Car Revs But Won’t Move: All Your Car’s Transmission Issues

Car revs but won’t move, a frustrating problem many car owners may face. It’s a situation where the engine revs up when you press the accelerator, but the vehicle doesn’t move forward or backward. 

This issue can occur in both manual and automatic transmissions, and it’s essential to identify the underlying cause to fix the problem promptly. 

In this article, we will explore the common reasons why your car revs but won’t move and provide some solutions to help you get your vehicle back on the road.

Car Revs But Won’t Move

6 Reasons Why Car Revs But Won’t Move

Car condition cannot appear in all cars, including luxury cars like Lexus Rx 350. 

Therefore, you need to have an understanding of the causes of this problem. This will help you to fix and limit the problem with your car. Here are 6 main reasons why car revs but won’t move.

Bad Engine Control Model

The poorly controlled motor is the first cause of the car starts but doesnt move appear. Sometimes this problem even makes your car stalls due to engine inefficiencies.

Current cars all use the engine control management unit ECU or the engine control module ECM. At this point, you need to maintain and update it in case it fails to function correctly.

Above all, you should bring your car to a car service center. Ask a technician for help, and they will help you find and fix the wrong part of the system.

Malfunctioning Throttle Body 

The throttle body is the next factor that causes this truck wont move in drive to appear. Currently, most new models use the electronically controlled throttle, which helps to manage the airflow into the engine effectively.

It is in the MAF engine block. The throttle system controls the engine’s speed, and it depends heavily on the computer, electronics, and machine.

During operation, the throttle activates the valve inside the car throttle body. It determines the amount of air that will be pumped into the engine. 

In addition, when this valve set opens, large amounts of air will enter the engine. It will create a significant power source by mixing fuel with air. Therefore, the more you press the gas, the more air will get inside.

However, if you start the car but the throttle part does not open, it may be stuck due to carbon deposits. 

At that time, the necessary amount of air entering the engine will not be enough, leading to a car running but wont move takes place.

Inaccurate Air/Fuel Ratio

The air/fuel mix ratio is the next factor that makes your car unable to move when the engine is running. Sometimes it can also appear car starts rough then smooths out. Whatever phenomenon it is, it will bring trouble for you.

When the air sensor is not working correctly due to carbon dust accumulation, the computer will quantify the star air/fuel ratio. 

From there, a series of unusual signs will appear on your car, including car revs but won’t move status.

Therefore, when you detect this condition in your car, you need to take your vehicle to the nearest car repair center. They will assist you with testing the air flow sensor and all the details that affect the mix ratio.

Old Transmission Fluid

One of the reasons that you will not be able to ignore when it comes to the condition of the car not running when the engine is spinning is old transmission fluid. Clean transmission oil is essential to every engine system, keeping your vehicle running smoothly. 

Over time, the transmission oil will appear with dirt and dust build-up. It will make the engine run slowly, you will only be able to accelerate in this case.

Listening is one of the simplest and most effective ways to identify old gear oil. When you hear a creaking sound, there is a good chance that the gear in the transmission has failed. It will cause the bags to not be in the correct gear position.

To fix it, you will need to replace the transmission gear. This task is not easy, and you can hardly do it yourself. Therefore, seek the help of a mechanic if you want to solve the problem of broken gears completely.

Bad Clutch Disc

If the car won’t rev up, then it most likely has a problem related to the clutch. The clutch disc is made from friction and steel plates. 

After a period of use, these disc sets will wear out and become less effective. When that happens, the proper pressure will not be able to apply to the gear properly.

In addition, if the gears are stuck or worn, you cannot move the car in this case. 

This situation warns you to replace the clutch disc with a new one. This part costs from $1200 to $1400, including a  $750 for repair and about  $500 for labor .

Gross Manifold Leak

Gross Manifold Leak is the ultimate cause of cars’ inability to move when pressing the gas. Although this phenomenon is uncommon, it can still happen; you should not ignore a manifold leak.

When there is too much additional air, it will pass through the leak leading to air in the cylinder due to the difference in proportions. 

At that time, the engine will run much slower and rougher. Finally, it will cause your car to fall into an unexpected stall.

So, facing the above 6 causes, how can you solve the Car Revs But Won’t Move status below?

What To Do When Car Revs But Won’t Accelerate

What To Do When Car Revs But Won’t Accelerate?

When your car can’t move when you try to shift into gear, it’s a sign that the car has a severe problem with the transmission. Whatever the cause, you can implement the fix by following the steps below:

  • Step 1: Make sure your car is working. Some cars can be so silent that you can’t detect whether the vehicle is operating.
  • Step 2: Release the brake in this case. Otherwise, the car will turn around but cannot move.
  • Step 3: Try to start your car. If the gear is the source of the problem, replace it with a new pack.
  • Step 4: Recheck the car. Suppose you don’t get any effect.

This job is not easy; you should ask for the help of a professional mechanic. It will help you to check and fix the problem most effectively.


Why won’t my car move when I press the gas?

After a period of use, the transmission fluid will accumulate dirt. It causes the car engine to work sluggishly, stall or not accelerate. You may need to change the transmission oil in this case.

Why is my car not responding when I accelerate?

One of the factors, such as dirty, clogged fuel filters and damaged injectors, is the cause of your car being unable to move. In this case, you must replace the fuel filter, a DIY activity.

What are the top 5 signs of transmission problems?

If the car has difficulty shifting gears, it comes from many different reasons:

  • Drag clutch
  • Liquid leak
  • Check engine lights
  • Sliding gears
  • Grind or shake


Hopefully, the article will help you better understand car revs but won’t move. There are many reasons why this happens. They are all problems that you need help with. 

Therefore, seek the help of professional mechanics. They will help you find the cause and fix it. You should not let this situation last too long because it can cause your car to stall.

Leave a Comment