What Causes the Gas Pedal to go to the Floor and no Acceleration?

How annoying it could be if your gas pedal goes to the floor and no acceleration when you step on it. Have you ever been in such a situation, once or several times? Two things can happen – your baby ride experiences poor acceleration, or it doesn’t accelerate at all.

There are several reasons for this to occur, and some can be challenging enough that you need to visit an auto mechanic for a thorough diagnosis and check-up.

In this article, we’ll discuss at length the causes of poor acceleration and practical steps on how to fix it. Let’s explore the reasons.

What causes the gas pedal to go to the floor and no acceleration?

gas pedal to the floor no acceleration

These issues are common with high mileage cars. However, most of the causes are minor issues as they are not from the engine compartment that requires expensive repairs. They are usually minor issues that need to be fixed after running some diagnostics and thorough checkups.

Faulty Oxygen sensor: The primary function of the 02 sensor is to monitor and regulate exhaust emission within the vehicle so it can analyze the air-fuel mixture ratio in the car and send a report to the onboard computer.

A vehicle engine needs a proper air-fuel mixture to burn properly in the combustion chamber so that it can run nice and smoothly without stalling.

The oxygen sensor sends a signal to the onboard computer about the amount of air-fuel mixture ratio the engine uses. If this sensor gets damaged, it will no longer send or might send false information to the car computer, leading to a lean or rich fuel mixture. It may also cause a lack of acceleration when you depress the gas pedal.

Clogged or faulty mass airflow sensor (MAF): Mass airflow sensor is a meter that measures the airflow that goes into the intake manifold. Since this sensor serves as a meter, a clogged or faulty MAF sensor will send false information to the car computer, which will, in turn, send unmeasured air to the engine. In other words, a lousy MAF will send false information to the onboard computer, leading to wrong air-fuel calculation.

Faulty throttle position sensor (TPS):  The work of the throttle position sensor is to detect the throttle valve opening and closing angle, controlled by the gas pedal. As the TPS detects and monitors the throttle valve opening and closing angle, it sends the information to the car computer.

If the TPS goes bad, you will have no revs pressing down the accelerator pedal as the gas pedal no longer controls the engine.

Clogged or dirty fuel filter: A fuel filter is an essential component in the fuel injection system that plays a significant role in the smooth running of an engine. If the fuel filter clogs, it causes your car to start, but the engine won’t rev.

With a clogged fuel filter in place, the car engine won’t receive adequate fuel, and of course, you know what this means – performance issues

Worn out timing belt: As the name suggests, a timing belt is a strap used in synchronizing the engine camshaft and crankshaft. If one or more teeth wear off from the belt, it will cause severe acceleration issues. If your car feels sluggish when accelerating, it could mean you have a worn timing belt that needs replacement.

Clogged air filter: Like every other filter, the air filter strains the air going into the vehicle engine for the air-fuel mixture used in the combustion chamber. If the air filter is clogged, it will not allow the required amount of air needed in the engine to pass through. If your car feels sluggish when accelerating yet has no check engine light, consider checking your air filter.

Spark or ignition problems: Faulty spark plugs, distributor, high tension wire, coils, or engine misfires as well. If there is no spark on a cylinder, there would be no explosion. (Having an explosion at a predetermined time is what keeps the engine running nice and smoothly). A spark at the wrong time is ultimately useless and may expose the engine to severe danger.

Mechanical issues: since the internal combustion engine has many moving parts, there are a lot of components that can wear out or fail.

A wrong engine timing can cause the exhaust and inlet engine valve to open or close at the wrong time. If this happens, you may experience erratic idling. If you recently replace your belt or chain, it could mean the timing is retarded or advanced by a tooth or more. And if the timing belt is too loosed, chances are, it is not correct.

A low clutch fluid or slipping clutch could mean poor acceleration as the transmission is not appropriately engaging with the engine. A slipping clutch could cause your engine to rev too quickly, but the car won’t accelerate pass 70 or other higher gears.

A faulty or clogged catalytic converter can cause excess back-pressure on the engine. A clogged catalytic is very harmful to your health and society at large. A completely blocked catalytic converter is very dangerous as it might catch fire. If the catalytic converter is completely clogged, you have to park the vehicle until you repair it.

If you have a stuck open exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve, it will allow too much exhaust into the system. What do I mean? It means it reduces the amount of oxygen in a cylinder, which could equally translate to loss of power. However, a stuck close EGR valve will not affect acceleration unless it causes the car to enter limp mode.

How to Troubleshoot A Car That Gas Pedal Goes To The Floor And No Acceleration

gas pedal to the floor slow acceleration

A gas pedal is a simple system component that connects the driver to a more complex engine component such as the throttle body and the TPS. It is through these components that the onboard computer and the throttle body makes necessary adjustment for driver demand for speed.

We have outlined several issues that could cause your gas pedal to go to the floor yet slow Acceleration when you depress it. Depending on your vehicle make and model, we will explain how to diagnose and fix these issues in the following few paragraphs. Always remember to start with common problems when diagnosing your vehicle.

Note: Not all the steps In this guide will be relevant in fixing this issue in your specific vehicle. There are different throttle body makes and designs, and several factors could be the culprit for the problem.

Part 1 of 2: Carry out a visible inspection

There are minor issues that could be the culprit. Visually inspect and begin with them before going to a worst-case scenario.

Step1: visually inspect the accelerator pedal

 Check if there is anything obstructing the gas pedal. Has anything rolled under it? Remove the floor mat and make sure it’s not blocking anything.

