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Engine Shaking and Loss of Power: 5 Possible Causes and Solutions

Hi, I'm Azim Uddin, a student who loves cars. Visit carcaresite.com to learn about car maintenance for beginners and experts. In my studies, I found a cool connection between hosting and car care. Join me on this journey where every road has a story, and hospitality meets the thrill of cars. Explore, learn, and enjoy the ride with me!

Hi, I'm Azim Uddin, a student who loves cars. Visit carcaresite.com to learn about car maintenance for beginners and experts. In my studies, I found a cool connection between hosting and car care. Join me on this journey where every road has a story, and hospitality meets the thrill of cars. Explore, learn, and enjoy the ride with me!

Last Updated on May 7, 2024 by Azim Uddin

Engine issues are usually concerning and require immediate diagnosis and testing. One of the concerning issues is the engine shaking and losing power, especially during acceleration. However, you must know the causes first to diagnose and fix this engine problem.

So, what causes the engine shaking and loss of power problems? An issue with the fuel injector, spark plug, or ignition cables can cause these engine issues. Also, vacuum leaks or an issue with the exhaust system can cause the engine to shake and lose power.

The article discusses these issues that can result in the engine shaking and losing power to help you diagnose and fix them. Read on to learn the solutions.

Reason Why Engines Shake and Lose Power and Solutions

Engine Shaking and Loss of Power: 5 Possible Causes

There are several reasons we already mentioned that cause the engine to shake and lose power. Let’s discuss the reasons and their potential solutions to the issues in detail.

A problematic fuel injector is usually the main reason that causes the engine to shake and lose power when running. A fuel injector delivers fuel for combustion to the engine’s cylinders when required and in the right amounts.

If either of the injectors has a problem, it doesn’t deliver fuel to the engine in the ideal amounts and time. The fuel and air ratio difference to the engine can cause a misfire. A misfire causes the engine to lose power and also shake.

This is a fuel injector usually the main reason of engine shake and lose power when running is fuel injector issues

One way to confirm that the fuel injectors have an issue and aren’t working is by listening to them. With the vehicle running, place a long screwdriver and listen for clicks (there should be clicks as the injector injects fuel)

The video below highlights how to test the injector.

If either of the fuel injectors in your car doesn’t work, follow the steps below to access and clean or replace them;

  • Step 1. Relieve pressure from the fuel system by removing the pump relay and running the vehicle for some time.
  • Step 2. Disconnect the car’s battery (negative terminal first).
  • Step 3. Locate the fuel injectors. They are usually by the engine, but you should consult the user manual.
  • Step 4. Unscrew or unclip the fuel rail.
  • Step 5. Disconnect the fuel line.
  • Step 6. Remove the fuel injector(s).
  • Step 7. Clean the injector(s) with a suitable cleaner.
  • Step 8. Install the injector(s) if the cleaning doesn’t work.
  • Step 9. Connect the fuel line and screw or clip the fuel rail back on.
  • Step 10. Replace the battery and the relay. Test the car.
See also  Engine Vibration When Decelerating: Know The Causes And Solutions

Replacing the fuel injectors ranges between $400 and $1500. The price varies with the car’s type.

Watch this video to see how to replace the fuel injector.

A spark plug ignites the mixture of air and fuel inside the engine’s cylinders. If a spark plug fails, the cylinder misfires, which can cause issues with the engine shaking and losing power.

engine shakes and loss of power happens due to spark plug issues

The best way to diagnose the spark plugs is by visually inspecting them. Access the spark plug (steps discussed under solutions) and check for carbon buildup, damaged electrodes, and oil deposits.

Here is a video we’ve shared to show the various symptoms of a bad spark plug.

Faulty spark plugs need replacing. Purchase a spark plug compatible with your engine and follow the steps below to replace it;

  • Step 1. Wear protective gear and allow engine time to cool.
  • Step 2. Locate the spark plugs. They’re usually on the top side of the engine. Consult the user’s manual if you cannot locate yours.
  • Step 3. Remove the ignition cables or ignition coils from the top side of the spark plugs.
  • Step 4. Remove the spark plug using a compatible socket.
  • Step 5. Adjust the new spark plug’s gap if not pre-adjusted.
  • Step 6. Install the new spark plug.
  • Step 7. Reinstall the ignition cable or coil on the spark plug.
  • Step 8. Test the engine.

Replacing spark plugs will cost you between $100 and $500.

The following video shows you how to replace a spark plug.

Ignition cables, also called spark plug wires, provide the spark plugs with the power they require to fire in a cylinder. An issue with the ignition cables interferes with the power delivery to the spark plugs and causes a misfire in the cylinders.

This is how you diagnose ignition cables as the reasons behind the engine shaking and losing power.

  • Visually inspecting the cables for damage, cracks, and cats.
  • Checking for insulation deterioration.
  • Testing the cables for resistance using a digital multimeter.

