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6 Most Credible Reasons Why Your Car is Jerking While Driving

Credible reason

Credible reason

A jerking car when starting, accelerating, and driving really has a serious issue. When this happens, your check engine light might come on to warn you of possible problems on your car. But what seems to be the big deal when your car is jerking while driving?

Experts and professionals on automotive vehicles suggest that there is a big possibility that your car may suffer from certain issues which need to be addressed the moment you experienced jerking on your car while you are driving. And there are plenty of these issues. We shall tackle here the various causes on why your car jerks, especially when you are in the middle of the road, and we hope to find the answers before we end this article.

But before we go to our topic for today, learn some info about jerking and why you should be alarmed when this happens. Here goes!

What is the difference between jerking and abnormal sounds?

jerking car car is jerking while driving

To give you an idea of what jerking on car means, we differentiate it with the unusual sounds or noises (like grinding and humming)  you sometimes hear from your car that can also mean mechanical problems on the vehicle. Jerking is more on the sense of feeling, like a person who has a seizure, while sounds and noises are heard. When your car jerks, you will experience a feeling of intermittent vibrations in rapid succession.

Jerking is more like you are gasping for breath that stops suddenly and may be followed by the same pattern in short burst. When your car jerks while you are driving at high-speed, there is a tendency that you stop or slows down abruptly without any warning. In other words, a jerking is an uncontrollable shaking that may start as slow vibrations then become more intense and violent over time. 

This is very dangerous and may cause an accident that might result in injury, damage to properties, and worst, death. So, try to fix the problem as early as possible. You can read here some of the reasons on why your car shakes when you drive.

Possible reasons your car jerks

Here are some of the most compelling reasons why you experience jerking while you are in the middle of the road:

1. Bad spark plug

If you have malfunctioning spark plugs, jerking is quite possible. If the plugs are not scheduled for replacement, check them out and clean them. You can also test the spark plugs if they are still operational. You have to replace the plugs if they are already “dead”. 

Related post:

Top 10 Best Spark Plugs to Buy

2. Worn out acceleration cable

Jerking may happen if you have also a bad acceleration cable. A damaged cable will take you extra time to accelerate and comes with jerking. You can adjust the cable if it is still functional, but you have to replace it as soon as possible.

Here is one great replacement for an acceleration cable (throttle cable) available on Amazon: Manco’s Go Cart Throttle Cable #8252. Check this one out if it fits your car.

3. Moisture build-up in the distributor cap

When you left your car outside in a rainy or cold environment, you might end up starting and driving the car jerking. Let the engine runs in idle for about 20 minutes until the moisture had dried up before using your car.

4. Faulty throttle position

If you are experiencing minimal to severe jerking over time, regardless of outside temperature, your throttle position sensor might be at fault. Let a professional technician check your computer for a more thorough diagnosis on the car’s computer. 

Best choice
Faulty throttle position Genuine Toyota 89452-35020 Throttle Position Sensor

Genuine Toyota 89452-35020 Throttle Position Sensor

Best value
Faulty throttle position ACDelco 213-912 GM Original Equipment Throttle Position Sensor

ACDelco 213-912 GM Original Equipment Throttle Position Sensor

5.Dirty injectors

Dirty injectors are not a serious problem if address earlier. Your car engine can jerk and misfires continuously while driving. Injectors should be cleaned occasionally to avoid expensive repairs. Try to use the DOMINTY Non-Dismantle Injector Cleaner&Tester Fuel System Adapter Kit For Petrol EFI Throttle Car 600ML Tank 120PSI for a more convenient cleaning without the hassle. This is readily available from Amazon.

Best choice
OTC 5609 Cylinder Leakage Tester Kit

OTC 5609 Cylinder Leakage Tester Kit

Best value
OTC 5613 Vacuum/Pressure Gauge Kit

OTC 5613 Vacuum/Pressure Gauge Kit

6.Blocked catalyst

If your “Check Engine” light comes on and your car jerks, a possible cause is a blocked catalyst. When this happens, an incomplete combustion is imminent inside the car’s engine. This may also entail that the unburnt gas is not properly ejected from the engine.

To correct this, take your car to a qualified mechanic for a thorough analysis of the problem.


Regular oil changes, routine clean up, and other preventive maintenance will keep you away from having a jerking car while driving. While you can do the simplest things to make your engine run as smooth as possible, when a more serious problem arises, let the experts do the talking. But you can still do more complex jobs regarding your car’s maintenance if you are eager enough to learn from our tutorials and save you precious dollars from costly repairs.

We are also eager to answer all your comments and queries if you have any question regarding this article.


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