Why Does My Car Sputter While Accelerating At Low RPM?

Why Does My Car Sputter While Accelerating At Low RPM?

An engine is one of the essential components of a car. It helps to convert the chemical energy from the fuel into motion, allowing your vehicle to move freely. In good working conditions, your car engine should deliver you a smooth and noiseless experience. However, when you’re experiencing otherwise, it means your car needs your attention.

Are you currently experiencing a situation where your car sputters, especially while you’re accelerating at low rpm? If yes, you need to understand that this is one of the few signs that you’ll get when your car is crying for help. That said, for you to address the sputtering car issue, you need to first understand what is causing the engine to misbehave.

If your car engine sputters while accelerating at low rpm, the issue could stem from the fuel system, including the fuel filter, pump, and injectors. Besides, the problem could also come from the ignition system or sensors, such as manifold absolute pressure sensor, throttle position sensor, and mass airflow sensor.

A sputtering car problem is a common issue that can either surface while accelerating at low rpm or high rpm. In the rest of this post, you’ll learn more about why your vehicle sputters, especially while you speed up at low rpm.

Why Does My Car Sputter When Accelerating Cold?

Why Does My Car Sputter While Accelerating At Low RPM?

As earlier mentioned, a lot of things could cause your car to sputter when accelerating. If you are experiencing the sputtering issue when you’re accelerating cold, the first thing that you need to inspect is the Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor.

Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor

In case you don’t know, the MAF sensor or air meter is the one responsible for keeping track of the amount of air that goes into your car engine. However, the sensor isn’t without its issues. For every liter of fuel that your car utilizes, the MAF sensor can keep track of thousands of liters of air flowing into the engine.

Sadly, the air isn’t always clean, it sometimes comes with a mix of dust and dirt, which over time may cause the MAF sensor to fail. So, I’ll advise you to check the air meter and see whether or not it’s in good working conditions.

Other possible reasons why your car is sputtering when accelerating cold include the following:

  • Faulty fuel injectors

For those who don’t know, the primary function of the fuel injectors is to manage and control the amount of fuel that goes into the combustion chamber.

Sadly, the car component can also become faulty for a couple of reasons. With faulty fuel injectors, it means that the component is clogged with debris and dirt. If this happens, one of the warning signs that you’ll get is having your car sputter when accelerating cold. All you need to do, in this case, is to run a check and see to it that your fuel injector is in good working conditions.

  • Dirty throttle body

If your car sputters when accelerating cold, another possible cause is a dirty throttle body. But how exactly does the throttle body become dirty?

It’s pretty simple; as soon as your engine stops running, unburned fuel, as well as the hot exhaust gases, will float to the top of the engine. The vapor that comes from the engine heat will cause black sooty carbon to form inside the throttle body. If after inspecting your throttle body, you find out that it’s not clean, you need to remove the dirt, as that could also help you eliminate the sputter issue.

Why Is My Car Sputtering During Acceleration?

Why Does My Car Sputter While Accelerating At Low RPM?

As earlier mentioned, a sputtering car issue can surface when you’re accelerating at high rpm or low rpm. Let’s have a quick look at some of the main causes of the sputtering problem in the two cases; low rpm and high rpm.

Either way, here are some of the things that could cause the engine to misbehave and sputter:

  • Dirty Mass Air Flow sensor or air meter
  • Faulty spark plugs 
  • Dirty fuel injectors
  • Faulty oxygen sensor
  • Vacuum leak
  • Faulty absolute pressure sensor
  • Failing or faulty throttle position sensor
  • Dirty engine air filter
  • Leaks from the exhaust system 
  • Faulty catalytic converter 

Surely, any of the components listed above could cause your car to sputter during acceleration. 

However, if you want to start inspecting the components, I’ll advise you to start from the air meter or MAF. Ensure you check the sensor to see whether or not it’s dirty. If you find any dirt, you might need to call on your mechanic to help you clean the unaffected area.

The fuel system, including the pump, filter, and injectors, is also a common cause of sputtering cars. So, try and check the system too and confirm that there’s no issue from there before going ahead to check other components.

The spark plugs also play an important role in how your engine will run. Since that’s the case, you might also need to check them and ensure none of them is worn out or dirty, as this could also cause your car engine to sputter.

Will a Bad Oxygen Sensor Cause Sputtering?

One of the frequently asked questions regarding a sputtering car is whether or not a faulty oxygen sensor can cause the car to misbehave and cough?

To answer this question, I’ll say yes, a faulty oxygen sensor is one of the causes of sputtering. However, you need to understand that this doesn’t happen in most cases.

The oxygen sensor in your car is the component responsible for tracking and calculating the amount of oxygen in the exhaust gases leaving the engine. With a failing O2 sensor, excess fuel or too little fuel will be placed inside the engine. Unfortunately, when any of these situations arise, it could cause your car to sputter during acceleration.

Gui Hadlich

Hey there! I'm Gui. To be honest, I'm not really that interested in cars. But what I'm really, really not interest in is spending lots of money fixing my car up. Thankfully, I have a father-in-law who's obsessed with cars and a brother getting a PhD in internal combustion engines, so I get to learn about fixing cars. And with Fixing Engines, I hope to help you save a lot of money and take good care of your cars.

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