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I visited my mum this weekend and drove her Kia Pride CD5. I remember my dad driving this so fast when I was younger but now, it feels different. It’s not as fast as it used to be. And it made me question if, like people, cars get slower over time.
Do cars get slower over time? The age is not necessarily the reason why cars get slower over time, but the way you care for it on a regular basis. The right fuel supply, proper intake and exhaust flow, good compression, and a healthy spark to set off the combustion process are needed for your car to run well. If these are compromised over time, then that will lead to your car getting slower.
If your car is starting to get slower, what kind of repairs do you need to restore its speed? How much will it cost you?
If you’re doing repairs by yourself,invest in these books: How To Make Your Car Last Forever and Automotive Engines: Diagnosis, Repair, and Rebuilding. These two will put you in the right direction.
Why Engines Lose Power Over Time
One reason why cars get slower over time is because of their engines losing power. Air, Fuel, Compression, and Spark are the things a gasoline engine requires to generate power. We’ll focus on each of these four factors, and look into Friction:
- Air Filter. It’s important to check this regularly, because, with a clogged air filter, the engine works harder to pull in air. That means less air will enter, and that in turn will result in less power. You can replace your air filter with a Clamp-On Air Filter from K&N.
- Exhaust. Having restricted exhaust will reduce the engine’s airflow and performance. When air or fuel get improperly mixed, catalytic converters will eventually clog up on engines.
- Valve Train. For engines that are not self-adjusting, the valve train components can wear out over time. When that happens the timing and lift of the valves might be reduced.
One of the things often overlooked by DIY-ers is fuel pressure. To do that, you’ll need the Eytool TU-443 Multi-function Fuel System Pressure Tester Kit.
- Fuel Injectors. The deposit build-up on the injectors will create a cascade of problems. Engine compensation will add rich fuel mixture to the cylinders which will result in misfires.
- Fuel Pump. A worn-out fuel pump will struggle to provide fuel at higher pressures or for longer durations. As a result, your vehicle will lose power when travelling uphill, or while maintaining a high speed. If your fuel pump is suspect, replace it immediately with this Universal Fuel Pump for Bosch 044.
- Piston Rings. The piston rings that are starting to wear out will result in a blow-back. The oil will be quickly contaminated once the byproducts of combustion enter the crankcase.
- Valves/Valve Seats. When carbon deposits build up on the valves/valve seats, these won’t close properly. As a result, air will escape freely and the compression ratio will get lower.
- Piston. If you let deposits build-up on piston or cylinder walls, these will create hot spots that will result in engine knock. Your engine, in turn, will retard the ignition timing to reduce that engine knock.
- Spark Plugs. When spark plugs build up deposits over time, it will have inconsistent firing, or worse, misfires. But if you maintain these plugs clean, the spark part of the equation won’t result in a power loss. Don’t skimp on your spark plugs. Get the Bosch 9607 Double Iridium Spark Plug for longer life.
- Once you allow the oil to gunk up, the viscosity of the oil will increase, which in turn will make the pumping more challenging. If the engine doesn’t have proper oil flow, this will result to its components wearing out faster and working harder to overcome the added friction. Take the guesswork out of the equation by using these highly recommended Engine Oils
- Shell Rotella T4 Triple Protection Conventional 10w-30
- Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic SAE 5W-30 Motor Oil
- last but not least, Valvoline High Mileage with MaxLife Technology.
It’s no surprise that some power loss is unavoidable. So, if you want to prevent losing power over time, you have to properly maintain your vehicle. But if it needs immediate repair, what are the things you have to keep in mind? How much would it cost?
Repairs When Your Car Gets Slower Over Time
No matter how hard you try to fix your car’s acceleration issues, there are repairs that you need to leave to the expert hands of reputable auto service centers. These centers have top-rated mobile mechanics who will run diagnostics to find the reason why your car gets slower over time. They may check your car’s fuel system if there are any leaks or defects on fuel injectors, fuel pump, fuel filter, or airflow sensors.
These repairs may not cost you a lot of money, especially if you’ll just do a simple fuel filter cleaning or change. But if the repair is quite a bit more expensive than you’d expect, never hesitate to pay for it. Your safety is on the line when your car won’t accelerate properly especially on intersections and ramps. Therefore, be sure to fix simple fuel system problems to avoid paying for more expensive repair and endangering your life.
So, how much will it cost you for the repairs? Simply put, it all depends on your car’s issue. The 2018 Vehicle Health Index identified the five most common issues and the average cost to fix them:
- faulty oxygen sensor: $238. (Save up on this repair by getting the KAX 250-24432 Oxygen Sensor and installing it yourself.)
- ignition coil/spark plugs: $367
- catalytic converter: $1,271. (Increase your savings with AUTOSAVER88 Catalytic Converter)
- fuel-filler cap: $26
- EVAP purge control valve: $147
Fun With Slow Driving
What if for some reason, you’re now stuck with a slow car? Can you still have fun with slow driving? For sure! In fact, here are five reasons why slow cars are more fun than fast cars.
You might put yourself in danger with a fast car.
If the coolest feature of your car is its speed, you won’t enjoy it fully without considering the public safety and legality. You’ll be extra careful accelerating a Viper on merging section, but not with a Miata or MINI Cooper.
Accelerating at high speeds gets boring.
As your speed increases, your car will require a rapid increase in power to slice through the air. Without that power, getting above 120 or 150 mph will feel like your old school bus pulling away from its last stop. Boring!
You just kinda get used to it.
Driving on 150 mph gives you the flight or fight response. Your body will be filled with a sudden rush of chemicals to cope with the excitement. Then, driving at over 100 mph won’t feel different from driving at 70 mph.
Making a slow car go fast gets thrilling.
There’s nothing more exciting than keeping up with a sports car with a superb performance next to you, especially if you own a car as slow as a snail. But matching the speed of a Miata while driving in a brand new Porsche? Not fun at all.
Very few people get the chance to drive a supercar. But with a slow car, anyone can experience and get surprised by its capabilities.
Now, you might not be able to physically drive a supercar but you could always let your mind wander by getting the book Built For Speed: The World’s Fastest Road Cars.
Will you save more fuel by driving too slow?
The logic that driving faster burns more fuel while driving slower burns less is only half true. When you drive under your car’s optimal speed, its engine may be doing more work yet accomplishing little momentum from the fuel burning in all cylinders. But if you own a car with automatic transmissions, you can downshift into a lower gear when driving along too slowly—which itself can burn excess fuel.
Why does my car lose power with the AC on?
Your car’s AC takes power from the engine- the same source your whole car takes power from. When the AC system puts the load on the engine, the full energy is divided into two, thus affecting the throttle of the car. This proves that the AC puts extra pressure on the engine, causing the car to lose power.