Car Jerks When Accelerating

Generally, the worst time to notice an issue in your car is while driving. In such cases, your vehicle may leave you stranded on the road or, worse, put you in harm’s way. When you notice anything on your car, even as little as a jerk, it’s wise to be curious about the cause.

Many reasons are responsible for car jerks, making diagnosing it quite tricky. But if you’re familiar with the vehicle’s behaviour before noticing this issue, it makes diagnosing it more manageable. The trick to diagnosing the cause and the possible solution is to determine the scenarios that bring about the issue. This guide will walk you through the scenarios and what to do when your car jerks.

Car juddering when accelerating

The most common scenario when people face juddering car issues is when accelerating. In this situation, the cause of the car juddering results from problems from one or a combination of faulty fuel injectors, air filters, or spark plugs. When the fuel injector doesn’t supply enough fuel to the combustion chamber, or the air and spark aren’t sufficient, accelerating will cause the car to misfire, causing it to judder.

Similarly, a faulty catalytic converter might be the reason a car judders when accelerating. If a car’s catalytic converter is clogged, it causes the engine to misfire when accelerating. A quick fix to this issue is to pop the car’s bonnet and clean the spark plug. Also, cleaning or switching the air filter can help ensure enough air gets into the combustion chamber. For minor clogs, a catalytic converter cleaner might be helpful.

Car juddering when pulling away

Another scenario where a car might judder is when pulling away, especially from a low gear. In such a case, the issue often lies with a faulty clutch. The clutch is the component that connects and disconnects the engine while it’s rotating in the crankshaft. But when the pressure plates on the clutch are wearing out, it causes the gear doesn’t connect well, causing the car to jerk.

Fixing this issue is quite advanced and best left to a professional mechanic. In the best situation, the clutch facing has contaminants obstructing its free movement. But in worse cases, the clutch facing is worn out and needs replacement.

Car juddering at low revs

Some people experience their car jerking when it’s in low gear. But when the vehicle is in high gear, it usually functions smoothly. In such a situation, the problem is likely due to moisture in the distributor cap. Ideally, water doesn’t get to the distributor cap quickly. But when a car is parked in a cold environment, especially prolonged, moisture gets to the distributor cap through condensation. As a result, this can cause the engine to misfire when trying to accelerate from a low gear.

Loose or broken engine mounts are another likely cause of a car juddering in this situation. If moisture in the distributor cap is the cause of the car juddering, parking the car in a warmer area will fix the issue. Also, if a loose engine mount is the culprit of the car juddering, then tightening it with a wrench or getting new mounts will fix the issue.

Car juddering when idle

Another common situation when a car might judder is idle at a park or junction. Also, when the vehicle is idle and juddering, it feels like it will stall; the likely cause could be a faulty spark plug or a buildup of grime and dirt. If the dirt and grime clog the fuel injector system, oxygen and fuel won’t get into the engine as needed, thus causing the car to judder when idle.

Also, if the jerking only happens when the car is idle, the issue could be because of worn-out electric components like the crankshaft sensor. In this situation, we recommend contacting a professional mechanic to fix it. Or if you’re familiar with the working principle of the vehicle, then run a diagnostic test to determine the root cause of the problem.

Juddering when driving at speed

Some car enthusiasts experience their vehicle juddering when driving at high speed. In such a situation, many things can be why the vehicle only judders when driving at speed. But the most common cause is related to a faulty fuel injector. Also, a damaged fuel pump can be complacent to the issue. When the fuel pump doesn’t pump enough fuel to meet your driving speed, it causes the engine to misfire, causing it to jerk.

A blocked catalytic converter can contribute to the issue. It’s even worse when the mass airflow sensor is faulty or the spark plug is damaged. Moisture accumulation doesn’t also help the vehicle’s jerking issue, as it prevents complete combustion. Doing a lot of cleaning and applying lubricants in the right places can help in such a situation. Likewise, if you are not vast at vehicle repairs, it is best to contact a professional mechanic to help diagnose the root cause and the best course of action.

Juddering when braking

Another common situation where drivers deal with a juddering vehicle is when braking. Ideally, while braking, one will feel a resistance. But rather than a smooth reduction in speed, as the car comes to a halt, you experience jerks, likely because the brake disc is deformed. A deformed brake disc is dangerous as it can cause brake failure.

The brake disc should be of uniform thickness to make the car stop smoothly. If the brake disc isn’t consistent, it’s best to replace it. Contact your mechanic to have the brake disc replaced before it gets worse. Although cleaning the brake disc might also help, it’s a temporary fix. As such, the best thing is to replace it after a while.

Diesel car juddering when driving

There are a lot of reasons a diesel vehicle jerks when driving. The most common is due to a clogged fuel injector. Because the consistency of diesel is thicker than regular petrol, tiny particles can cause a significant reduction in performance.

However, when dealing with an issue with a clogged fuel injector, fixing it is often straightforward. With a few tools, you can fix it from the comfort of your home garage. Cleaning the injector and wiping around the area where the injector sits is also helpful.

Can distorted car tires cause juddering?

A distorted car tire can cause a vehicle to be judder, especially if the tire pressure is incorrect. Also, if the wheels are not well aligned, it can cause juddering, leading to wear and tear. If not addressed in time, it can cause the lug nuts to lose, leading to further catastrophe.

In such cases, having your tire realigned can help fix the issue. Also, checking your tire pressure to ensure optimality will help prevent juddering and prolong tire lifespan. And if the tires are too bad, they should be replaced asap for your safety.

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