Step 2: visually inspect the throttle body

 Open your engine bay and locate the throttle body. Depending on your vehicle engine design, the throttle body could be exposed, or you have to remove some components before accessing it. Check for physical damages, extreme carbon deposit, broken throttle body, unplugged TPS, or any form of obstruction.

Step 3: visually inspect system deformities

 Inspect the linkage on the left side firewall to see if it is straight, properly aligned, tight, and intact. If the linkage is loose, bent, or slacking, it will cause several acceleration issues.

Supposedly the above diagnosis proves that the inspected component is appropriately aligned, intact, and functioning well; you need to dig deep into the system component to track down the cause of the sluggish acceleration. Listed below could be the culprit to your problem.

Part 2 of 2: Consider other system components

Since there are no defects, chances are, the real cause will stem from something challenging to track down. For a quick diagnosis, run a scan check on your vehicle to figure out where the issues are coming from. Scan check services are available on most auto spare parts Nationwide. If you can’t access any, inspect the following components.

Step 1: Inspect the throttle position sensor

A faulty or dirty TPS sensor will send false information to the car computer resulting in adverse outcomes to the driver’s demand for speed. This might also result in your car won’t accelerate, but RPM goes up and down.

 If this is the case, a simple cleaning will solve the problem. Although, in a worst-case scenario, you may need to replace the sensor.

Step 2: Inspect the fuel filter

A clogged fuel filter will not allow an adequate amount of fuel into the engine, resulting in an unresponsive gas pedal. If the fuel filter clogs, the best solution is to replace it. Do not try servicing it. It might not work.

Step 3: Inspect the fuel pump

The fuel pump is an essential fuel injection component that sends fuel from the gas tank to the engine for a complete combustion cycle. If the pump fails, it will expose the car to severe acceleration issues or might cause your car not to start.

To fix the fuel pump issues, you need to access the fuel pump in the gas tank and replace it. Newer vehicles may require replacing the entire fuel module. I recommend replacing the whole module than changing only the fuel pump.

Step 4: Inspect the mass airflow sensor MAF

The MAF sensor tells the onboard computer the amount of air into the manifold to mix to proper fuel ratio. A faulty sensor will send false information, and the result is poor engine performance. A common effect of a bad mass airflow sensor is an unresponsive gas pedal. Resolving this requires replacing the MAF sensor. This is not a serviceable unit.

Step 5: Inspect other possible causes:

Several other defective components could cause no acceleration even when you depress the gas pedal to the ground.

We’ve outlined some of these causes above, such as faulty Oxygen sensor, defective catalytic converter, lousy EGR valve, worn timing belt, spark plugs, ignition cables, amongst others. If any of these components happen to be the culprit, replace them and start cruising your baby ride again.

FAQS:

Q: What do to do if your car isn’t accelerating?

If your car has intermittent acceleration or isn’t accelerating at all, you need to diagnose all possible causes starting from minor to major ones. If you find any faulty components, clean or replace them and see if it solves the problem. If it doesn’t, proceed to the next suspected component and repeat the process.

One, two, or more could be bad simultaneously, so do not stop after replacing one component until the issue is settled. If you’re not a DIY enthusiast, petrol-head, or know the workings under the hood, contact a certified mechanic.

Q: Why does my gas pedal have no pressure?

Several issues could cause no pressure on the gas pedal. However, one notable cause could be broken throttle cable. It could be that the cable has detached from the throttle body. I would recommend you inspect this cable; if it’s tight and intact, consult your mechanic for a thorough inspection.

Q: How do you fix a sticking accelerator pedal?

Sticking or malfunctioning accelerator pedal pose great fear to drivers, and it’s hazardous. The vehicle can suddenly rev up to a higher RPM and suddenly becomes unresponsive. Mechanical issues such as lousy gas pedal, faulty throttle, defective TPS sensor, and external interferences can cause sticking accelerator pedal.

Here’s a quick step to fixing this issue in emergencies.

  • Stay calm and relax your nerves
  • Depress the brake pedal firmly with both legs. Do not release nor pump it; else, you will lose your vacuum power assist.
  • Depress the clutch to shift gears. If you have an automatic transmission, shift the gear into neutral
  • Look for an escape route while holding the brake firmly. Please, avoid quick lane changes.
  • Do not put off the vehicle engine unless you’re unable to shift into neutral.
  • Once you have come to a complete stop, turn off the engine. (If you haven’t done that already). Do not remove the key to avoid locking the steering wheel.

Suppose your car has a keyless start button, press and hold the button for 3-5 seconds. Now, contact your dealership or mechanic. Do not continue driving the vehicle until the cause is tracked down and fixed.

Final word

The non-responsive gas pedal is a frustrating situation that can ruin your entire day, weeks, or months. To avoid such moments while driving, always pay attention to possible signs that could cause a lack of acceleration.

If you have been in a situation where your gas pedal goes to the floor and has no acceleration, you’ll ensure it won’t occur again by following regularly scheduled system maintenance and engine tune-ups.

Assuming you’re facing the issues right now, consider diagnosing your vehicle following the highlighted steps above. However, if you’re not a DIY enthusiast or not comfortable with the steps above, consult your mechanic or dealership for a thorough inspection.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a seasoned automotive technician for the past 9 years, and a technical writer. He loves writing about auto professional repair guides, DIY repair guides, and buyer’s guide. After spending six years in the automotive workshop, he decided to impact his knowledge to people aside his domain, and he has achieved this by centering his Automotive writing skills on REPAIRS.

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