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Checking fuel injectors on a Toyota on Long Island, NY.

Why Does My Car Jerk While Accelerating?

Posted at Fri, May 14, 2021 9:00 AM

Nothing can ruin your commute like experiencing a jarring jerking motion every time you begin to accelerate – particularly if it has never happened before. Something like this is definitely not to be ignored, but that does not mean that the worst has come to pass. It could be indicative of a few problems, and to help you figure out which, our Westbury Toyota experts have put together a list of the most common culprits.

A Blocked Catalytic Converter

Your Toyota’s catalytic converter is an essential part, as it works by lessening the pollutant amount in the exhaust. However, it can be prone to problems. When the fuel/air mixture in your engine becomes too rich it can lead to blockages in the catalytic converter, which in turn will disturb the way air flows throughout the exhaust system. This can lead to jerking or stuttering whenever you press down on the gas pedal, but can also result in sluggish responsiveness, a noticeable drop in fuel efficiency, and the smell of hydrogen sulphide (which smells like rotten eggs).

You can attempt to rectify this problem on your own by using a catalytic converter cleaner. If this does not fix the issue you should book your Toyota in as quickly as possible in order to get it looked at by one of our professionals.

Grimy Fuel Injectors

Dirtied fuel injectors are one of the most common reasons not only for stuttering or jerking when accelerating, but also a number of other issues. Grimy injectors can also lead to a loss of power in your vehicle and engine misfires. Because of how prone the injectors are to these kinds of issues, you should get your Toyota’s injectors cleaned regularly in order to avoid any problems. This is an easy enough job to do on your own by using a fuel system or fuel injector cleaner. If the injectors are really mucked up, however, even those cleaners might not be enough. Should this be the case, the injectors will have to be taken out and cleaned manually or replaced entirely.

Faulty Fuel Filter and/or Pump

Most of the time, a vehicle that stutters or jerks when you accelerate is tied to an issue with the fuel supply. Whenever there is not enough fuel going to the engine it is likely tied to a fuel pump that is malfunctioning, as it would not be able to keep up with the fuel demand. The next likely culprit is the fuel filter, as they can become clogged and restrict the fuel flow and lead to an intermittent fuel supply. Replacing the fuel filter is typically a cheap and easy process, but a failing fuel pump is a problem that will require a professional’s attention to fix.

Failing Spark Plugs

Another common cause of jerking while accelerating are spark plugs and fortunately, this is one of the easiest issues to fix. Very dirty or faulty spark plugs can halt ignition in the combustion process which then leads to engine misfiring, which feels like stuttering every time you step on the gas pedal. All you need to do to rectify this issue is replace the bad plug which can be determined by a visual inspection. If it has been quite a while since the plugs have been replaced, a better idea would be to replace them all in order to prevent another one failing in short order.

Resolving the Problem

Even though there are a number of possible causes for stuttering or jerking whenever you accelerate in your Toyota, most of them are fairly simple to fix. In the event that you are unable to get the problem to stop on your own or you feel unsure about attempting to do it on your own, please do not hesitate to book your vehicle in with us here at the Westbury Toyota service department. Our technicians will give your vehicle a thorough inspection to pinpoint the issue and resolve it in a timely and professional manner.

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