Car Jerks when Accelerating

Car Jerks when Accelerating [Causes & Fixes]

Car Jerks when Accelerating

It can be quite dangerous for your automobile to jolt as you accelerate, especially while entering a motorway. If a car is acting jerkily, the problem must be fixed immediately to avoid worsening. But why does a car act this way?

When an engine misfires, the car twitches when accelerating. When one of the parts that supplies your engine with air or fuel is broken or unclean, misfiring frequently happens. The most frequent offenders are malfunctioning fuel injectors, worn-out spark plugs, or clogged air filters.

This post will go over several possible causes and what you should do to resolve the problem.

What Makes the Car Jerk When Accelerating

An interruption in the fuel or air supply that results in engine misfiring is the most frequent reason why an automobile jerks when accelerating. A misfire in an engine occurs when one or more cylinders are unable to generate power for reasons as simple as moisture or dirt in an engine component.

You anticipate the engine to respond by accelerating you to the desired speed when you press the accelerator. If the car loses power during this process, the car may jerk and the acceleration may be slowed down. A jerky car is dangerous and annoying to drive, so it must be rectified right away.

Let’s look at the likely reasons a car jerks when accelerating.

Unclean or defective fuel injectors

The intake manifold receives fuel from the fuel injector so that fuel and air can mix together. The engine is then powered by compression of the air-fuel combination in the combustion chamber.

A filthy or malfunctioning fuel injector won’t provide enough fuel to establish a balanced air-fuel combination, which will result in the engine misfiring. A misfiring engine will make the vehicle splutter and have an impact on the acceleration’s consistency and rate.

Outdated spark plugs

Since they are in charge of lighting the fuel in each cylinder during the combustion process, spark plugs are essential parts. In essence, the explosion that powers the engine is produced by spark plugs.

Because a filthy or worn-out spark plug won’t provide a good spark, the gasoline in the cylinders won’t ignite at the proper moment, resulting in an irregular engine firing and uneven power delivery.

The distributor is wet

Following a predetermined firing order with exact timing, a distributor is responsible for feeding the spark plugs with a high voltage current from the ignition coil. Long-term parking in a chilly environment might result in moisture building up under the distributor cap.

Fuel may not ignite at the appropriate time as a result of the distributor malfunctioning due to moisture. The engine will misfire due to poor timing, which can cause jerking when accelerating at low speeds.

Clogged catalytic converter

The hazardous poisons from an engine are converted into harmless gases by a catalytic converter. It differs from the other parts because it doesn’t supply fuel or give air to the engine.

Rich air-fuel mixtures or oil entering the exhaust system might block a catalytic converter. These impurities may eventually transform into soot and obstruct a catalytic converter’s airways.

When a catalytic converter’s airflow becomes constrained, it can slow down the engine’s response time and make the car shudder when accelerating.

Mass airflow sensor defective

The fuel injection system of a car includes a mass airflow (MAF) sensor, which determines how much air is injected into the engine. It transmits such data to the computer so the fuel injectors may deliver the proper fuel dosage at the appropriate moment to create a balanced air-fuel combination.

Consider a malfunctioning or dirty MAF sensor. In that situation, it won’t be able to determine how much air is entering the engine with sufficient accuracy, and the computer won’t be able to determine how much fuel the injectors should be supplying. Poor power delivery will be the result of a malfunctioning MAF sensor, especially at higher speeds.

Bad fuel filter or fuel pump

Fuel is moved from the gas tank to the injectors by a fuel pump. The gasoline filter traps dirt, corrosion, and other pollutants to keep the fuel flowing smoothly through the engine and to keep the fuel pump and injectors clean.

Fuel pressure will increase as a result of a malfunctioning fuel pump since it won’t supply the proper volume of fuel to the injectors, which might cause a car to jerk. Also, driving the car will become slow, making it difficult to rev it up to its redline.

Compressed fuel lines

Fuel lines carry fuel from the tank to the engine. Since rubber makes up the majority of fuel lines, it is susceptible to wear and tear over time.

The automobile will jolt if one of the fuel lines is punctured because it will lose pressure. A fuel line leak must be fixed immediately since it could start a fire.

Unclean air filter

An air filter prevents dust, debris, insects, and other contaminants from entering the engine. Additionally, it aids in ensuring that the engine receives enough air to permit effective functioning.

A dirty air filter may prevent the engine from getting the required airflow it needs to function properly. A car requires air to run just as much as it needs fuel. The machine’s performance may be impacted if the air filter is compromised and allows dirt and particles to enter. If the damage is severe enough, it can even harm the engine.

When accelerating, if your automobile jerks, see if the air filter needs to be cleaned or replaced.

Accelerator cable damage

The throttle body of modern vehicles receives information about how hard you press the accelerator by using drive-by-wire technology. In older vehicles, a cable opens the throttle as you press all the way down on the gas pedal.