The solution to problematic ignition cables is to replace them. Acquire quality wires compatible with your vehicle and follow the steps below to change them;

  • Step 1. Gather tools, wear protective gear, and allow engine time to cool off.
  • Step 2. Disconnect the negative battery terminal.
  • Step 3. Locate the ignition coils. They are the cables connecting to the spark plugs. Consult the user manual if you can’t locate the cables.
  • Step 3. Twist and pull out the cables one at a time.
  • Step 4. Install the new ignition cables.
  • Step 5. Reconnect the negative battery’s terminal.
  • Step 6. Test the car.
See also  The Car Engine Shakes When Starting - What to Do?

Replacing the wires ranges between $50 and $250. The price varies with the repair shop and car type.

If you need to replace spark plugs, you’ll find this video useful.

Another possible cause behind the issue of the engine shaking and power loss issue is vacuum leaks. The car engine uses vacuum pressure to draw air in for a mixture of fuel and combustion. When a vacuum is disrupted, the combustion process in the cylinders is affected, which can cause a misfire.

Usually, leaks happen to take place in the vacuum hoses. Inspect the hoses for signs of cracks, loose connections, or detachments. However, various gaskets, including those in the intake manifold, may allow vacuum pressure loss.

The solution to vacuum leaks in the system is to fix or replace the leaking hose. Secure a replacement hose and follow the steps below.

  • Step 1. Locate the leaking hose.
  • Step 2. Connect the hose firmly if it is loose or disconnected. Use an electric tape to fix a slightly cut hose.
  • Step 3. If the hose is completely broken, use the new hose to attach the two broken ends.
  • Step 4. On an occasion when the hose is broken at the very end where it connects to the engine, use a barbed-type vacuum connector to connect.

In most cases, fixing a vacuum leak will cost between $30 and $100.

An easy way to fix a vacuum line is explained in this video.

Exhaust system issues, especially a blockage, can create back pressure, which causes the engine to misfire. The misfire can cause the engine to shake and lose power.

To diagnose this issue, whether it’s behind the engine shaking or losing power, visually inspect the exhaust system. Check for exhaust leaks on joints and flanges. Also, listen for unusual sounds that may suggest an issue with the exhaust system. Check the status of the 02 sensor.

The solution to exhaust system issues is to fix or replace the faulty part. Following are the various solutions to the exhaust system issues.

  • A damaged pipe or muffler can be welded, or small holes on it can be patched.
  • Spray a clogged catalytic converter with a pressure washer and soak in water for some time.
  • Replace gaskets, allowing exhaust to leak, and tighten loose connections.
  • Replace the oxygen sensor if it has issues.

Exhaust system issues fixing costs between $120 and $1000.

Diesel Engine Shaking and Loss of Power – What Could Be the Cause?

Diesel engines are renowned for their endurance, yet even they may encounter issues such as a diesel engine shaking and loss of power, especially under hot conditions or heavy loads.

See also  Engine Shakes When Accelerating: Possible Causes and Steps to Fix Them

Various factors contribute to this problem, with common culprits being a clogged fuel filter, exhaust pipe, dirty air filter, fouled spark plugs, or low compression.

To address these issues and restore power to your diesel engine, practical solutions are available. Regularly changing the oil prevents clogs and maintains optimal engine performance. Choosing high-quality fuel minimizes contamination risks.

Additionally, cleaning or replacing fuel and air filters regularly is crucial to prevent buildups and ensure smooth operation.

However, when faced with perplexing problems, seeking assistance from a diesel professional can be invaluable, saving both time and expense by addressing potential larger diesel repairs in a timely manner.

If your vehicle experiences engine shaking and loss of power, you might find our articles on ‘Engine Vibration When Decelerating: Know The Causes And Solutions’ and ‘Engine Shakes When Idling: 4 Potential Causes and How to Fix Them’ beneficial, encompassing all the necessary information. Our article on engine vibration when decelerating provides an in-depth look at the reasons behind the problem and lists a step-by-step solution guide for addressing each issue, including potential engine misfires, worn-out spark plugs, or faulty fuel injectors. Meanwhile, our article on engine shaking when idling explores everything you need to know, such as common causes like vacuum leaks, idle air control valve issues, or engine mount problems, along with practical troubleshooting tips to resolve them effectively!

Related Questions

The following section answers questions most users ask about engine shaking and loss of power issues.

Q1. Is it Safe To Drive a Vehicle with a Shaking Engine and Loses Power?

When the vehicle starts to shake and lose power when accelerating, it’s best to avoid driving it. Instead, diagnose the possible causes or hire a professional to fix it. Driving the car may lead to further issues.

Q2. Is it Costly to Fix a Vehicle That Is Shaking And Loses Power?

The cost of fixing a car with shaking and power loss issues depends on the exact issues. However, most solutions cost an average of between $200 and $500, with fuel injectors and exhaust systems costing the most.

Q3. How Long Will It Cost To Fix The Engine Vibrating And Loss Power Issue?

Most diagnoses and fixes will take more than an hour to do. However, some simple ones, like replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires, will take less than 30 minutes.

Final Thoughts

If your engine has this issue where it shakes and loses power, check the various potential causes discussed in the article. Start with the fuel injectors, as it is the more likely cause, followed by the spark plugs.

To confirm each potential cause as the issue is diagnosed further through the methods and steps discussed. After determining an issue as the cause, follow the steps in the article to fix it. However, you can hire a mechanic to diagnose and fix this problem for a better and faster solution.

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