Reasons Why Your Car Jerks When Braking, Slowing, or Stopping
Certain car problems may trouble you while driving. It can be a simple squeaking noise or a jerk when accelerating or decelerating that may take you off-guard. These failures often require maintenance that are necessary when you own a car.
A driver expects smooth acceleration or braking. However, when a car jerks while braking or accelerating from rest, there may be something amiss with the vehicle. Let’s go through all the reasons why your car jerks while accelerating, braking, slowing, or stopping.
CAUSES OF CAR JERKING WHEN DRIVING
If you feel jerking, stuttering, or surging while accelerating or braking, there may be several problems. From car brake problems to clogged fuel filters, various reasons contribute to car jerks.
Here we have divided the reasons why a car jerks into the following categories:
- Car jerks when applying brakes
- Car jerking while maintaining speed
WHY DOES MY CAR JERK FORWARD WHEN BRAKING?
When your car jerks while braking, its root cause may be the braking system itself. Following are the potential causes of car jerking when brakes are applied:
- Improper installation of brake discs
- Bad brake pads and discs
- Worn-out brake rotors
- ABS failure
- Worn-out steering or wheel axle bearings
IMPROPER INSTALLATION OF BRAKE DISCS
If you went for brake discs change recently, there are chances that the mechanic has installed them wrong mistakenly. That said, incorrect installation can cause friction and damage both brake discs and pads. Therefore, bad brake discs must be fixed to avoid car jerking when the brake pedal is pressed.
WORN-OUT BRAKE PADS AND DISCS
Bad brake pads and discs can cause a jerk in the car when you press brake pedals. Besides, you can hear squeaking sounds when the brake pads are worn out. Therefore, you will need to get the worn-out brake discs or pads replaced.
If your car has soft brake discs and hard pads, the brake pads will damage the discs when they come in contact with each other. That said, it will later cause a car to jerk when braking.
BAD BRAKE ROTORS
Corroded brake rotors can cause a jerking effect. After a certain period, brake rotors are subject to excessive wear and tear due to overheating and rapid cooling. That said, this deformity of brake rotors is easily noticeable when the brake pads press against the rotors and cause a car to jerk.
ABS ACTUATION FAILURE
An anti-lock braking system (ABS) helps in gaining traction and doesn’t lock the wheels when brakes are applied. However, if the ABS fails, it can cause abrupt braking under normal conditions.
In this case, the ABS warning light on the dashboard will light up and you will have to diagnose the problem further to resolve this ABS failure.
WORN-OUT STEERING OR WHEEL BEARINGS
A car uses many bushings, bearings, and connections that dampen any vibrations. However, your car may jerk forward when braking if the steering or wheel bearings are worn-out.
WHY DOES MY CAR JERK WHEN MAINTAINING SPEED OR SLOWING DOWN?
Even if you haven’t applied brakes, you might feel car jerking while maintaining speed. There are several causes for this sluggish car acceleration and jerking that can be repaired. Let’s go through the following problems causing unusual vibrations when you accelerate or decelerate your vehicle:
- Transmission problems
- Bad mass airflow (MAF) sensor
- Clogged spark plug or ignition coil
- Fuel pump or filter problems
- Bad fuel injectors
- Blocked catalytic converter
- Dirty air filter
When you accelerate and decelerate a vehicle’s speed, you may feel a jerk when changing gears. This car jerk may occur due to a faulty transmission control module. That said, this can happen in both manual and automatic transmissions.
With an automatic transmission, the gear changes may delay resulting in jerks. Although this problem isn’t the most common one in car jerks, it is recommended to check the transmission as well.
BAD MAF SENSOR
The mass airflow sensor (MAF) is responsible for the right air-fuel ratio. If your car has a faulty MAF sensor, you will be required to troubleshoot the problem and replace it as it may cause drag when accelerating or decelerating.
WORN-OUT SPARK PLUG OR IGNITION COIL
The basic function of a spark plug is to ignite the air-fuel mixture. If your engine has clogged spark plugs or a faulty ignition coil, it may delay the fuel ignition. Besides, a check engine light will illuminate when you have worn-out spark plugs.
When you check the engine diagnostic code using an OBD scanner, ‘P0301’ will indicate the problem with either the spark plug, ignition coil, or distributor.
FUEL SYSTEM PROBLEMS
A bad fuel filter or pump may cause car jerks as the required fuel amount won’t be supplied. Moreover, this problem can also cause engine cranking but the car won’t start. Therefore, take your car to an expert mechanic who will diagnose the problem and repair it.
BAD FUEL INJECTORS
When your car has corroded or worn-out fuel injectors, it won’t spray the right amount of fuel. That said, it won’t have the required air-fuel ratio causing the car to jerk when accelerating from the stop.
Whenever the electronic control unit (ECU) detects the lean mixture, you will be able to determine it with the car diagnostic tool. The codes for bad fuel injectors are ‘P0171’ and ‘P0174’.
CATALYTIC CONVERTER PROBLEM
Your catalytic converter might get blocked due to the rich air-fuel mixture flowing through it. A clogged catalytic converter will lead to car jerking when the driver presses the accelerator pedal. Replacing this catalytic converter with a new one can resolve your problem.
DIRTY AIR FILTER
The basic function of an air filter is to clean the dirt from the air. If your car air filter has residues left over it, it won’t allow the air to pass through them properly. In that case, you will need to replace the air filter to avoid car jerks or engine misfiring.
Scheduling regular maintenance can help you avoid car jerks and unwanted noises. Besides, if you buy a used car in the UAE, ensure that it is inspected properly to eliminate any future issues arising from worn-out or clogged components.
Moreover, engine braking can cause issues in car if not done properly.
Keep reading the UAE’s leading auto blog to learn the causes and solutions to some of the common car problems.