Why My Car Jerks While Driving at Constant Speed [How to Diagnose & Fixes]

You’re driving at what you think is a perfectly steady speed, and suddenly your car jerks forward for no apparent reason. It’s an annoying, jarring experience that can be both alarming and embarrassing – especially if there are other cars around. But why does a car jerk while driving at constant speed? Read on to learn more about this phenomenon – including its potential causes and how to prevent it from happening in the future.

Key Reasons Behind Car Jerking While Driving at a Constant Speed

Here are the possible reasons why car jerks while driving at a constant speed:

1. Dirty Fuel Injector

Dirty Fuel Injector

The source of car jerking while driving could very likely come from a dirty fuel injector. A dirty fuel injector not only interrupts the smooth functioning of a car, but can also reduce your mileage and increase air pollution through excessive and inefficient use of fuel. Fuel injectors get blocked with substances like varnish, moisture and dirt which affects their functioning.

How can I fix the Dirty Fuel Injector?

To prevent this from happening it is important that you keep an eye on the health of your fuel injectors and get them cleaned or serviced as necessary!

2. Bad Fuel Pump

The fuel pump is in charge of keeping the right amount of fuel in the engine and makes sure it’s running smoothly. Because the fuel pump controls this process, when it isn’t working correctly, the car can jerk as if it’s not getting enough power while maintaining a certain speed. When fuel pump is dirty

How can I fix Bad Fuel Pump?

In this case, you’ll need to take your car in for repairs so a professional can diagnose which parts are faulty and what needs to be replaced.

3. Bad Spark Plugs

Spark plugs provide an electrical charge to the combustion chamber of an engine in order to cause ignition and power the car. Over time, spark plugs can become worn and decrease their performance, leading to jerking or misfiring during operation – particularly when the car is not accelerated or has a relatively light load. However, when the car shakes due to simple acceleration, the spark plug’s performance is poor.

How can I fix Bad Spark Plugs?

If your car begins jerking at consistent speeds, it’s worth giving your spark plugs a quick inspection. Changing them out could save you time, money and make drives much more enjoyable!

4. Dirty Fuel Filter

Driving your car shouldn’t be a jerky experience when you’re going at a constant speed. The underlying cause of such troubles could be the small, but powerful dirty fuel filter. It doesn’t take much for a fuel filter to clog; sometimes existing dirt or even water can collect and cause erratic acceleration.

How can I clean Dirty Fuel Filter?

Cleaning your fuel filter regularly during oil changes is usually enough to keep the engine running smoothly. Taking care of this service can save you from all sorts of headaches down the road, not to mention help keep control over all those sharp turns!

5. Blocked Catalytic Converter

If you’re driving your car and suddenly find it jerking along at a constant speed, then it could be caused by a blocked catalytic converter. This common problem is caused when the exhaust system becomes restricted due to excessive buildup of carbon deposits in the converter; this reduces the efficiency of the exhaust gas flow and makes the vehicle struggle to keep running smoothly.

How can I fix a Blocked Catalytic Converter?

Fortunately, this problem can often be fixed by simply removing these blockages, allowing for normal operation once again. If your car gets jerky when driving at a consistent speed, take it to an expert mechanic to get your catalytic converter checked as soon as possible.

6. Spoiled Accelerator Cable

A Spoiled Accelerator Cable can cause your car to jerk while driving at a constant speed. This happens when the damaged cable becomes stuck or too tight in the cable housing.

How can I fix the Spoiled Accelerator Cable?

Check and maintain your vehicle’s accelerator cable frequently. For those experienced with auto maintenance, it might be easy to diagnose and replace a damaged accelerator cable. Others, however, may need the help of a professional mechanic to get it fixed.

7. Condensed Distribution Cap

Many a time car jerks can be a result of a Condensed Distribution Cap. This is when the cap that holds the electrical conducting coil becomes clogged with oil and dirt, leading to malfunction within the circular current system for your car’s engine. This can cause a range of problems from delayed combustion within cylinders and poor fuel economy, to low performance from your engine that ultimately translates into jerking while driving at regular speeds.

