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Why Does My Car Keep Over Revving? Causes & Solutions

Why Does My Car Keep Over Revving? Causes & Solutions

You’re driving along, and suddenly your car starts over revving. The RPMs go higher, and the engine starts making strange noises. You quickly pull over to the side of the road, wondering what could be wrong. 

There are a few different reasons your car might be over-revving, most of which have to do with the engine. If your vehicle is over-revving, the engine is spinning too fast. Several things can cause this, but there are a few common causes. 

Over-revving is a common problem that car owners face. So, what causes it? And more importantly, how can you fix it? In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the most common reasons for an over-revving engine and what you can do to correct the problem.

Possible Reasons for an Over-Revving Engine

why does my car keep over revving
Photo by: Wikimedia Commons

There are a few different things that could be causing your engine to over-rev. However, here are some of the most common reasons.

Possible ReasonCauseSolutionEstimated Cost
Faulty Throttle BodyThe throttle body is not regulating air intake correctly.Check for signs of wear, leaks, or blockages. Clean the throttle body using a specialized cleaner.$50 – $150 (DIY) / $200 – $600 (Professional)
Malfunctioning Mass Airflow SensorThe sensor is sending incorrect air intake readings to the ECU.Ensure electrical connections to the sensor are secure. Clean the sensor with a specialized cleaner.$20 – $100 (DIY) / $200 – $300 (Professional)
Sticky Accelerator PedalThe pedal is not releasing properly, causing continuous acceleration.Lubricate the assembly with a silicone-based lubricant. If this doesn’t work, replace the assembly.$10 – $30 (DIY) / $100 – $200 (Professional)
Clutch SlippingThe clutch is not transmitting power from the engine to the wheels correctly.Adjust the clutch cable as per the vehicle’s manual. If the problem persists, replace the clutch.$10 – $30 (DIY) / $500 – $1200 (Professional)
Dirty or Clogged Air FilterThe air filter is not allowing enough air to reach the engine.Replace or clean the air filter regularly to ensure proper airflow to the engine.$10 – $50 (DIY) / $50 – $150 (Professional)
Faulty Fuel InjectorsThe injectors are not delivering the correct amount of fuel to the engine.Have the fuel injectors cleaned or replaced by a professional mechanic.$50 – $200 (DIY) / $800 – $1500 (Professional)
Malfunctioning Engine Control Unit (ECU)The ECU is not regulating the engine’s operations correctly.Have the ECU checked and, if necessary, reprogrammed or replaced by a professional mechanic.$200 – $400 (DIY) / $500 – $1500 (Professional)

Throttle Body

A faulty or damaged throttle body is one of the most common reasons for an over-revving engine. The throttle body is responsible for controlling the amount of air that enters the engine. If it’s not functioning properly, too much air can enter the engine, causing it to over-rev.

Mass Airflow Sensor

Another possibility is a faulty mass airflow sensor. This sensor is responsible for measuring the amount of air entering the engine so that the correct amount of fuel can be injected. If it’s not working properly, it can also cause your car to over-rev. 

Accelerator Pedal

Another possibility is a sticking accelerator pedal. If your accelerator pedal gets stuck in one position, it can cause your car to over-rev. This is usually caused by a broken or damaged spring in the accelerator pedal assembly. 


Finally, an over-revving engine can also be caused by a slipping clutch. If your clutch is slipping, it’s not transferring power from the engine to the wheels as efficiently as it should be. This can cause your car to rev excessively without actually going anywhere. 

Fixing an Over-Revving Engine Problem

rev counter and speedometer
Photo by: Pixabay

If your car has been over-revving, you can do a few things to try and fix the problem yourself.

Check The Throttle Body

First, check all the vacuum lines leading to and from the throttle body for any cracks or leaks. If you find any leaks, use duct tape or other appropriate materials to seal them up until you can get them replaced by a professional mechanic. 

Check The Mass Airflow Sensor

Next, check all electrical connections to and from the mass airflow sensor. Make sure that they are all tight and secure. If they are loose, tighten them up yourself or take your car to a mechanic so they can do it for you. 

