Car Revs But Won’t Move – 6 Common Culprits & How To Eliminate Them

You do not know why your car does not move while the engine is revving. You tried your best, but your car seems to spend its remaining life in this parking spot. Don’t worry, our team is here to help you get away from this problem.

Six reasons why the car revs but won’t move will be shown here. Moreover, we also suggest some ways to fix your car when stuck in this situation.

car revs but wont move

There are some cases where you can make a DIY repair, but other more severe problems require professional care. Whenever you come across such an issue, it’s best to bring your car to a mechanic.

6 Reasons Why Car Revs But Won’t Move

In this article, we will provide six possible culprits leading to car revs but won’t move automatically, which include: a malfunctioning engine control model, poor throttle body, incorrect air/fuel ratio, bad clutch disc, and gross manifold leak.

We will dive deeper into each factor to help you find your accurate problems and solve them.

Bad Engine Control Model

The first possibility of the problem that your car doesn’t respond while the engine still works well is that your vehicle’s engine control unit (ECU) may be bad.

Almost all modern cars are managed by a computer system called the engine control module (ECM) or engine control unit (ECU).

Similar to any other technology, they require maintenance and updates and can malfunction if not receive enough care.

Engine Control Unit
Engine Control Unit

If your car doesn’t normally perform as you expect, bring your vehicle to a local mechanic’s store for a checkup. A professional technician will help you find the wrong part in the system and fix it.

Malfunctioning Throttle Body

Maybe you do not know, a majority of new model cars use an electronically controlled throttle to manage the airflow into the engine.

This system can control the speed of your engine depending on numerous components such as electronic inputs, computers, and motors.

A Throttle Body
A Throttle Body

When you press on the gas pedal, you activate a valve inside the car’s throttle body. This component determines the amount of air pumped into the engine.

Once this valve opens, more air is pulled into the engine, and then, it will create more power by mixing with more fuel. The more you press on the gas pedal, the more air is sent into the engine.

If you start the car, but the throttle body is not opening, your car can behave abnormally while the engine performs smoothly.

After a long use time, the throttle body will be stuck due to a buildup of carbon deposits. Once this situation occurs, there is not enough required air into your engine, resulting in your car revving but not accelerating.

Inaccurate Air/Fuel Ratio

If it isn’t a problem with the throttle body or engine control model, failing to meet the accurate air/fuel ratio in the engine may be an issue.

An airflow sensor reveals to the engine’s computer the amount of air sent into the engine. Meanwhile, the O2 sensors show the computer volume of oxygen present in the exhaust.

Faulty Oxygen Sensor
Oxygen Sensor

Based on this information, the engine’s computer determines how much fuel will be used to blend with the air.

Your car’s engine may perform normally, but if the airflow sensors are not responding correctly, the engine will not be able to create much or any power for the car.

Once these sensors are stuck with carbon buildup, the computer might receive an inaccurate air/fuel ratio, leading to poor performance or failure to move.

The mixture of fuel and air needs to be combined accurately in the cylinders to get proper combustion. Bring your car to a professional mechanic shop to fix the sensor if you face this issue.

Old Transmission Fluid

Another reason your car won’t move when pressing gas is the damaged or bad transmission.

Differential Fluid
Old Transmission Fluid

Clean transmission fluid is essential for the engine owning automatic transmissions to work smoothly. In this system, the torque converter collaborates with the transmission liquid to transfer engine power to the wheels, making your car move.

Over time, similar to any part of the vehicle, the transmission fluid collects dirt and grime. It can make the engine run roughly, even fail to accelerate when you press on the gas pedal.

One of the best ways to determine whether the transmission fluid is old or not is by using your ears when you try to shift.

In case you hear a grinding sound when you take that action, the gears in the transmission are probably damaged.

If the gears are faulty, they will not lock into position right to place into gear. In this situation, the only method to repair it is to have the transmission rebuilt.

In rebuilding the transmission, you will have to replace one or two gears or the whole thing. The number of gears that need to be substituted is only determined when you tear it apart.

Prevention is better than cure, hence you should avoid being stuck in this situation where the car revving but not moving by maintaining the high quality of your transmission.

