Motor Treatment in your gas is also a good way to ensure all components of your fuel system stay clean and perform their best.