What does RPM mean?

RPM stands for revolutions per minute. In vehicles, it describes the number of times the crankshaft rotates around its axis every minute. When combustion occurs in the engine, the pistons move up and down. The energy of these pistons moving is transferred into the crankshaft.

If you wish to drive conservatively, it is best to keep your engine RPM as low as possible. Driving at a higher RPM will demand more fuel / emissions and cause the engine to work harder. 


How to tell when your RPM is higher than normal

  • Familiarize yourself with your vehicle’s normal RPM range: Every vehicle has a specific RPM range that is considered normal for various driving conditions. This information can usually be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual or by consulting the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Listen for unusual engine sounds: Higher RPMs may be accompanied by unusual engine noises, such as revving sounds, whining, or excessive engine vibration. If you notice any of these abnormal sounds, it could be an indication that the engine RPM is higher than normal.
  • Pay attention to abnormal RPM fluctuations: If you notice a consistent increase in the RPM beyond the normal range for a given driving condition, it may indicate a problem. For example, if the RPM is unusually high when idling or excessively high during normal cruising, it could be a sign of an issue.


Causes of high engine RPM while driving

Sometimes, a problem in your vehicle can cause your engine’s RPM to reach a higher level than normal. This can affect fuel consumption by putting more strain on your engine. Below are some common causes of high RPm:


1. Transmission fluid problemstransmission fluid

In automatic vehicles, transmission fluid is used to carry power from the engine to the transmission. It is also used to lubricate the various parts of your transmission system.  If the transmission fluid begins to leak, your car will start to rev to higher levels (due to torque converter or gearbox band slippage). This may be accompanied by delayed or erratic gear shifts.

2. Worn/slipping clutch

In manual vehicles, the clutch interacts with your transmission system, allowing you to change gears. A slipping clutch will cause the engine to rev higher as the transmission struggles to work correctly. 

If your clutch is slipping, the clutch pedal will take much less pressure to engage. A slipping clutch will also cause your vehicle to lose power and struggle to stay up to speed. 

3. Faulty speed sensor

Automatic vehicles use speed sensors to determine when the gear should be shifted up or down. In the event that a speed sensor doesn’t work correctly, your car might not shift gears when it needs to. This can cause high RPM as the engine has to work harder.

4. Faulty idle control valve

If your car has high RPM while idling, it can be attributed to a problem with the idle control valve. This valve helps the car to maintain a specific RPM while idling. This idle control valve also has a fuse which if blown, will stop the valve from working altogether. 

5. Stuck throttle

A stuck throttle occurs when the throttle mechanism fails to close properly, causing the engine to rev higher than normal. This can happen due to a stuck throttle cable, a malfunctioning throttle position sensor (TPS), or a sticky throttle body.

6. Faulty idle control system

If the idle control system malfunctions, it may fail to regulate the engine’s idle speed properly, resulting in higher RPMs. This can be caused by a faulty idle air control valve (IACV), a malfunctioning throttle body, or a problem with the engine control unit (ECU) that controls the idle speed.


High engine RPM – Inspection & Diagnostics in Hamilton

Is your engine revving too high while driving causing you to use too much fuel and create too much pollution/emissions? If so, we can diagnose and fix the problem for you.

At Grimmer Motors, we are experienced in all clutch, automatic transmission, and engine-related issues. This allows us to quickly determine the source of problems and provide excellent diagnostics and servicing.

For a reputable, effective solution to your high engine RPM problem, contact Grimmer Motors today!

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