Our advice is to always ensure your buddy  has transmission fluid via checking the levels and completing a transmission flush in a particular period that your manufacturer recommends.

Bad Clutch Disc

If you have checked your car and the four above factors are not why the car revs high but no acceleration. So this fifth component can be the root of your problem – a bad clutch disc.

A Clutch Disc
A Clutch Disc

The clutch disc is made from friction and steel plates. After working for a long time, these discs wear down. It means the appropriate pressure is not put onto the right gear.

The clutch is a pedal that you have to press down to shift. When you do this action, it releases the pressure plate and clutch disc.

Next, these movements let the new gear drop into the right position when shifting. If they are stuck or won’t move, you will not be able to make your car move.

The transmission will slip, or your car may be unresponsive. The engine revs up when the transmission is slipping, but the car will not move in any gear.

These indicators show that it’s time for you to replace the clutch disc because the old ones have become worn.

The average cost for replacing the clutch plates is between $1,200 and $1,400, including the fixing cost of about $700 to $750. And the labor cost fluctuates from $500 to $650.

However, based on your region, the clutch kit can cost up to $800.

Even when it calls for such a huge sum of money, you will never want to drive a car with a poor or worn-out clutch disc.

Gross Manifold Leak

Here is the last possible reason why the car not moving when pressing gas. It is a gross manifold leak. Despite the fact that it isn’t a common occurrence, a manifold leak can still happen.

Intake Manifold Gasket

More additional air will be drawn through the leak, resulting in too much air in the cylinders and reducing gasoline. In such situations, the engine will run rough and slow.

It eventually makes the car stall if the situation becomes worse.

Until now, you have known six common factors leading to engine revs but no acceleration automatic.

So how to treat the problem correctly? We will answer the question of what to do when pressing gas pedal and car not moving. Let’s move to the second part.

What To Do When Car Revs But Won’t Accelerate?

If your vehicle does not move while trying to put it into gear, we assume that you are having a serious transmission problem or just due to a simple oversight.

Below are the things you should do whenever you are caught in this awkward situation.

  1. The first and most important thing is ensuring that your car is turned on. Some cars are so quiet that you cannot recognize whether you turned them on or not.
  2. The second thing is to make sure that you have already disengaged the parking brake. Or else, of course, your car will rev but not move.
  1. It would be best if you strived to start your vehicle in a different gear. If a single gear is the origin of the problem, you will escape from that situation once you try on another gear.
  2. After trying the three above methods, if they don’t work, you are recommended to check your transmission fluid.

However, the best way when you face this problem is to bring your car to a professional technical store to ask for mechanics’ help.

They will detect the root of the problem and eliminate it. You also should have a regular checkup for your car at a store to avoid any faulty components in the future.


Why Is My Car Not Moving When I Accelerate?

Your car is not moving when you accelerate, maybe because you are pressing the emergency brakes. 

If your vehicle’s engine sensors don’t work well, the ECM or ECU will get confused and respond to the wrong information, leading to slow acceleration. Or in the worse-case scenario, the car will not even move.

Why My Car Won’t Move When I Press The Gas?

If you press down the gas pedal, but your car keeps standing still, it can be a sign of a fuel system problem. But, it is also an indication of a malfunction inside the engine or an issue relating to the emergency brake.

Usually, before the acceleration failure happens, you will realize that your car’s engine runs rough or stalls frequently.

Why My Car Starts But Won’t Drive?

For this problem, there can be a few causes. The most common one is low transmission fluid, which causes a vehicle to not move in the drive.

Other factors are listed and explained carefully in our article. You can find and read it to determine which part is the root of your problem.


We have listed six common reasons your car revs but won’t move in our article.

Whenever you encounter this problem, it could stem from: the engine control model, the air-fuel ratio, transmission fluid, clutch disc, and manifold leak.

Hopefully, depending on our useful information, you can find the actual problems with your car and fix them successfully.

Moreover, we also provided you with basic instructions to follow if you are unlucky to be stuck in this situation.

should you have any knowledge relating to these issues or any new methods to escape from this condition, it would be great if you share them with us.

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