Car cranks, but doesn’t move. What could it be? Brakes recently cleaned by auto shop.

Car wiil crank, runs fine for awhile, and then won't move.

My car has 161100 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
I don’t have enough information to determine the cause of your concern. This can be caused by several things, including low transmission fluid, shifter misadjustment, the brakes could be locked up, internal transmission damage, etc. I suggest having a certified technician, like one from YourMechanic, diagnose why your car’s not moving to determine the exact cause of your concern.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

Worn Transmission Fluid (Automatic Transmission)

Over time, the transmission fluid gathers dirt and grime. This can cause the engine to run roughly, stall or fail to accelerate when you press down on the gas pedal. You may need to have a transmission fluid change before more damage is done.

The most common reason is a problem with the fuel system, such as a clogged fuel filter or faulty fuel injectors. Another possibility is an issue with the ignition system, such as spark plugs that need to be replaced. Finally, it could be a problem with the engine itself, such as low compression or a worn timing belt.
The most common reasons a Honda Civic won`t start are a dead battery, an alternator problem, or failed starter.
If your car is not accelerating, the first thing to check is the air filter. The air provided to the engine for the combustion process passes through an air filter, which catches all the impurities and debris present in the air. With continuous usage, the air filter gets clogged and doesn`t let air pass through it.
If when you put your vehicle into gear and it won`t move, this may be a problem with low transmission fluid due to a leak, the shifter, shifter cable, or it could even be a problem in the valve body of your automatic transmission.
One of the most common acceleration problems is a clogged catalytic converter. The catalytic converter is responsible for converting exhaust gases into less harmful gases before they are expelled into the atmosphere. A clogged catalytic converter can cause a significant decrease in power and acceleration.
If your car is having trouble getting up to speed, it may be time for a fuel filter cleaning and/or a clogged filtration receptacle inspection. A defective fuel pump can also cause decreased pick-up, as can sediment and dirt build-up in the line from the tank to the engine.
In general, when a car doesn`t start, it`s due to the battery being dead, battery cables being damaged or corroded, the ignition cylinder or relay being damaged, the starter relay or starter being faulty or an ignition or fuel system component requiring replacement.
Bad starter motor: If you hear a single click when you turn the key, but the engine won`t start, that could mean there`s a problem with the electrical system. The starter motor is responsible for physically turning the engine over and getting the engine to fire. If this is the issue, you`ll need a new one installed.
The number one cause is the clutch components have worn out and no longer have enough friction material to overcome the weight of the vehicle. A second possibility is the transmission can be stuck in two gears at the same time and it won`t move. The shift mechanism can malfunction and keep you from selecting a gear.
There are several problems which could cause this behavior, such as a bad throttle position sensor, fuel supply issues (low fuel pressure), or a dirty or bad mass air flow sensor. Problem codes will narrow the cause more quickly, and help avoid replacing parts that are not the problem.
Problems Reversing – One common problem that can happen with a clogged filter is difficulty moving in reverse. The lack of fluid flowing through the transmission can cause the reverse gear to lock. This may prevent the car from going in reverse altogether, or it may cause it to hesitate before launching into reverse.
The accelerator pedal sensor transmits the position of the accelerator pedal to the engine control unit.
This can be caused by a clogged air filter or a problem with the air intake system. The air intake system is responsible for bringing air into the engine. If it is not working properly, the engine will not be able to get enough air, causing it to lose power.
The most common causes for slow acceleration in Honda Accord are clogged air filter, dirty mass air flow sensor (MAF), clogged fuel filter, fuel pump malfunction, faulty oxygen sensor, dirty throttle body, worn spark plugs and clogged catalytic converter.
Typically when the car will not accelerate past 60 MPH, it`s due to either the ECU activating a limp mode or other mechanical (fuel or ignition system component) failures.
Install a turbocharger or supercharger.

These aftermarket additions to your engine allow more compressed air to enter the pistons, which creates a more powerful spark when mixed with gasoline. You should have these installed by a certified professional who understands forced induction.

“Limp Mode” – If your car won`t accelerate over 25 or 40 mph, it could have engaged `limp mode. ` It is also known as a limp home mode, and it acts as a preservation feature. It is meant to get you home, to an auto mechanic, or safely off the road without destroying your engine.
The crankshaft position sensor monitors the position and speed of the crankshaft and other parameters that play an important role when starting the engine. If the crankshaft position sensor is having a problem, the vehicle may have intermittent starting issues or not start at all.
When your engine cranks but won`t start or run, it could mean your engine is having trouble producing a spark, getting fuel, or creating compression. The most common causes are problems in the ignition (for example, a bad ignition coil) or fuel system (for example, a clogged fuel filter).
With a cranking system, symptoms are divided into one of three possible troubleshooting categories: Click — No-Crank (solenoid clicks but starter doesn`t crank) No-Click — No-Crank (solenoid doesn`t click/starter doesn`t crank) Slow Crank (starter cranks, but engine RPM slow to start vehicle)
Seized car engine symptoms:

Fumes/smoke: since the engine can`t turn over, fumes, smoke, and even fire can happen – all of which are a sure sign of an engine seizure. Nothing: the most tell-tale sign of a seized engine is when nothing happens. When your car won`t start no matter how hard you try.

