I’m not sure what is wrong with the car and I don’t want to pay a ridiculous amount for a diagnostic check.

My car is lagging, had trouble reversing, accelerates to the desired speed very slowly. Also check engine light comes on when gas is running low and randomly comes on and off as well.

My car has 60000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Hello. You can try taking your car to a local auto parts store and have them plug into the scanner to see why the Check Engine Light is coming on. It may give you an idea if what is wrong, but may not give you a complete answer unless thoroughly scoped out. A fault code will give you an idea as to why the light comes on but doesn’t always give you a solid idea of the repair needed to solve your problems. Diagnosing why a vehicle is having symptoms often requires following a diagnostic tree. After getting information from the fault codes, there is a process of elimination that needs to be conducted. "Check ABC. If ABC checks ok, then check DEF. If DEF checks ok, then check GHI. If GHI does not check out ok, then replace XYZ." In your situation, since you are having multiple problems, I would insist on having an expert diagnose the vehicle, instead of blindly replacing components. This will ultimately save you time and money in the long run.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

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

An engine that is hesitating to accelerate is most likely dealing with a fuel/air mixture that is too lean. Engine`s that are running inefficiently will begin to show signs like hesitation which will only become worse over time.
The reduced engine power mode is usually indicated when there is an issue with the electronic throttle control system. The new problem may be connected to the old problem. General Motors put out a warranty extension on the accelerator. The pedal can break or fracture from excessive pressure being applied to the pedal.
Slow acceleration can be caused by a number of different things, including a problem with the oxygen sensor, the airflow meter, or the throttle position sensor. Your check engine light may also come on if there is a problem with the acceleration. Engine speed sensors may also be another factor.
The reasons for a check engine light turning on can range from something minor like a loose gas cap to something more serious like a faulty catalytic converter. It could even be a sign of internal engine failure. Ignoring the problem can turn a potentially quick fix into a costly and time-consuming repair.
When you press down the accelerator pedal and get minimal output, it could mean you have a problem with your fuel system. The most probable issue is a clogged fuel filter. Your fuel filter works to ensure that dirt and debris do not get into the fuel system.
Clean or replace your vehicle`s air filter when your acceleration is acting sluggish. Put in new spark plugs when they go bad if your engine misfires and hesitates. Replace your vehicle`s fuel filter when there`s a delayed response when you accelerate.
Faulty Throttle Body: A throttle body is part of the of the air intake system which helps control the amount of air going into the engine. If a throttle body is failing the engine will not get the correct mixture of air and fuel. This can trigger the Reduced Power light as well as lead to a poor running engine.
The most likely issue is that a component is clogged. A clogged fuel filter is the most common reason, although a loss of power in your car could also indicate problems with the fuel pump or fuel line. Impurities or debris may be blocking the system, which causes the loss of power in a car.
Why does my car not accelerate when I push the gas? A car not accelerating properly can be caused by a number of things. It could be due to the throttle body, gas tank, spark plugs, or the ECU. It could also be because you have a dirty air filter or a clogged fuel filter.
Will your check engine light turn off by itself? In most cases, successfully repairing the issue that caused your light to come on will cause the check engine light to turn off automatically—but only after 10 to 20 “cycles”.
Check your gas cap first. Many vehicles have a loose gas cap indicator that will be triggered before your check engine light comes on. If your gas cap is loose or the seal is not tight, the vapor leakage can cause your fuel system to trigger the check engine light.
A check-engine light will shut itself off if the condition that caused it is remedied. So, if your converter is marginal, and you did a lot of stop-and-go driving, which creates high demand for the converter, that might have turned on the check-engine light.
Culprits include a dirty fuel filter, clogged fuel tank strainer, clogged or failing fuel injectors, or a defective fuel pump. On most vehicles replacing the fuel filter is a DIY operation.
Yes. While the damage may seem small initially, the longer you drive with a bad oxygen sensor, the worse the damage will become. Eventually, you may experience rough idling, poor acceleration, engine misfires, an illuminated check engine light, and failed emission tests.
Engine Power Loss

Your high-performance engine will lag if the O2 sensor is bad and tricking the engine control unit (ECU) into putting too much air in the combustion chamber. This creates a lean fuel mixture in the chamber and causes sputtering and power loss in the engine.

The 2011 Cruze problems include jerky acceleration and electrical system flaws. Transmission failures are the most common problem. Failures happen around 65,000 miles, and require a complete replacement. Frequent engine problems are also noted, including issues with the throttle body and intake manifold.
Often, the problems are minor. In rare cases, though, reduced power can cause more serious problems like a seized engine, or even an electrical fire.
An abrupt loss of engine power is a somewhat obvious sign of a fuel injector failure. If the fuel injector is clogged, the fuel supply will be irregular too. When the fuel level fluctuates drastically, the high and low rpm`s will cause the engine to move in surges rather than slow and gradual movements.
The accelerator pedal sensor (APS) indicates the position of the accelerator on vehicle models with electronic throttle control. The APS is basically a throttle position sensor (TPS) with a pedal attached.
(1) An accelerometer is an electromechanical sensor that measures static and/or dynamic acceleration forces acting upon an object by measuring the acceleration (the rate of change of velocity) along one, two, or three axes.
When a throttle body is not functioning correctly, you`ll usually notice a distinctly poor or very low idle. If the problem is really severe, you might even begin stalling when coming to a stop or when the throttle is quickly pressed.
New spark plugs can also help increase your car`s power and acceleration, making it easier to get up to speed (literally). In addition, new spark plugs can also help reduce emissions from your car`s engine.
A good spark will be blue-white and will be plainly visible in daylight. If a good spark is present, the problem is probably not in the ignition system. Check the fuel system and/or stark timing. Weak sparks are orange or red and may be hard to see in daylight.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