How to clean Condensed Distribution Cap

Remove the cover from the top of the cap. Gently brush away any dirt or debris that may have accumulated inside or around it. Wipe off any remaining dirt with a damp rag. Reinstall the cover back onto the condenser’s top. Reassemble all components properly to get your car running smoothly again.

8. Damaged Cylinders

Damaged cylinders in your engine can lead to an interruption of power output and become particularly noticeable during driving at a constant speed. So if you experience any jerking or stalling while on the road, try checking whether cylinder problems are the culprit first – before you take your car to the mechanic!

How can I fix Damaged Cylinders?

Check for oil leaks and listen for knocks in the engine. If these signs of trouble lead you to believe that the cylinders are damaged, then a compression test followed by cylinder honing is required to get your vehicle back up and running smoothly again.

9. Inadequate Transmission Control Module

When the TCM isn’t functioning effectively, it can lead to sudden gear shifts and jerks that disrupt the flow of your ride. So if you’re feeling jostled in your drive – make sure to check the TCM for any problems.

How can I fix Transmission Control Module?

Research into the different TCMs available and select one that suits your car model. Disconnect your car battery and install the new module with the right tools, such as a wrench set and wire cutters.

10. Problem in Mass Airflow Sensor

Problem in Mass Airflow Sensor
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org

The mass airflow sensor is designed to detect the amount of air that is being injected into the engine which helps determine fuel delivery and other related settings. If the mass airflow sensor isn’t reading these amounts accurately, then it can cause problems with jerking as you drive steadily.

How Can I Fix a Problem in Mass Airflow Sensor?

Start by disconnecting the negative terminal of your car’s battery and removing the air intake boot from the throttle body to expose the Mass Airflow Sensor. Next, using a socket wrench, unscrew and remove the sensor. Then clean it with aerosol brake parts cleaner before spray lubricating it with CRC sensor safe Cleaner-Lubricant Spray. Finally, replace the sensor and reattach all components before restarting the car.

The bottom line

If your car is jerking while driving at a constant speed, it could be an indication of several different issues. Get the problem diagnosed and fixed as soon as possible and follow these maintenance tips to ensure a smoother ride. Driving with a jerking car can be dangerous and lead to further damage to the vehicle. If you’re experiencing this issue, take your car to a mechanic and have them take a look.


Q: Why does a car’s steering wheel jerk left & right while driving?
A: A car’s steering wheel may jerk left and right due to several reasons, such as unbalanced tires, misaligned wheels, worn-out steering components, or a problem with the suspension system. It’s important to have the car inspected by a professional mechanic to diagnose and fix the underlying issue.

Q: Why is a car jerking when you press the gas?
A: A car jerking when you press the gas could be caused by a variety of issues, including a clogged fuel filter or a malfunctioning transmission. It’s best to have a mechanic diagnose and fix the problem to ensure safe & efficient driving.

Q: What to do if your car starts jerking?
A: If your car starts jerking, you should immediately slow down and try to safely pull over to the side of the road. Turn off the engine and check for any visible problems such as low oil or coolant levels. If you’re unable to identify the issue, call for roadside assistance or a mechanic to inspect your car.

Q: How much will it cost to fix a jerking car?
A: The cost of fixing a jerking car depends on the cause of the jerking. Some common causes include a faulty mass airflow sensor, a vacuum leak, or a fuel pump problem. The cost of repairing these problems can range from $100 to $1,000. It is important to have your car inspected by a mechanic to determine the cause of the jerking and get an accurate estimate of the repair cost.

Q: Is it safe to drive a jerky car?
A: No, it is not safe to drive a jerky car. A jerky car can be a sign of a serious mechanical problem, such as a bad transmission or engine. These problems can lead to further damage to your car & they can also be dangerous to drive. If your car is jerking, it is important to have it checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible.

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