Whether by the passage of time or by some defect that comes to light, an engine can suffer a loss of power that makes our car is no longer the same as ever. The causes of this problem can be many, but if you have a few notions of its operation, you can end up giving the problem. Here you need to know the answer to how to bypass the reduced engine power of your vehicle.
To get an idea of where the power loss that occurs in our car, we must know the basic elements involved in a combustion engine. Something that is far from complicated at the levels required for this article and if we are lucky can save us a trip or two to the workshop. Thus permit to know how to bypass the reduced engine power of your vehicle.
Understanding what can go wrong is easy
As we all know, a mixture of fuel and air occurs in a cylinder, which after a chemical process creates a gas explosion that moves the piston. It is good to know that this chemical process is caused by sparks from the spark plugs in gasoline engines and by pressure in diesel engines. Knowing this simple process, we can deduce the necessary conditions so that there are no power losses.
These are: that enough air and/or fuel arrives, that the elements that cause the chemical reaction work well and in a coordinated way, and that the cylinder is watertight so that the force does not go where it should not, instead of moving the piston. All this without losing sight of the so common electronics of modern cars, which based on sensors, actuators, and other systems, often give some disgust.
What to discard first
Of course, there are other elements that can make the car have less thrust, but they will not be a matter of the engine and its components. These can be parts of the undercarriage such as bearings, poorly positioned brakes that touch the discs, or a cable of the hand brake so tight that it rubs even with the lever down completely.
All of this is easily disposed of before looking for other problems. Just stop accelerating when you reach a certain speed and put the dead center. If any of these elements brakes the car enough to notice that the engine pushes less, it will be even more noticeable when the car goes only by inertia.
How to bypass reduced engine power?
[What can cause power loss]
Now let’s look at the parts of the engine that can cause power loss because as we’ve already told you if we’re lucky and it’s something we can fix ourselves, we can save the money of taking it to the workshop.
Most often we have a problem with the air supply, the engine doesn’t have enough oxygen to burn the fuel and it loses power. This lack can be due to several reasons and we will detail the most frequent ones, of course, starting with those that can be solved without any knowledge of mechanics. Allow seeing exactly how to bypass the reduced engine power.
All the air that enters the engine passes through a filter to prevent the entrance of impurities. It may be clogged by dirt accumulated over time or because we have circulated in areas with a very large amount of dust or smoke. If so, your engine won’t “breathe” properly and won’t get enough oxygen to burn the fuel, resulting in a loss of power.
Solution: You can check it yourself by opening the lid where it is housed to see if the filter is clogged. Changing the air filter is usually very cheap and you can do it yourself. You should make sure it is the right model for your car. We do not recommend that you choose the cheapest ones.
Some people stretch the life of the filter by pulling it out and banging it against a solid surface to remove some of the dirt. You can try this. Although it is better to put a new one.
Some people remove the filter, making sure they are in an area with the least possible pollution or dust in the environment, to move around for a while without it. If the power loss has disappeared, it has been given on the roof and you can buy a new one for a small amount of money to solve the problem. Although we advise against it because impurities can enter the engine.
Air flow meter
It is the part in charge of measuring the airflow that reaches the engine and works together with the car’s control panel. In case it measures the amount of air wrongly, the problem is usually detected by the engine control unit, which starts working in emergency mode, something that limits the power that the engine can perform.
Solution: the flow meter is usually close to the engine air intake where the filter is located. To solve this, often an Allen key and a cleaner are enough to remove the impurities that cause its malfunction. If you have to replace it, you can buy one for prices ranging from 30 to 80 euros, depending on the car you have. In the one-minute video above these paragraphs, you can see how easy it can be to access the flow meter.
If your car has a turbo, it may not supply enough pressurized air to the cylinder and the engine may be lazier. If it is broken the power loss will be very drastic. If your car has a variable geometry turbo (like most of the current diesel) and you notice that your car loses power in the rev ranges were before if it was performing well, the blades may be stuck. Still, the normal is that the engine control unit detects the malfunction and, as with the failure of the flow meter, enter into emergency mode.
Here again, it may be a question of electronics rather than mechanics. More than once, the turbo works correctly, but the sensor that measures its revolutions is the one that gives problems. This sensor indicates how fast the turbo turns to keep it under control.
For example, the turbo sensor is the one that indicates at what speed it is turning to know when to change the geometry of its blades. It also indicates when it reaches the maximum revolutions so that it doesn’t get damaged, and doesn’t keep increasing. If it works badly, it can lead to the deterioration of the turbo or its breakage, but again the car control unit usually detects it and enters emergency mode to avoid reaching those extremes.
One of the reasons for the fuel not arriving properly may be a failure in the fuel pump. The fuel pump allows transferring the dinosaur liquid from the tank to the engine, in case this mechanism fails, on many occasions, it is tried to fix it, because a new pump has a very high expense.
Because sometimes the fuel has impurities or water and in order to safeguard the injectors, the system responsible for supplying the fuel, has a series of filters with very low tolerances. If the filters are obstructed, the fuel will not reach the engine and the car will stop.
Brands with less probability of power loss
As you can imagine, there is a lot of difference in reliability between some brands and others. Even in breakdowns that can cause the loss of engine power (which can be serious). A good guide to know how the houses are in this section is the OCU’s Reliability and Satisfaction Survey 2020. In the following video we tell you how is the ranking in these sections:
As you can see in the video, there is more than one negative surprise in the relationship between reliability and price of some brands. In addition, you can also see examples of the opposite, with some cheap houses, but still have cars that do not visit the workshop much.
If you look at the Top 5 of reliability, you can see that it is easy to find reliable brands, but that they don’t cost much money. At least, if you don’t reach the top positions, which are occupied by expensive or very expensive cars. If you choose a brand from this Top 5, the chances of your car losing power due to a breakdown or the passage of time will be much lower.
Other reasons for power loss
If the spark plugs are malfunctioning, they will not produce the spark properly and the explosion will not be correct. This fault can be caused by a bad connection of the cables to the spark plugs or even due to impurities in the head of the spark plugs (residues, carbon, rust, wear, oil…).
Decompression of cylinders
Poor lubrication of the entire system or decompression of the cylinders can also lead to power losses. In the case of poor lubrication, the engine will have more friction, and it will be harder to do your job in addition to suffering from premature wear of parts. If what happens is that the cylinders suffer from decompression, this may be due to a failure in the exhaust valve or the breakage of a ring or seal.
Stretching of the distribution chain
Although theoretically the distribution chains are designed to last a long time, some of them end up stretching over the years. When this happens, one of the first symptoms detected is a metallic “clacking” when starting up, which disappears after a few minutes. It can be confused with the sound produced by hydraulic tappets due to lack of lubrication, which is also very common when starting, but which lasts less time.
When the chain is stretched a little more, a loss of engine power is noticed. Perhaps accompanied by the same more pronounced noise that lasts longer. If this fault becomes more serious, the engine failure warning symbol will normally appear and a large loss of power will be noticed. This failure can also cause a disengagement between camshaft and crankshaft large enough to seriously damage the engine and render it unusable.
Unless you are very handy and have the necessary tools, there is little you can do for yourself and you will almost always end up visiting the workshop. Even so, as a precautionary measure before visiting the workshop, you can always pour a clean liquid into the tank injectors and filters that will cost about $15 and give a little joy to the engine to make a good cleaning.