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Jerking and Driving: What Are Some of the Most Common Causes of It?

Jerking and Driving: What Are Some of the Most Common Causes of It?

It can be very scary when you’re behind the wheel of your car and it starts jerking while you’re trying to drive it. Jerking and driving are two things that you don’t ever want to find your car doing at the same time. If you ever experience it, you should try to figure out what’s wrong with your car right away. There are a bunch of issues that could be causing jerking and driving to occur within your vehicle. Check out some of these potential problems below and then find out how to fix them so that you don’t have to worry about your car jerking and driving anymore.

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE

You Have Dirty Fuel Injectors

The fuel injectors in your car are designed to provide your engine with the right amount of fuel at all times. But over time, they can actually get to be pretty dirty, which can prevent them from delivering the necessary amount of fuel to your engine. This can lead to jerking and driving if you’re not careful since your engine isn’t going to be getting the fuel that it needs. It can also lead to your engine misfiring every so often.


To steer clear of having to deal with this particular problem, you should get yourself into the habit of cleaning your fuel injectors on a regular basis. There are special fuel injector cleaners that will prevent your fuel injectors from getting backed up and stop your car from jerking and driving. As long as you use one of these cleaners every so often, you shouldn’t have to worry about dirty fuel injectors wreaking havoc on your car.


That being said, there are some instances in which carbon deposits will make your fuel injectors extra dirty and cause excessive jerking and driving even after you use fuel injector cleaners. In this case, you’ll typically have to take your fuel injectors out and clean them by hand or possibly even take them out and replace them with new fuel injectors. It’ll be the only surefire way to stop jerking and driving from occurring.

Your Catalytic Converter Is Blocked

The catalytic converter in your car plays a very important role in it. It’s responsible for reducing the number of pollutants that are able to leave your car through your exhaust system. There are, however, some issues that can pop up within a catalytic converter that might leave your car jerking and driving. For instance, if the air and fuel mixture in your car’s engine is richer than it should be, it can cause a blockage in your catalytic converter and stop air from flowing through it smoothly.


When this happens, you might experience some jerking and driving when you attempt to accelerate in your car. You might also get a whiff of a very bad smell coming from the general direction of your catalytic converter. And of course, your catalytic converter will also stop doing its job, which could result in your car getting poor fuel economy and your check engine light coming on.


There are some catalytic converter cleaners out there that can be used to clear up blockages in yours. But if that doesn’t do the trick, you might have no choice but to replace your catalytic converter completely so that you don’t have to go through any more jerking and driving. It’ll be the only option you have if you don’t catch this problem early on enough and do something about it.

You Have a Mass Airflow Sensor That’s Not Working Properly

Does the jerking and driving that takes place in your car tend to happen when you’re driving at higher speeds? This is usually an indication that you have something wrong with your mass airflow sensor, which is also known as an MAF. Your car’s MAF is in charge of measuring how much air is flowing into your engine when you’re driving your car so that your car knows how much fuel that it needs to send to the engine to mix in with it. But it’s not going to be able to take accurate measurements when it’s not working properly, which can lead to jerking and driving.


Oftentimes, you’ll discover that your MAF has gone bad before you have to go through any jerking and driving in your car. Your check engine light is going to come on at the first sign of trouble with your MAF to let you know that it needs to be replaced. But it’s going to be up to you to take your car to the shop to have mass airflow sensor replacement done. It’s a relatively simple auto repair in the grand scheme of things, and it’s the only thing that’s going to put your jerking and driving in the past.

Your Fuel Pump or Your Fuel Filter Has Gone Bad

As we mentioned earlier when we spoke about your car’s fuel injectors, your engine needs to get the right amount of fuel at all times for your car to run properly. If it doesn’t, there is a decent chance that there’s going to be some jerking and driving going on when you’re behind the wheel. And while your engine might not be getting enough fuel for any number of reasons, your fuel pump is usually one of the main culprits when this is the case.


When a fuel pump is beginning to go bad, it’ll usually have a very tough time keeping up with your engine’s fuel demands. It’s going to slow down so much that it won’t be able to pump enough fuel in the direction of your engine, and that’s going to cause jerking and driving to take place. The fuel filter connected to your fuel pump might also get clogged up over time and deliver fuel to your engine inconsistently when you’re driving your car. This can also be one of the reasons why your car is jerking and driving.


Either way, it’s going to be important for you to have a fully-functioning fuel pump and fuel filter in your car at all times. If you don’t, you shouldn’t be too surprised when jerking and driving start to occur since your engine is going to be getting robbed of the fuel that it so desperately needs. You should replace a bad fuel pump and/or bad fuel filter right away to ensure your engine gets enough fuel while you’re driving your car.