There are several causes for your car to lose power significantly while accelerating. The most typical causes of a car not accelerating while driving include a faulty sensor, contaminated fuel or air filters, or a faulty timing belt. Generally, this isn`t something you should ignore.
Faulty Wiring:

Over time the wiring for your RPM gauge may become faulty. If you turn your engine on and your tachometer doesn`t move or respond at all, then it could be a wiring issue.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Car cranks, but doesn’t move. What could it be? Brakes recently cleaned by auto shop.
ANSWER : I don’t have enough information to determine the cause of your concern. This can be caused by several things, including low transmission fluid, shifter misadjustment, the brakes could be locked up, internal transmission damage, etc. I suggest having a certified technician, like one from YourMechanic, diagnose why your car’s not moving to determine the exact cause of your concern.

Car brakes are stuck on.
ANSWER : Try putting the transmission shifter in park or neutral and see if the brake pedal becomes unstuck. If not, then you may have to remove the battery cables to reset the electrical system so that the parking assist is shut off to relax the brake pedal. If you need further assistance with your brake pedal sticking, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.

Car won’t crank when it’s cold and now won’t start at all
ANSWER : Hi there:

Usually this issue is cased by low cranking amps inside the battery. If you’ve recently had the battery replaced, it’s possible that an electrical component that makes up the charging system might be damaged or faulty. It’s also quite possible that the main electrical relay or the starter relay is giving you fits. To know for certain what the exact issue might be on your 1989 Toyota Camry, you should have a professional mobile mechanic complete a car is hard to start inspection, so they can pinpoint the source of your issues and recommend the right repairs.

Stays idling when I put it in gear, and the car doesn’t move. When forced into any gear without the clutch, the car does not shut off.
ANSWER : Hi there. The clutch may be worn and slipping causing the engine to stay running as the shifter is put into a gear selection. If the clutch was working, when put into gear and let off the clutch pedal, the vehicle will either move or stall out the engine. Check the slave cylinder and see if the return spring has broken off causing the clutch fork to stay engaged. Also the clutch adjuster cable could be out of adjustment or damaged. If the pedal and hydraulic assembly has no issues, then I recommend seeking out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you diagnose your clutch.

EPC light on 2004 Jetta. Code said brake switch faulty, but brakes lights worked. Replaced brake switch, now no brake lights.
ANSWER : Hi there. The first thing that pops in my mind beyond of what you have listed is perhaps the electrical harness attached to the brake switch. Perhaps the harness itself is damaged or you have an exposed wire, loose ground wire somewhere. You might want to have a professional mobile mechanic come to your location and complete a brake lights not working inspection to help you diagnose this issue.

Car won’t move. I can start the car but when I put the shifter in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, ect. The car will not move.
ANSWER : The transaxle is not engaging internally to the axle shafts inside the transaxle or you have one or both axle shafts disengaged from the transaxle. The fact that the speedometer moves when gear is engaged and clutch is released shows the speed sensor in the transaxle is getting turned.

You will need to have the vehicle raised and the axles inspected for broke or stripped shafts. If the axles do not have anything visually wrong with them then hold one wheel and try to turn the other wheel while transaxle is in gear, with engine off, to see if the wheels are locked together. When you spin one wheel the other wheel should turn in the opposite direction. If it does not then the problem is in the transaxle differential gears and the transaxle would need to be removed and disassembled to find the broken internal components.

If you need some assistance with this, consider YourMechanic, as one of our mobile technicians can come to your home or office to diagnose your acceleration issue and help make the necessary repairs to get you going again.

Car is idling at high rpm’s and when the days are hot the car cranks but doesn’t turn on and also exhaust is smoking when i rev it
ANSWER : Hello – your symptoms suggest worn piston rings or valve stem seals (smoking), and a possible air leak in the intake, or idle air control valve sticking open (high idle). Both are signs of a higher-mileage engine with significant wear. I recommend an engine inspection performed by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will come to your location, diagnose this problem, and give you an accurate assessment of damage and cost estimate for repairs.

Brake sensor is to sensitive causing brakes to flicker while driving. 2005 Mercury Montego
ANSWER : Hi there – your brake light switch needs a minor adjustment. It is adjusted too "tight" or close to the brake pedal lever, or possibly has failed. Adjusting/replacing it will eliminate this flickering problem. I recommend a brake light isn’t working inspection performed by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will come to your location, diagnose this problem, and give you an accurate assessment of damage and cost estimate for repairs.