Car Jerks When Accelerating: Causes And How To Fix It

Brandon Trenton

Updated on:

Why your car jerks when accelerating

Experiencing a car jerk while speeding can destroy your mood as well as the thrilling ride. It can happen unexpectedly, anywhere, and anytime. It becomes scary if you lose control of your car. Once you find yourself in this situation, don’t neglect it at all. It could be a sign indicating a problem in your spark plug or other important parts of your vehicle.

In case you go through this situation, let’s move forward to read more about it to be in control.  

How Would You Feel If Your Car Jerks While Accelerating?

First off, how would you know if this is happening to you? If you haven’t experienced it before, then it can leave you wondering what in the world just happened. It’s important for you to know how it would feel in your jerks while accelerating. Let’s discuss how it feels when a car jerks while accelerating at high and low speed.

You will feel like your car engine isn’t getting enough power that it needs to move forward when it jerks. Pressing your foot against the gas wouldn’t even help, and it will stop then and there. Then, within a few moments, it will lunge forward. It will take place in a series. If you are trying to speed up from stopping them, the jerk won’t allow you to accelerate. If you are already in the process, then the car jerks will make it difficult to maintain a steady speed regardless of the speed you are driving at.

Now you have a clear picture of why it could get scary to drive while your car is jerking. You would soon end up losing your control, and a car behind you can slam into you. You will go through this again and again until you drive your car to the mechanic and find out the root cause.

Reasons Why Your Car Jerks When Accelerating

One of the leading causes behind car jerks while the acceleration is engine misfiring. There can be a number of other feasible reason behind it.

1. Failing Spark Plugs

If the spark plug in your car is old, then it can give you a hard time while igniting the fuel inside the piston cylinder. This results in the misfiring of your engine, and you will experience car jerks as you speed up.

2. Clogged Fuel Injectors

The role of the car injector is to supply a steady stream of fuel to the engine. However, the function it performs, it can get dirty over time. The rate at which they transfer the fuel becomes slow, and your engine is unable to get enough fuel. This results in engine misfiring and ultimately jerks during acceleration.

3. Faulty Sensor

It requires more than a car engine and fuel to run on wheels. The air mixes with the fuel to keep the piston in the right position to keep the car moving. If you have clogged or faulty air sensors, the engine wouldn’t get the air it needs and misfires. This will, in turn, result in acceleration.

4. Damp Distribution Text

If you don’t keep a check on the distribution cap, it develops moisture inside it. The moisture buildup inside the distribution cap compromises the spark, causing the engine to misfire and stopping your car from accelerating without a jerk.

5. Blocked Catalytic Converter

The function of a catalytic converter is to reduce the emissions produced by your car. Sometimes, the mixture of air and fuel moving through the catalytic converter cause it to clog. This results in car jerks.

6. Broken Accelerator Cable

Your gas pedal and throttle plate have a cable running in between that is called accelerator cable. It opens the throttle plate upon pressing the gas pedal. The cable can degenerate and even break over time. If your car starts taking a long time to accelerate and jerk, then this is the sign of broken accelerator cable.

7. Transmission Problems

  • If you are new at driving a manual transmission car and experiencing jerks, then the problem isn’t your car. Your driving style could be the cause behind your car jerks all the time. This happens because you are unable to shift your vehicle from one gear to another correctly. The only way to stop this jerking is to learn how to shift your car properly.
  • If you have a car with automatic transmission and it firsts hesitates and then jerks while often accelerating, then there can be a bigger problem from your side.

There can be a lot of reasons behind a car jerking while accelerating. All you have to do is to check for everything to narrow down the list and reach the real cause in order to fix this issue.

Frequently Asked Questions About Why A Car Jerks While Accelerating

With No Check Engine Light:

Most of the driver tends to ignore their car jerks during acceleration if the “check engine” light is not on. You can do so in some cases, and it doesn’t cause you any harm. If there is a problem in sensor airflow or catalytic converter, the light comes on.

However, if it doesn’t, then this situation doesn’t exclude the problem. Light doesn’t come on with worn-out spark plugs. However, you don’t have to rush to the mechanic to get it changed. You should only rush if you see that “check engine” light on.    

With Automatic Transmission:

Most drivers start to panic if their car starts jerking during acceleration as they think it to be an issue with the vehicle transmission. However, this is not true. It could be anything from the above-listed concerns. Sometimes, it is actually a faulty transmission control module or solenoid. If this part becomes faulty, then the cat starts to jerk between switching the gears.

On High Speeds:

It’s difficult to keep control of your at high speed, especially if it’s jerking. If you are going through this problem, then you have to address it today or tomorrow. No one would like to put themselves or their loved ones at risk by driving an out of control vehicle. Most of the time, it happens when the fuel there is an issue in the sensor airflow. Your car needs the blocked air intake cleared or the faulty mass airflow sensor to be replaced.

On Low Speeds:

Already starting your day slowly and your car starts jerking, this is something that can frustrate you from the moment you turn it on. Even if you pull it out of the driveway, this can cause the car to start jerking. Most of the time, it’s the spark plug behind jerking. A fine tune-up can help you get rid of it. This could also result from an air intake system or catalytic converter.

From a Stop:

What can make your day bad while stopping at a gas station for a few seconds? Yes, those jerks! You would panic, stopping on a red light or stop sign. It can be frustrating and dangerous at the same time if someone is right behind you on the wheels, and you don’t realize the car jerks.  

Mostly, car jerks while accelerating from stop results from dirty fuel injectors or if the injectors are completely blocked. Both conditions stop the fuel from getting inside the car’s engine, which makes your car jerk. You will find your car jerking while you’re idling and accelerating after being on stop for a while.

Fixing The Issue Of Car Jerk While Accelerating

Remember, never ignore the jerks. It’s not safe to drive a car that keeps on jerking during acceleration. You need to take this car immediately to the auto shop near you to get it inspected. You should book an appointment as soon as possible and get it fixed.

The fixing cost depends upon the reason behind the problem and how many fixes does it require. If you replace a spark plug, it will cost you between $50 and $150. If you replace the air intake system, it will cost you between $150 and $500. If you replace the mass airflow sensor, it will cost you between $275 and $400. If you replace accelerator cable, it will cost you between $100 and $375. If you replace the catalytic converter, it will cost you between $1,000 and $2,500.

The cost might vary upon the type of vehicle you drive. The mechanic at the auto shop near you can give you a better breakup of the amount that you need to spend to get your car as good as new.

Is Selling A Car That Jerks While Accelerating A Good Idea?

If you are tired of driving your vehicle that jerks while accelerating and it has boiled you a thousand times by happening again and again, then you must be thinking to get rid of it. Of course, no one would like to risk their life or the lives of others, especially if this happens while speeding up.

If you own an old car, then spending money on the above-listed replacements or repairs is a bad idea. Selling your car would be a better option. You will at least get some of what you have already invested in.