What Causes Your Car To Jerk

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There can be a number of issues related to what causes your car to jerk your car jerking as you drive including relating the make and model along with the age and number of miles on the car. If you have a newer car, it is likely that something related to the fuel injectors or sensors is going on. If your car is older, it could be an issue with the spark plugs or wires

Regardless of the age or model of your car, if you’re noticing that it’s jerking as you drive, it’s important to take it in for a tune-up and check-up as soon as possible. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse and could eventually lead to engine damage. 

Also Read: Why is my Car Sputters When Accelerating

If you’re not sure what’s causing your car to jerk, the best thing to do is take it in for a professional inspection. A qualified mechanic will be able to diagnose and fix the problem quickly so you can get back on the road.

10 Common Causes Why Car Jerks When Accelerating

The following are the ten most common reasons why a car jerks when accelerating:

1. Dirty Fuel Injectors

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One of the more common reasons a car will jerk when accelerating is due to dirty fuel injectors. Over time, the injectors can become clogged with dirt and debris, which can cause them to malfunction. When this happens, they will not be able to properly deliver fuel to the engine, causing it to run lean, jerk, and even stall.

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2. Worn Out Spark Plugs

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The spark plugs are responsible for igniting the fuel in the engine, and if they are not working properly, the engine will not run as efficiently. In some cases, you may be able to clean the spark plugs and get them working again. However, in most cases, it is best to just replace them.

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3. Dirty Air Filters

Air filters need to be replaced regularly, and if they are not, they can become clogged with dirt and debris. This can restrict airflow to the engine, causing it to jerk. You can try cleaning the air filter, but in most cases, it is best to just replace it.

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4. Damaged Cylinders

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The engine cylinders can become damaged over time, and when this happens, they will not be able to properly compress the air-fuel mixture as it is supposed to. In some cases, the cylinders can be repaired, but the engine block will need to be replaced if they are too damaged.

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5. Clogged Catalytic Converters

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An exhaust system is responsible for removing harmful gases from the engine, and the catalytic converter is a key component of this system. However, if the converter becomes clogged, it can restrict airflow and cause the engine to jerk.

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6. Damaged Gas Lines

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Fuel is delivered to the engine via a series of gas lines, and if any of these lines are damaged, it can cause a leak. This will not only cause the engine to run lean, but it can also cause it to jerk.

7. Damaged Acceleration Cables

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The pedal that you press to accelerate is connected to the engine via a series of cables. If any of these cables are damaged or frayed, they may get caught on something or have increased friction, which can cause the engine to jerk as you press the pedal.

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8. Defective Mass Airflow Sensor

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A MAF sensor is responsibly responsible for measuring the amount of air that is entering the engine. If this sensor is defective, it can cause the engine to run the wrong ratio of air to fuel, resulting in improper combustion and a jerking engine.

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9. Moisture on the Distributor Cap

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The distributor cap is responsible for delivering electricity to the spark plugs. If this cap becomes wet, it can cause a short circuit or interfere, which can result in the engine jerking.

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10. Malfunctioning Transmission Control Module

When the transmission control module (TCM) malfunctions, it can cause the transmission to shift erratically. This can lead to the engine jerking as you try to accelerate.

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Car Jerks When Pulling Away

This is most likely due to a problem with the engine, such as dirty fuel injectors, worn-out spark plugs, or a damaged cylinder. It is also possible that there is something wrong with the transmission, such as a defective transmission control module. If your car jerks when pulling away, the best thing to do is take it in for a professional inspection.

Car Juddering When Idle

On idle, your car is running at a lower RPM, which means that there is less power going to the engine. If your car is juddering when idle, it could be due to a problem with the engine, such as dirty fuel injectors or a damaged cylinder. If your car judders when idle, the best thing to do is take it in for a professional inspection.


There are many possible causes of engine jerk, and some of them are more serious than others, such as damage to the cylinders or a defective transmission control module. This can lead to the engine shifting erratically.

If your car is jerking, the best thing to do is take it in for a professional inspection to diagnose and repair the problem. Ignoring the problem could result in further damage to the engine or transmission.

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