What Causes A Car To Jerk While Accelerating?

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Driving can be stressful at times, especially when your car isn’t performing the way it should. If you’ve ever experienced sudden jerks while accelerating, you understand how alarming they can be. If you’re caught off-guard, a sudden jerk could cause you to lose control of your vehicle. But why does this happen? Here are some of the most common causes and how to fix them.

Clogged Fuel Injectors

Clogged fuel injectors can cause a variety of problems, including jerking while accelerating. When the fuel injectors are clogged, they prevent the engine from receiving the right amount of fuel, which can cause stuttering and hesitation. For this reason, it’s recommended to have your fuel injectors cleaned regularly. If the clog is severe enough, the injector may need to be replaced.

Obstructed Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter is an important exhaust system component that helps reduce the harmful exhaust gasses coming from your engine. If the converter becomes obstructed due to excessive exhaust, it can block the airflow throughout the system. This can cause sluggishness and hesitation during acceleration, as well as general unresponsiveness. You may also notice unpleasant odors, decreased fuel economy, or that the check engine light is on. If this has occurred it is almost certain the catalytic converter will need to be replaced.

Faulty Mass Airflow Sensor

The mass airflow (MAF) sensor helps measure the amount of air your engine takes in. Based on the amount of air intake, data from the MAF sensor is used to adjust the amount of fuel injected by the fuel injectors so that an ideal air and fuel mixture is maintained. If the mass airflow sensor becomes dirty or faulty, it can cause jerking as you accelerate or drive at higher speeds. You may also notice your engine backfiring, black smoke from the tailpipe, or the check engine light is on. To fix the issue, you’ll need to have the sensor cleaned or replaced.

Dirty Fuel Filter or Faulty Fuel Pump

Your car could be jerking due there’s an inadequate supply of fuel to the engine, which could be caused by a dirty fuel filter or faulty fuel pump. If the fuel pump is the culprit, it will need to be replaced, otherwise, it can lead to poor fuel economy and possible engine damage. Regular fuel system maintenance and inspection can help prevent these issues from occurring; using high-quality fuel and avoiding low fuel levels can also help extend the life of your fuel pump.

Clogged Air Filter

Having proper air intake is essential for your car to run properly, so it’s important to clean or replace your air filter regularly. A dirty air filter will decrease the amount of air available to the engine, which can disrupt the combustion process. The air filter is also responsible for keeping dirt and debris out of the engine, but if it’s too dirty, it may allow some of the built-up dirt to enter—which can cause your car to jerk. Replace or clean (if you have a reusable air filter) your air filter according to the service intervals listed in your owner’s manual.

Bad Spark Plugs

The spark plugs are responsible for providing the spark that ignites the fuel during the combustion process in gas-powered engines. Worn-out spark plugs can misfire, which can cause jerking or stuttering while you’re driving and accelerating. If one spark plug is worn, it’s best to replace all of them at the same time to prevent issues with the other plugs down the road. In addition, using high-quality spark plugs and ensuring they’re installed properly can help expand their lifespan and improve your car’s performance.

Malfunctioning Transmission Control Module

The transmission control module controls the shifting process while you accelerate or decelerate. If the module malfunctions, it can cause delays in shifting—which can make it feel like your car is jerking. Although this issue isn’t as common as the others on this list, it’s still a possibility. 

Visit Accurate Automotive Attention for Expert Diagnostics & Repair

Experiencing jerking while accelerating can be a frustrating and concerning issue for any driver. Since it can affect vehicle performance, drivability, and safe handling, it’s important to get the problem diagnosed and repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your vehicle. With proper maintenance and prompt attention, you can enjoy a smoother, more reliable driving experience. Contact Accurate Automotive Attention today to get your car, truck, or SUV back on track!

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