I recently bought a toyota corolla 2011 s from a local dealer with 80,000 miles on it. In my test drive everything seemed normal and was satisfied with the deal. But on a recent trip when i actually drove this on international highway my car seem to have some problems.

Once i reach 45 mph the car doesn't seem to accelerate the way it should.

No matter how hard you go on the gas pedal the acceleration is dead slow.

I don't see RPM's going up as well.

When using cruise control and pulling the lever for acceleration RPM goes all the way up giving a sudden push to reach the desired speed.

What could be the problem and how much is the damage?

  • What gear are you in when trying this? Which transmission does the car have? – Nate Eldredge Jul 9 '14 at 4:39
  • Its automatic transmission – Gaurav Jul 9 '14 at 22:37

"When using cruise control and pulling the lever for acceleration RPM goes all the way up giving a sudden push to reach the desired speed."

That's an important characteristic. That means one of two things: Either (a) your accelerator cable is running into an obstruction that prevents it from opening the throttle further or else (b) (if that car happens to be fly-by-wire) you've got an electronic malfunction of some sort - throttle position sensor, throttle control stepper motor, throttle control module, something like that.

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  • Thanks. What kind of inspection do you suggest. I know there are like 60 point ,20 point inspections etc. – Gaurav Aug 8 '14 at 18:55
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    Wow - good question, one I've never thought about before. I've never had anyone else do any repairs on my vehicles, and I don't know what N-point inspections entail. I... probably wouldn't suggest any "canned" inspection checklist, just specifically checking for these particular issues. A GOOD mechanic should be able to check these things individually without a checklist... and I'd imagine the kids with N-point checklists to be pretty unimaginative. – TDHofstetter Aug 8 '14 at 20:05
  • Thanks for the suggestion. I have an appointment scheduled with the local dealer here. Marking this an answer. – Gaurav Aug 9 '14 at 14:24

Is there a MIL (check engine light)?. To me, it sounds like the car is in failsafe / limp home mode.

In limp home mode, speed and RPM are both drastically reduced to... you guessed it... limp home in the event of a serious car malfunction. I have seen the SRS (aka airbag) light cause this as well, but in that instance it was after the airbags had deployed.

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  • Thanks for the reply Nick. But i don't see MIL or any other indicators. I haven't heard of the limp home mode before but i googled it and can tell that its not the case. I was able to speed up to 90mph its just that it doesn't accelerate the way it should. – Gaurav Jul 8 '14 at 23:09

You may want to check to see if your vehicle has what is called a GOVERNOR switch. Did you purchase the car new or used? if you bought it used, did it come from a rental lot? Rental lots used to put Govern controlers on their vehicles to keep them from speeding. The Governor Control can be adjusted to allow more Throttle freedom for acceleration. Speed Govern Controls were used by choice of trucking business owners to keep their trucks from speeding to avoid accidents that always incurred more expenses on the company's finances. Hope this information was of some help to you. You just might have a bad Torque Converter inside your Transmission. If you DIY, this is really not a difficult fix if you have the time, tools, and ability to follow directions by video

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  • 45 mph seems awfully slow for a governor setting. – Hobbes Sep 13 '16 at 8:35

I've had something similar happen once, bought a secondhand car and couldn't get it above 120 km/h on the test drive. Went back to the dealer, they told me the previous owner had only used the car for short trips and the engine was coked up. A longer drive, allowing the engine to warm up thoroughly, cleared it up. But I'd recommend having a mechanic check the car first, in case @TDHofstetter is correct and the problem is more serious.

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