Check The Accelerator

If you think your accelerator pedal may be sticking, try spraying some WD-40 or another lubricant onto the assembly. This may help free up any stuck parts and fix your problem. If not, you may need to replace the entire accelerator pedal assembly. 

Check The Clutch

If you think your clutch may be slipping, try adjusting the clutch cable. You can find the adjustment nut above the clutch on most cars. If this doesn’t fix the problem, you may need to replace the clutch entirely. 

Get Help From A Professional

If all else fails, or if you’re not comfortable working on your car, take it to a professional mechanic and have them diagnose and fix the problem for you.

The Consequences Of An Over-Revving Engine

over-revving can cause engine damage
Photo by: Pixabay

An engine that is over-revved can suffer from several problems. The first is that it can cause the engine to overheat. When an engine overheats, the metal components expand and can cause the engine to seize. This can lead to serious damage and even failure of the engine.

Additionally, over-revving can cause excessive wear on the engine components, leading to premature failure. Finally, over-revving can stress the drivetrain, leading to component failures and potentially expensive repairs.

As a result, it is important to take care of any over-revving issues as soon as possible to avoid serious consequences.


Why Is My Car Over Revving When I Accelerate?

If your car is over-revving when you accelerate, it could be due to a transmission, engine, or fuel system problem. In some cases, it may be caused by a buildup of carbon deposits on the valves. Sometimes, over-revving can also be caused by a sticking throttle. If unsure of what’s causing the problem, take your car to a mechanic for a diagnostic test. They can determine what’s causing the problem and recommend the best course of action.

Why Is My Car Revving High But Not Accelerating?

If your car is revving high but not accelerating, it could signal that the engine is not getting enough air. The most common cause of this problem is a dirty air filter. Another possibility is that the throttle body is dirty. Either way, the solution is to clean the air filter or throttle body. However, if the problem persists after these components have been cleaned, it could be a sign of a more serious issue, such as a fuel injection problem.

Can High RPM Damage My Engine?

In a healthy engine, high RPMs are not generally harmful; revving the engine occasionally can help keep it running smoothly. However, frequently running an engine at its maximum capacity can cause components to wear out prematurely. Additionally, if an engine is not in good condition, high RPMs can cause serious damage. So while it’s true that high RPMs can damage an engine, in most cases, it’s nothing to worry about. However, keep an eye on your engine’s performance, and don’t push it too hard for too long.

What does over revving do?

Over-revving occurs when the engine operates beyond its designated redline limit, which is usually depicted as the last segment on your tachometer. Continual over-revving can cause excessive wear and tear on engine components, leading to premature failures and potentially expensive repairs. In severe cases, over-revving can cause the engine to overheat, leading to component expansions, which may result in a seized engine.

Therefore, understanding the reasons for an over-revving engine and resolving them promptly can help prevent serious engine damage and maintain the longevity of your vehicle.

Can you over rev an automatic car?

Yes, it is possible to over-rev an automatic car, though it is less common compared to manual cars due to the design of automatic transmissions. In automatic vehicles, the transmission is designed to shift gears on its own once a certain RPM is reached.

However, certain conditions, such as a malfunctioning transmission, a faulty throttle, or issues with the vehicle’s computer system, can cause the engine to over-rev. If you notice your automatic car revving high without corresponding acceleration, it’s crucial to seek professional help to diagnose and rectify the problem, thereby preventing potential engine damage.

How do you rev a car without damaging it?

Revving a car, when done properly, can actually be beneficial for the engine. It can help clear out carbon deposits from the engine and exhaust system. However, to rev a car without damaging it, make sure the engine is at its operating temperature.

Cold revving, or revving the engine immediately after it starts, can cause damage. Also, avoid exceeding the redline limit on the tachometer, as consistently high RPMs can lead to engine wear and potential damage. Always remember, regular maintenance is key to keeping your engine healthy and efficient. If you notice any unusual behavior like over-revving, consult with a trusted mechanic as soon as possible to address the issue.


An over-revving engine can be scary, but luckily there are a few things you can do to try and fix the problem yourself before taking it to a mechanic.

In this blog post, we’ve gone over some of the most common reasons for an over-revving engine and what you can do about it. So next time your car starts acting up, you’ll have a little more knowledge about what could be wrong and how to fix it.

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