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Top Reasons Why Your Toyota RAV4 Won’t Accelerate

As a rule, Toyotas are reliable cars. However, wear and tear affects everything in this world, and when your Toyota RAV4 starts to feel sluggish with slower-than-normal acceleration, you may want to take it for a check-up. But what exactly should you check to determine what causes the sluggish behavior in your favorite vehicle?

Car driver with hand on steering wheel

The main reasons your Toyota RAV4 won’t accelerate properly are due to a fault within the complex system of fuel delivery to the engine and the removal of exhaust gasses. 

Acceleration is a result of fuel combustion, which is a complex process, and a fault within any phase of the process can lead to loss of power in your vehicle. The car is propelled by pistons that move as a result of an explosion created by fuel sprayed from the fuel injectors inside cylinders, mixed with air, and then compressed. Boom! The pistons move, and the car goes forward.

Now that we know what makes cars move, let’s look at the most common parts where things go wrong, which is why your Toyota RAV4 is not accelerating and moves as slow as molasses in January.

Your RAV4 Won’t Accelerate Is A Clogged Fuel Injector

Fixing car fuel injector

Fuel injectors control precisely how much fuel is released into the combustion chamber and are made of very narrow tubes that deliver the fuel. Over time, impurities in the fuel deposit in the channels causing the openings to become smaller and less fuel can get through to the combustion chamber.

One of the top reasons why your Toyota RAV4 won’t accelerate is a clogged fuel injector. Fuel injectors are tiny little tubes that can easily get blocked by the contaminants present in the fuel.

When the narrowing of the fuel passages impedes fuel delivery, less fuel will get through to the combustion chamber, and the car will lose power.

Copyright protected article by Know My Auto and was first published on Oct 15, 2022. .

Servicing your car regularly at an approved Toyota Service Centre ensures regular inspection of the fuel injectors, where they can be cleaned or replaced by professionals.

Your RAV4 Won’t Accelerate Is A Clogged Fuel Filter

Car fuel filter

Just like fuel injectors can get stuck with deposits of impurities present in the fuel you put into your gas tank, so can the fuel filter. They are designed to sift out and collect any debris present in the fuel to prevent your fuel injectors from getting blocked. When debris collects within the filter, there is less space available for the fuel to reach the injectors, and less fuel in the injectors causes the engine to lose power.

When your Toyota Rav4 doesn’t accelerate, it may be due to a clogged fuel filter. Fuel filters out the contaminants present in the fuel, and if the filter is not changed at regular intervals, it can become clogged.

Fuel filters are meant to be regularly replaced. So, if the loss of power is due to a clogged fuel filter, a simple replacement will fix the problem.

Your RAV4 Won’t Accelerate Is A Dirty Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF)

Car mechanic looking at engine

The mass air flow sensor in your RAV4 is an important part of the engine’s air intake. You could call it the car’s lungs. It calculates the exact amount of fuel needed to be delivered to the combustion chamber. If the sensor is not working properly, the air and gas mixture is either too rich or too lean.

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As a general rule, when the mass air flow sensor (MAF) is faulty, the RAV4 won’t accelerate smoothly. The car will have the engine running erratically, misfiring, and black smoke will emit from the exhaust pipe. 

The mass air flow sensor gets used up with increased mileage. So, if you notice a deterioration in your car’s performance and you drive a lot, then a faulty mass air flow sensor can be one of the reasons why your Toyota RAV4 won’t accelerate.

You can use the OBD2 scanner to diagnose whether the mass air flow sensor is the culprit for the poor performance of the RAV4 and replace it. The reason for running the diagnostic first is that a mass air flow sensor may not cause poor acceleration, and replacing it will not fix the problem.

Your RAV4 Won’t Accelerate Is Fuel Pump Malfunction

Car engine open

The fuel pump in your RAV4 could be why your vehicle will not accelerate. If it malfunctions, there will not be sufficient petrol pulled from the gas tank through to the engine to support good combustion and power output.

The defective fuel pump in your Toyota RAV4 will cause slow acceleration and poor performance. The fuel pump can be compared to a heart in a human, it is a primary part that supplies fuel to the engine components, and when it malfunctions, the car cannot perform.

The symptoms of a failing fuel pump include irregular or decreased acceleration, difficulty starting, the car jerking or stalling while driving, and fuel consumption will increase.

To fix this problem, you will need to have the pump replaced. Before replacing this expensive item, it is a good idea to take your car to an approved Toyota Service Centre to run diagnostic tests and ensure that the fault lies with the fuel pump.

Your RAV4 Won’t Accelerate Is Bad Spark Plugs Or Ignition Coils

Car spark plug

Spark plugs are the parts in your Toyota RAV4 that must be replaced regularly because of wear and tear. When the spark plugs are worn, the sparks are not generated properly, the car will feel sluggish, and gas consumption will increase. The engine will jerk while driving and may even cut out altogether. 

The ignition coils form a part of the ignition system. They are designed to amplify the low current from the battery and multiply it a hundredfold to produce a spark through the spark plugs. The faulty ignition coil will not be able to produce sufficient spark for proper engine combustion to take place and displays similar symptoms to bad spark plugs.

Your RAV4 will only accelerate if your spark plugs or ignition coils generate proper sparks. When the spark plug does not produce a sufficient spark, or ignition coils do not conduct sufficient current to the spark plugs to generate a good spark, your car will perform poorly.

Driving with bad spark plugs or faulty ignition coils can result in damage caused to more expensive parts of the ignition and fuel delivery system, like, for example, the catalytic converter. Therefore, it is best to replace faulty spark plugs as soon as possible.

Your RAV4 Won’t Accelerate Is Clogged Engine Oil Filter

Pouring oil into car engine

Your Toyota RAV4 is fitted with an oil filter that prevents dirt and debris from entering the moving engine parts while the oil is circulating. Usually, the filter picks up dirt particles, metal shavings, soot, and unburned fuel that mixes with the engine oil during the normal running of the engine. The oil filter needs to be changed on every service to prevent clogging. 

When the engine oil filter gets clogged, your RAV4 won’t accelerate as it should. Oil filters remove dirt particles, metal shavings, soot, or unburned fuel from the oil that lubricates the moving engine parts. 

Usually, when the oil filter gets clogged, the car will sputter when you try to accelerate. The spluttering worsens if you try to go faster. 

A simple oil filter change will fix this problem. While changing the filter, check the bypass valve that is supposed to open when the filter gets clogged. Sometimes that valve gets stuck, contributing to the severity of the symptoms of a clogged engine oil filter. 

As you see, the reasons why your Toyota RAV4 won’t accelerate can be quite varied. Many repairs are simple and inexpensive, provided that you attend to the problem as soon as it occurs. Driving and waiting before taking your car to a professional mechanic to diagnose what is wrong can lead to more extensive and costly repairs.

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KnowMyAuto is the sole owner of this article was published on Oct 15, 2022 and last updated on .

Toyota RAV4 Acceleration Problems (How to Fix)