Your Air Filter Needs to Be Replaced

If you haven’t picked up on this trend just yet after reading about the first few causes of jerking and driving, let us be clear: Your car is a very fine-tuned machine that needs to get the right balance of air and fuel to move forward. If it doesn’t get one or the other, jerking and driving are sure to follow. It’s why it’s such a big deal for you to keep a fresh fuel filter in your car and why you need to have a clean air filter in it, too.


Your car’s air filter is going to be routinely subjected to air that is filled with dirt, dust, and other debris in it. This air can cause it to get clogged up in no time, and when this happens, your engine won’t be able to get access to enough air to mix with your fuel. This will inevitably result in jerking and driving and make you wonder whether or not you’re going to have to make a major repair to your car.


You’ll be happy to know that, when a dirty air filter is to blame for jerking and driving, you’re going to get off easy when it comes to fixing the problem. You can usually replace an air filter on your own for less than $20 in a lot of cases. You’ll be lucky if you find out that replacing an air filter is all that you have to do to prevent jerking and driving.

You Have Bad Spark Plugs

You’ve probably heard about the spark plugs in your car a lot in the past. But you might not be familiar with what it is that they do for your car. Well, they play a very important role in that they’re responsible for providing the spark that the cylinders in your engine need to ignite the fuel in your car. Without this spark, an engine will often start to misfire, and it’ll only be a matter of time before jerking and driving sets in.


With this in mind, you’re going to need to keep a close eye on your car’s spark plugs and make sure that they’re always firing on all cylinders so to speak. If your spark plugs ever go bad or even just get dirty, they won’t be able to deliver the spark that’s necessary to ignite the fuel in your engine. You’ll have to consider replacing all your spark plugs to stop this from happening.

You Have Moisture Under Your Distributor Cap

When the temperature drops in the wintertime, it’s not uncommon for moisture to build up underneath the distributor cap in your car. This will happen a lot when you park your car outside overnight when it’s very cold out. This can lead to jerking and driving as your engine misfires when you drive it at low speeds.


The good news is that this problem shouldn’t last for more than a few minutes. Once your car begins to warm up a little bit, the moisture from the distributor cap will disappear, which will stop it from causing jerking and driving. But—and this is a big but—your engine can suffer the consequences if you put it through this process day in and day out. There is only so much jerking and driving it’s going to be able to take before serious problems start to set in.


Because of this, you should try not to park your car outside in the wintertime if you can avoid it. And if you do have to do it, you should consider sticking a thermal cover over it to stop moisture from building up under your distributor cap. This should prevent jerking and driving from taking place when you climb into your car on a cold morning.

Your Accelerator Cable Has Worn Down

Not all cars have physical accelerator cables located in them. Many of the modern-day cars have electronic throttle control systems in them instead. But if yours still has an accelerator cable connecting your gas pedal to your throttle plate, it can wear down on you over time and cause you to have to go through jerking and driving. Your car is going to tend to lurch forward when you step on the gas pedal as opposed to accelerating smoothly like it’s supposed to.


The solution to this particular cause of jerking and driving is pretty simple. You’ll need to have your mechanic take out your old accelerator cable so that a new one can be put into its place. It’s a straightforward repair job, but until you get it done, you’re going to have to live with the jerking and driving that comes along with having a bad accelerator cable.

Your Transmission Control Module Is Faulty

Of all the different jerking and driving causes on this list, this one is easily the rarest of the bunch. But if you look for all the other causes and can’t seem to find anything wrong with your vehicle, a faulty transmission control module could be the primary cause of your jerking and driving. This is one of the parts in your transmission that plays an active role in gear changes while you’re accelerating.


If your transmission control module isn’t doing its job, it shouldn’t be long before you notice jerking and driving when you’re behind the wheel. Your transmission won’t be able to transition from one gear to the next without your car jerking around a little bit and causing some concern on your part. You’ll need to have your transmission control module repaired or replaced when this happens.

What Should You Do With a Car That Is Jerking and Driving?

Jerking and driving isn’t something that anyone wants to experience. You can put yourself, your car, and other people into real danger if you don’t do something about your jerking and driving issues. You should take your car to a mechanic and have them figure out what’s wrong with it. Chances are, they’ll find one of the issues on this list and need to repair your car to fix the problem.


You also have the option of getting rid of a car with a jerking and driving problem if you don’t want to risk getting behind the wheel of it anymore. The junk car buyers from Cash Cars Buyer will pay you cash for your car if you don’t feel comfortable in it anymore. Even if it has one of the issues mentioned here, we’ll still pay top dollar for it and take it off your hands. Contact us today to find out how simple it is to get an offer for your vehicle.