13 Reasons And Solutions For Car Jerks When Accelerating

When a car starts jerking as you accelerate it, there is undoubted that it’s usually a sign of an impending issue. However, sometimes car jerks when accelerating is a common problem faced by several car owners. But don’t worry because this symptom also has a solution like other car problems.

Car Jerks When Accelerating – Reasons & Solutions

You must be aware of all the feasible reasons behind the problem in accelerating before jumping to the solution. The car jerking problem happens to be an issue common in both manual and automatic cars.

what does it mean when your car jerks
What does it mean when your car jerks? (Photo: Car Throttle)

1. Polluted air filter

What does it mean when your car jerks? Air filters keep the car away from the road pollutants such as dirt, debris, and other things that contaminate the engine. Over time, filters are susceptible to accumulating obstructions and build-ups. In addition to pollutants, dirty air filters are also the cause of inefficient fuel combustion.

Therefore, you should wipe those off and then check to make sure the symptom will not happen again. For example, Toyota Camry is said that sometimes jerk when accelerating and the most common reason behind is air filter pollution. Furthermore, some people think that Toyota Camry is a bit sluggish when accelerating from a lower speed, so notice to accelerate from a standstill.

2. Damaged fuel pipes

The primary job of fuel pipes is transferring fuel from one section of the engine to another. It is possible that a car jerks when accelerating due to broken fuel pipes. In fact, the situation may even get worse and cause a fire in the car. Usually, it gets difficult for the car to accelerate due to disruption in fuel transfer. The internal combustion is susceptible to other major issues, once a fuel pipe leaks.

To deal with this problem, check for leaks that may be chewed off by rats. Moreover, owners of old cars should pay attention to this issue because they are likely to have a faulty flue line.

3. Damaged carburetor

car jerks when accelerating
A damaged carburetor looks like this. (Photo: YouTube)

The carburetor blends and regulates the right amount of fuel and air as it goes into the engine cylinders for appropriate fuel combustion. A damaged carburetor is responsible for the poor performance of the car as well.

Like a dirty air filter, an improper carburetor also causes a car to jerk as it disturbs the fuel-air mixture balance. If you figure out an issue with the carburetor, check the fuel inlet, throttle lever, idle jet, or throttle valve.

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4. Accumulated moisture in the distributor cap

The weather is also one of the major reasons why a car jerks when accelerating. Obviously, it usually occurs during the winter with very low temperatures when you park your car outside. Moisture gathering in your car’s distributor cap can cause the car to jerk and lead your engine to misfire while you accelerate.

The solution here is quite simple: prevent parking cars in a cold and wet place and try to find a warmer spot instead.

5. Polluted injection system, fuel tank, and filter

Gunk or dirt can cause severe problems to your car. A polluted fuel tank, filter, or injection system can cause a car to jerk very easily. It disturbs the flow and supply of the fuel into the engine. Furthermore, insufficient fuel in the car causes it to jerk as you accelerate the car.

Nevertheless, it isn’t too hard to fix and you don’t need to hire someone to do it. You can buy a special kit solely for injectors in the local hardware store or online and clean that area carefully. It is also advised that you should do it regularly to make sure your engine doesn’t get clogged up with dust and dirt.

6. Poor engine tuning or blockage in the engine

If everything comes clean, you must check your engine. Basically, engine tuning involves nothing more than adjusting a vehicle’s engine as well as the fuel system. Effective engine tuning boosts your car’s performance and eliminates the car’s jerking.

Besides poor engine tuning, one of the most frequent reasons for a car jerking when you accelerate is a blockage in the engine. Jerking happens as gasses are not coming out of it when they are supposed to. In addition, you should not ignore the “Check Engine” light” in your car, especially when it is blinking. This problem occasionally happens in Honda Accord and Nissan Murano. In this case, sending the car to a professional mechanic to get it tuned or remove the blockage is the best solution.

car lurches when accelerating
Car lurches when accelerating. (Photo: Drive2)

7. Wrong alignment

Lastly, if your engine is good and none of the motors of the car is the problem, it might be that your car fails to react to pulling. Many car owners misunderstand that it jerks, but actually, it is just your car moving really slowly.

To address this, you have to check your tires to make sure that the pressure in them is done right. Besides, alignment of your car’s tire is needed if your car experienced some severe collisions.

8. Your skills with manual transmission

Car jerks when accelerating at low speeds are not something rare. If you have driven a stick shift car before or if your car has a manual transmission, you are sure to have experienced the car jerk followed by the engine stalling. This type of car jerk is very common in manual transmissions for those drivers who are just starting to learn how to drive.

In this case, it mostly happens when you are trying to shift from the neutral gear to the first gear when you continue after a pause in the middle of a slope. Of course, the solution is to practice your clutch foot and engine feel. Car jerks when accelerating from stop and car jerks when you press on the gas at the time when you try to start moving your car in the middle of a slope.

Below are the steps to practice but you should ask your driving teacher for further understanding if needed:

  • Press the clutch pedal down to the floor.
  • Move the stick into first gear and ease onto the gas pedal while at the same time slowly releasing the clutch pedal. Make sure to perform this transition smoothly, or else the car will jerk really fast.
  • Pay attention to the jerky motion of the car
  • Ease off the clutch and onto the gas when shifting gears.

9. Broken spark plugs

The spark plug’s function is to light up the combined fuel and air inside the engine, which causes the fuel and air mixture to combust and move the pistons. Therefore, fully functional spark plugs ensure the engine works efficiently. A faulty spark plug means a failed engine and a jerking car.

Spark plugs need to be replaced frequently. You may also need to check its wires for signs of wear and tear.

10. Broken ignition system

In case the spark plugs are freshly new and working well while their wires are all fine, it should be time to have your ignition system checked. Newer generation cars have engine computer-controlled ignition systems, which you will need to drive to your service center for a check-up.

11. Clogged catalytic converter

Your catalytic converter has the function of regulating the emissions that come out of your car. At times, the rich mixtures of air and fuel flowing through your catalytic converter can clog up. This clogging stuff can lead to a jerking or stuttering motion when you press the gas pedal.

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12. Drained acceleration cable

A car jerking may be a result of a very worn-out acceleration cable. You will notice some signals for this symptom such as your car taking excessive time to respond when you press the accelerator and start jerking. Another symptom is that if you take a look inside, the outer covering of the acceleration cable will be damaged.
The best you can do is to change the drained acceleration cable as soon as possible, as the car will jerk and stop at any moment if you leave it to break. Take the vehicle to a mechanic to solve the problem.

13. Motor winding

Engine winding can be another reason for car jerking. Wear of the engine’s winding is most likely to be caused by the heavily stressed engine – for example through hard acceleration. Signs for this are:

  • If there are more than one winding and one of them is broken, the car will jerk.
  • If there’s only one winding, the car will not start.

The use of an Ohmmeter is the only way to know this, so if you don’t have one, you should check with a mechanic to know if the motor winding is the reason your car is jerking.

Summing Up

These are reasons and solutions for car jerking while accelerating. So, keep trying to keep all parts of the engine clean and oil them regularly. This is one of the important maintenance tips you must know as a car owner. Also, your car jerks when accelerating due to engine problems, so the right gasoline usage for your car’s engine is for better functioning.