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Why does my RPM go up and down while driving?

My car has been acting weird lately. I’ll be driving normally and the RPM will be all over the place—even though I’m not changing anything! Why does my RPM go up and down while driving?

avatar
Brittni Brinn · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Here are some possible reasons your RPM is going up and down while driving:
  • Worn-out
    spark plugs
  • Vacuum leaks
  • Bad idle air control valve
  • Malfunctioning throttle pedal position sensor
  • Issues with the transmission
It will be a quick fix if it’s something like worn-out spark plugs. However, a fluctuating RPM could indicate a more serious problem with your fuel or transmission systems. 
It’s best to take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible so the problem doesn’t get worse.
MORE: Should you take your car to a repair shop or a mobile mechanic?
View full answer 
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