Q:

What would make a car run well while idling but rough under heavy acceleration?

A:

Quick Answer

A faulty oxygen sensor can cause a car to accelerate roughly while under a heavy load. The oxygen sensors main purpose is to manage the air/fuel ratios inside of an engine. When the unit fails, the engine can run too lean, which causes the vehicle to have issues.

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Full Answer

The oxygen sensor is located on top of the exhaust pipe. When the exhaust gasses escape from the engine, the sensor reads its air/fuel ratio. The sensor then sends the information to the car's computer so it can adjust the fuel levels in the engine. Symptoms of a bad oxygen sensor also include lower than usual gas mileage, engine pinging or detonation, erratic engine idle, engine misfire and a clogged catalytic converter.

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