I’m not sure what is wrong with the car and I don’t want to pay a ridiculous amount for a diagnostic check.
ANSWER : Hello. You can try taking your car to a local auto parts store and have them plug into the scanner to see why the Check Engine Light is coming on. It may give you an idea if what is wrong, but may not give you a complete answer unless thoroughly scoped out. A fault code will give you an idea as to why the light comes on but doesn’t always give you a solid idea of the repair needed to solve your problems. Diagnosing why a vehicle is having symptoms often requires following a diagnostic tree. After getting information from the fault codes, there is a process of elimination that needs to be conducted. "Check ABC. If ABC checks ok, then check DEF. If DEF checks ok, then check GHI. If GHI does not check out ok, then replace XYZ." In your situation, since you are having multiple problems, I would insist on having an expert diagnose the vehicle, instead of blindly replacing components. This will ultimately save you time and money in the long run.

I put the wrong key in my car and a few weeks later my car just shut down and it will not start I believe it’s the computer but…
ANSWER : Hi there. What had happened is the wrong key set the security to the vehicle. This is to prevent the vehicle from starting with the wrong keys. Try removing the battery cables (+) and (-) for 13 minutes. During that time, put the original key in the ignition and turn it on. Activate everything in the car even though there is no power. Then remove the key and hook up the battery cables. The computer should have reset and reset the security. If the security is still being tripped, then I recommend seeking out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you

My car trembles or idles hard when I’m at a temporary stop. It feels like the car wants to move before I’m ready.
ANSWER : This problem may be related to a dirty or faulty idle air control valve. This valve is a unit that reads the air intake as it is mixed with fuel, prior to being injected into the motor. The computer then uses this information to make fueling adjustments.

When the idle air control valve is not working properly, this may cause the motor to be over-fueled or under-fueled, depending on the conditions. This will cause a rough idle as you have described.

It is recommended that you get a certified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to come to your location and replace the idle air control valve for you.

Check engine light is on and the car does not want to drive
ANSWER : Hi there:

On most modern cars, there are a series of sensors that are designed to monitor mechanical systems; such as the transmission on your Saturn. In most cases, when a problem occurs, a trouble code is stored in the on board computer that will indicate what is causing the troubles. The best way to find out what’s going on is to not take your car to a shop; let the mechanic come to you. Contact one of our professional mobile mechanics to complete a check engine light inspection first. This will allow them diagnose what’s wrong with your car so they can recommend and complete the right repairs.

What would your advice be to a person who needs to get a smog check on their car to make sure it passes the smog check? 2005 Mitsubishi
ANSWER : Hi there – the most straightforward and least expensive approach to this problem is to simply take your vehicle in for testing 15-30 days prior to your "deadline" (birthday month?). Most states or metro areas allow a 30 day "repair period" if there is any problem, and re-testing is usually free. Obviously, the car must be in good running order before having it tested. If your Check Engine light is illuminated, or the car runs badly, there is an issue, and the car must be repaired as appropriate. Once inspected, the "pass" certificate is also good for some period of time (sometimes as long as a year) as well, so there is no penalty for checking your emissions early. If you pass, you’re good-to-go. If not, you have a period of time to get it repaired before your current certificate expires. Good luck!

Power steering loss, no belts are turning but the car is running fine. I also have a soft pedal. Whats wrong with my car?
ANSWER : I have only seen this situation once in my 30+ years and it turned out to be a broken crankshaft pulley. Belts are driven by the engine. The crankshaft pulley spins the belts, which in turn spin the air conditioner compressor, power steering and water pumps, and the alternator. The vehicle should be towed to your local repair shop and not driven. Without the water pump spinning to circulate the coolant, the engine will quickly overheat and result in more extensive damage.

I’m looking to purchase a 2013 Acura TL from an Acura dealership in Wisconsin, but I wanted to make sure rust wasn’t an issue.
ANSWER : Rami: The areas of immediate concern when it comes to rust are brake and fuel lines and suspension or frame components. Rust on exterior sheet metal (body panels) is somewhat "cosmetic" although of course I understand that nobody wants to drive a car with visible rust. Technically speaking, and from the standpoint of safety and the cost of repairs, what you have to look for is rust on steel tubing carrying fluids and rust on the frame or suspension components. Typically, on a 4 year old car, you are not going to see anything meaningful in the way of rust in the underhood area. It will be difficult to determine the complete condition of the tubing through photographs unless they are incredibly numerous and complete.

Inasmuch as used car repair, maintenance, and restoration costs are highly dependent on the actual, as found, condition of the vehicle, the only way to get a reasonably precise estimate of costs you might face, and also to protect yourself in the transaction, is to request a pre-purchase vehicle inspection. That inspection, carried out by a certified Mechanic, dispatched to your location, will give you the exact data that you need to make a fully informed, intelligent decision and minimize your risk in buying a used car. If you look at the just cited link for YourMechanic’s inspection service, you will see a long list of the vehicle systems that must be inspected as well as details of YourMechanic’s inspection methodology. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

Got a diagnostic, mech says car need theromostat and all coils and plugs. Car was fine then check engine light 2009 Mini Cooper
ANSWER : Hi – I would do a quick check on the problem codes causing the Check Engine light and other warnings you mention. In general you would have an occasional misfire or hiccup that you should feel as engine vibration as any of the 4 coils start to go weak. Some engine ignition systems are more sensitive to coil compatibility than others, and replacing all of them at once with higher mileage is a good guideline. However, you don’t have all that many miles on your Mini. I would challenge the reason to replace all of them on this occasion. I recommend a thermostat replacement and misfire inspection by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will come to your location, diagnose and/or correct these problems, and give you an accurate assessment of other damage and cost estimate for repairs.