Because it is composed of braided metal, the accelerator cable is susceptible to wear and tear. When you press the gas pedal, the engine may react differently if the cable is damaged because the throttle plate may not open as it should, which could cause the vehicle to jerk.

Fixing a Car that Jerks when Accelerating

Do not rush to a mechanic right away if your automobile jerks whenever you press the gas pedal. Cleaning your car’s components before taking it to the shop will help you avoid costly repairs for the most frequent reasons of jerking.

Car Jerks when Accelerating

If your automobile jerks while you accelerate, you can:

  • Get your fuel injectors clean.
  • Spark plugs must be cleaned.
  • Ensure that the distributor is dry.
  • Replace or clean your air filter.
  • Mass airflow sensor cleaning

Let’s look at the solutions in detail.

Fix fuel injectors

Your injectors may be cleaned in a number of ways, some of which don’t even require a professional.

Utilizing a commercial fuel injector cleaner is the simplest approach to cleaning your injectors. When the gasoline is virtually empty, you merely need to pour the cleaner into the tank before adding petrol. As you drive, the cleaner’s additives and detergents clean the injectors.

It is better to use a fuel injector cleaning as a preventative maintenance measure. You might need to utilize a fuel injector cleaning kit to deal with clogged injectors. Watch Scotty Kilmer’s YouTube video for step-by-step instructions on how to use a fuel injector cleaning kit.

Water-proof the spark plugs

It may be preferable to replace your spark plugs if they cause your automobile to jerk. In the meantime, you can attempt to clean the spark plugs to try to solve the problem.

The high-tension wires on the cylinder head must be removed in order to gain access to the spark plugs for cleaning. It is best to clean each spark plug individually because doing so makes it more difficult to figure out how to put everything back together and increases the likelihood that dirt or debris will fall into the plug holes.

Using a spark plug socket, remove the spark plugs. To make removing spark plugs simpler, the EPAuto spark plug socket (Amazon) can swivel and has a built-in magnet.

For more difficult deposits, use a file or 220-grit sandpaper to clean the spark plug tip. Cleaning the carburetor with a spray can help. Before reinstalling the spark plugs, dry them off and clean the threads with a wire brush.

Dry the distributor

By leaving your automobile parked in the sun, you can eliminate moisture from the distributor. However, you can also clean the distributor if you require a more urgent solution.

Remove the screw and cap from the distributor, then use the screwdriver to clear any powdery buildup from the contact point. Spray WD-40 or another penetrating oil on the interior tips, then use a rug or a blower to dry it off.

Replace or clean your air filter

If you are unable to change the unclean air filter that is jerking your car, you might attempt to clean it to fix the problem.

The air filter is in a plastic container with a tube connecting it to your intake manifold. If you have problems finding it, consult your owner’s manual. When you’ve located the air filter, you can get rid of it by releasing the box’s clamps.

A vacuum or blower can be used to remove loose debris and dust from the air filter. Moving it back and forth in a pail of water with a cleaning solution will help you give it a more thorough cleaning. Before reinstalling the air filter, ensure it is fully dry because an engine shouldn’t absorb water.

Mass airflow sensor clean

The MAF sensor is located on your car’s intake and typically follows the box that holds your air filter. Start by unplugging the electrical harness that is attached to the MAF sensor, and then unclamp the airbox where your air filter is located. To separate the airbox and MAF sensor from the air intake tube, loosen the hose clamp.

The metal wire and resistor can be cleaned after removal by spraying a mass airflow sensor cleaner on them. Before reinstalling it, give it about 10 minutes to dry.

Use only a mass airflow sensor cleaning because a MAF sensor’s components are sensitive to other cleaners.

Matter that needs professional assistance

Unfortunately, not all of the issues that can cause your automobile to jerk while accelerating can be resolved by a do-it-yourself method.

If you believe any of the following malfunctioning parts are to blame for your car’s jerky motion, it’s recommended to take it to an auto repair shop and speak with a mechanic:

  • Converter Catalytic
  • Fuel Filter or Fuel Pump
  • Energy Lines Cable for Accelerator

These pieces, in addition to being delicate and difficult to access, will probably be changed by a mechanic if they determine that the parts are faulty.

Final Words

You can’t overlook the issue of a car that jerks while accelerating because it’s annoying and risky to drive. A car may jerk for a variety of reasons, but most often, it means that the air or fuel supply is inadequate, which causes the engine to misfire.

Often, unclean parts like spark plugs, fuel injectors, or the air filter are to blame for an engine that won’t fire properly, and you may fix this yourself without taking your car to a specialist. However, if your car twitches even after you’ve cleaned it thoroughly, you might have no choice except to get it repaired.