I've recently bought an EOS Rebel XS and it has worked great for me over the last few months but recently it has started giving me trouble with an inconsistent shutter delay. Sometimes 2-3 seconds, sometimes none at all. I like to shoot photography of Motorsports so this is very inconvenient. I'm sure it's not set for a shutter delay and it is on automatic. Can you help please?
If you are using the default "one shot" shooting mode then the delay is likely caused by the camera's inability to lock focus on a rapidly moving subject (especially if lighting conditions are poor.)
For conditions where the distance from camera to subject is changing, you want to switch to "AI Servo" focus mode (which continuously adjusts focus.) That focus mode WILL take the shot instantly when you fully press the shutter (no matter what). But be warned... it will do this EVEN if it hasn't achieved focus.
Some lenses such as the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 or EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 or EF 75-300mm lenses that don't use the USM (or even STM) focus motors may have difficulty focusing quickly enough (the focus motors are not very fast). By the time the focus motor moves the lens to the new focus distance, the subject has changed distance. Lenses that use USM focus motors will tend to be the fastest to lock focus (but it varies from lens to lens. Some USM lenses are noticeable faster than others.)