Your first plan of action the moment the car starts jerking or bucking should be identifying and fixing the issue in order to reduce the likelihood of unrepairable engine damage.
Some of the reasons why your car could be jerking when accelerating include:
Causes of a Jerking Car Engine on Acceleration
A car engine requires the right air to fuel ratio in order to combust and run efficiently. If there is an imbalance with this ratio, the car engine skips one of the processes of its combustions cycle and ends up misfiring.
An Engine misfire is one of the most common reasons that your car is jerking while accelerating. They can be caused by a number of reasons; however, the most common ones happen to be:
1. Worn out ignition parts
These are the spark plugs, coil packs and ignitions wires. These parts usually become worn out over time and need to be replaced. When these parts wear out, they cut off electricity to your spark plugs making them incapable of creating the required sparks to ignite the fuel in your piston cylinders, and this causes an engine misfire on a particular cylinder. If the problem is ignored, it will become worse over time and bring the car owner unnecessary grief. Luckily, replacing these parts is an easy and inexpensive process and should, therefore, be done regularly to avoid this problem.
2. Faulty Air/Fuel Mixture
Your fuel system could be the reason why your car lurches while accelerating. Dirty fuel injectors will disrupt the continuous flow of fuel to your engine causing engine misfires. Other fuel components that may cause engine misfires to include:
- • A failing airflow mass sensor will cause an imbalance of the air-fuel ratio that reaches your car’s engine. Car engines use air and fuel to ignite the movement of the pistons within allowing your vehicle to move.
- • A dirty EGR valve can stick and reroute exhaust emission into the intake manifold causing a misfire
- • A clogged fuel filter whose work is to prevent dirt from entering the fuel injection line will eventually start blocking fuel from getting into the injector system, and this will ultimately affect the running of your engine causing your car to hesitate during acceleration.
- • A leaky fuel line will lead to a loss in pressure in the air flowing through the engine system which results in lurching while accelerating. It can also cause engine fires and explosions and should be fixed immediately.
- • A clogged catalytic converter, a catalytic converter regulates the emissions leaving your car. Once clogged it can cause your car to jerk.
- • A weak fuel pump cannot provide enough pressure to pump fuel to the engine, and this could be the cause of your vehicle lurching while driving up a steep hill.
- • A damaged carburetor will be unable to regulate the amount of air and fuel that gets into the engine cylinders affecting the combustion cycle.
There is however no need for alarm as a check engine light will likely appear if one of these fuel system components is blocked or damaged. Regularly cleaning your fuel system components will prevent clogging and blockage, but if the system is already clogged or blocked contacting a mechanic should be done quickly.
3. Damaged engine cylinders
If your engine cylinders are damaged, they will ultimately affect the engines ability to have a complete combustion cycle causing your engine to misfire. 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 to avoid completely ruining your engine.
4. Accumulated moisture in your cars distribution cap
If you are used to parking your car outside in cold weather, moisture will collect inside your cars distributor cap, and this will cause an imbalance in your engine resulting in the lurching motions when accelerating.
You can choose a warmer environment for your car during cold weather to avoid this problem in the future.
5. Bad/Improper use of the clutch in stick-shift vehicles.
In a stick-shift vehicle, the clutch directly connects the engine to the transmission and finally the wheels. This means that if the clutch is abruptly disengaged after shifting gears, you will interrupt this connection and experience a bucking motion as you try to accelerate. It will help if you practice easing off the clutch and onto the gas when shifting gears. Basically, the proper use of your clutch and gas pedals will help you to smoothly accelerate and decelerate without your car jerking or puttering.
Car hesitations can be annoying; however, issues relating to car jerks when accelerating can easily be resolved and prevented. Most times your car hesitations when accelerating due to dirt, it’s therefore important to regularly clean your car. It is also essential to have your vehicle annually checked by a proficient mechanic to take care of any potentially dangerous mechanical problems like faulty fuel lines.
Knowing how to identify and troubleshoot basic engine issues like misfires helps you save money that would be spent on regular visits to the mechanic. You can plug a scanning tool to your vehicles computer in the case of automatic transmission vehicles, and this will help you identify the problem and depending on the severity you can fix it yourself.
Driving with a misfiring engine can cause severe damage to your engine, driving up the costs of repairs or completely ruining it. It also poses a safety concern, when your engine abruptly stops in the middle of a busy highway.