Car Jerks When Accelerating – Common Causes & Solutions

Car Jerks When Accelerating – Common Causes & Solutions

Your first action plan at the moment the car begins to buckle or jerk should be to identify and fix the problem to reduce the likelihood of irreparable engine damage.

Some of the reasons why your car may buckle when accelerating are listed below.

Causes of a Jerking Car Engine on Acceleration

A car engine needs the right air-fuel ratio to burn and run efficiently. If there is an imbalance in this ratio, the car engine skips one of the processes in its combustion cycle and ends up misfiring.

Engine misfiring is one of the most common reasons that your car bucks when accelerating. It can be caused by a number of reasons, but the most common are random:

1. Worn ignition parts


These are the spark plugs, ignition coil packages, and ignition cables. These parts usually wear out over time and must be replaced. When these parts wear out, they cut off the power to your spark plugs, so they are no longer able to produce the sparks necessary to ignite the fuel in your piston cylinders, resulting in the engine misfiring in a particular cylinder. If the problem is ignored, it will worsen over time and cause unnecessary grief to the car owner. Fortunately, replacing these parts is a simple and inexpensive process and should be done regularly to avoid this problem.

2. Faulty Air/Fuel Mixture

Your fuel system could be the reason why your car skids when accelerating. Dirty fuel injectors interrupt the continuous flow of fuel to your engine and cause engine misfiring. Other fuel components that can cause engine misfiring include:

  1. A faulty air mass sensor will cause an imbalance in the air-fuel ratio reaching your vehicle’s engine. Car engines use air and fuel to ignite the movement of the pistons in the engine to allow your vehicle to move.
  2. A dirty EGR valve can get stuck and divert exhaust emissions into the intake manifold, causing a misfire.
  3. A clogged fuel filter, whose job it is to prevent dirt from entering the fuel injection line, will eventually begin to block fuel from entering the injection system, which ultimately affects the operation of your engine and causes your vehicle to hesitate when accelerating.
  4. A leaking fuel line will cause a loss of pressure in the air flowing through the engine system, causing your car to wobble when accelerating. It can also cause engine fires and explosions and should be repaired immediately.
  5. A clogged catalytic converter can cause your car to judder. A catalytic converter regulates the emissions leaving your car.
  6. A weak fuel pump cannot deliver enough pressure to pump fuel to the engine and this could be the cause of your car lurching when driving on a steep hill.
  7. A damaged carburetor is not able to regulate the amount of air and fuel that enters the engine cylinders and affects the combustion cycle.

However, there is no need for an alarm, as a check engine light is likely to illuminate when one of these fuel system components is blocked or damaged. Regular cleaning of your fuel system components will prevent clogging and blocking, but if the system is already clogged or blocked, a mechanic should be contacted quickly.

3. Damaged engine cylinders

Engine Cylinders

If the cylinders of your engine are damaged, they ultimately affect the engine’s ability to complete a full combustion cycle, resulting in misfiring. A noticeable symptom of a damaged cylinder would be the manifestation of a strong order. It is essential to take your car to a mechanic the moment you notice this symptom so that your engine is not completely ruined.

4. Accumulated moisture in your cars distribution cap

If you are used to parking your car outside in cold weather, moisture will accumulate in the distributor cap of your car and this will cause an imbalance in the engine, resulting in the staggering movements when accelerating.

You can choose a warmer environment for your car in cold weather to avoid this problem in the future.

5. Bad/Improper use of the clutch in stick-shift vehicles.


In a vehicle with a stick shift, the clutch connects the engine directly to the transmission and finally to the wheels. This means that if the clutch is abruptly released after shifting, you interrupt this connection and experience a jerking motion when accelerating. It will help you if you practice releasing the clutch and stepping on the gas while shifting. Basically, the correct use of the clutch and accelerator will help you to accelerate and brake smoothly without your car jerking or juddering.


Hesitation while driving can be annoying, but problems associated with car judder during acceleration can be easily solved and prevented. Most of the time your car hesitates when accelerating due to dirt, so it is important to clean your car regularly. It is also important to have your car checked annually by a skilled mechanic who will take care of potentially dangerous mechanical problems such as faulty fuel lines.

If you know how to identify and fix basic engine problems such as misfiring, you can save money that would be spent on regular visits to the mechanic. For vehicles with automatic transmissions, you can connect a scan tool to your vehicle’s computer to help identify the problem and, depending on its severity, you can fix it yourself.

Driving an engine with misfiring can seriously damage your engine, increase repair costs, or ruin it completely. It is also a safety issue if your engine suddenly stops in the middle of a busy highway.