Car Jerks When Idle – What Are Causes & What To Do?

Many drivers used to experience once that their car jerks when idle. For some who don’t know, if the vehicle is idling, it is at its lowest speed, and the gas pedal is not engaged.

Car jerking when idle means the car has short-term or prolonged vibrations.

Let’s find the quick answers to “why is my car jerking while idling.” Besides, it will also help you know what to do when you experience this problem.

Why My Car Jerks When Idle?

car jerks when idle
What The Causes Of Car Jerks When Idle

There might be various causes for your engine jerking when idle. Most faults involve the power and ignition systems.

Sometimes, internal combustion engine (ICE) or engine control unit components are to blame. Read the common reasons below for more information.

Poor Spark Plugs

Can spark plugs cause car to jerk? A gas engine needs a spark to be sent to every engine cylinder at the right moment to run efficiently.

When a car’s ignition system fails, it will cause a lurch or pause, particularly at low speeds.

High-voltage wires and faulty spark plugs are prevalent sources of such problems.

A spark plug could be broken, unclean from carbon deposits, and so on, resulting in an unsteady or weak spark.

Ignition System Issues

If a spark shatters through the wire insulation, it will cause the same effects as the engine jerking. Extra care should go to the switch, ignition coil, distributor, and ignition module.

Based on the ignition system, its components should be examined.

Bad Air Filter

In addition, if the vehicle jerks when idling, ensure that the fuel and air filters are in good status. When the filter is faulty, the engine lacks oxygen to create the fuel-air combination.

Similarly, cars jerk when airing appears in the electric supply system. The same applies when too much air is drawn in at the intake. In any event, the mixture could be too lean or excessively rich.

Meanwhile, a proper combustion chamber of such a charge is not achieved in the cylinder. Besides, spark plugs could get coated by carbon deposits, making sparking decrease more.

Dirty Fuel Filters 

The fuel filter, similar to an air filter, separates dirt and particles from the gasoline. It may prevent adequate gasoline from reaching the engine when it becomes dirty.

As a result, it leads to jerking in your vehicle. Unclean gasoline filters can create problems like difficulty starting and stalling.

A filthy filter can lead other fuel system sections to malfunction when unexamined. For example, the fuel pump could be forced to perform harder to give more gasoline to the vehicle.

Thus, it might trigger the pump to overheat and fail.

Clogged Fuel Injectors 

The fuel injectors deliver a continuous stream of gas into the cylinders of our vehicle. In case a gas injector becomes clogged, it will supply insufficient fuel to the engine.

Consequently, the gasoline will not be adequately ignited, resulting in misfiring. Vehicle jerking because of dirty fuel injectors is uncommon.

Because injector troubles can cause engine failure, it’s important to look into it.

ECM Problems

The engine control unit or system is another likely cause of yanking a car when it is idle. In this case, remember that the structured system has electronic actuators and sensors.

They all connect with the electronic control module (ECU).

Whenever any sensor fails, misfires or other faults happen, the check engine light will alert the driver.

Simultaneously, a diagnostic error code is shown on the panel screen with the faults of ECM components. You just need to run computer diagnostics to find the problem.

Defective Speed Control Sensor

Some potential reasons for vehicle jerking during idling include issues with the speed sensor. The speed controller can shut the throttle valve and close the air route,

The idle speed gets erratic due to inappropriate functioning and sensor failures. The buildup of many carbon deposits and dirt can also destabilize the idle speed.

In this situation, the vehicle not only yanks, but the idling speed frequently drifts significantly.

Transmission Issues 

Several gearbox problems might cause our automobile to jerk. The automobile may shake or tremble while idling when the automatic transmission fluid is insufficient.

After speeding from a stop, your vehicle may potentially jolt or lurch severely. A faulty transmission control module is also an issue that might make your car jerk.

Because the TCU regulates shifting while you speed, a faulty one might cause the automobile to shift gears unevenly, resulting in jerking.

Blocked or Damaged Fuel Line

Another cause of jerking in the automobile might be a clogged or broken fuel line. The fuel line delivers fuel to the engine, and if it is damaged or blocked, there may be unequal fuel pressure.

Because of the low pressure, the engine can misfire, resulting in jerking. Suppose the leak from the gasoline line is not controlled; it might cause the engine to burst into flames.

Clogged Catalytic Converters

The catalytic converter decreases the number of exhaust particles emitted by the vehicle. When it gets obstructed, it may accumulate exhaust.

The restricted airflow might cause jerks and a variety of other problems. A blocked catalytic converter impacts the car’s engine performance, fuel efficiency and generates greater emissions.

In addition, it will lead to the car bucking on acceleration, driving, or idling. Once you find the car jerking, using more gasoline, or emitting more smoke, you may have a blocked catalytic converter.

What Causes A Car To Jump While Driving?

engine jerking when idle
Why Is A Car To Jump While Driving

Now you know the reasons for your car jumping while idle. But why does your car skips when driving? Generally, the reasons are not different.

Let’s find out the causes and solutions for this phenomenon.

Why Does My Car Jump? 

During cruising, an engine can jerk, hesitate, or stutter for similar reasons during idling.

A misfire on cylinders, a defective mass air flow sensor, and broken wiring are the most common causes of such problems.

When a car’s PCM fails to acquire proper MAF sensor data, fuel distribution cannot be calculated as planned. Besides, a clock spring is a coiled electrical pigtail.

It is attached to the steering wheel of a car. This customized pigtail makes using electrical gadgets that are always in motion easier.

Car Is Lurching While Driving: How To Fix

You need to ensure a clock spring stays clean. It is because a clock spring wears out over time, causing an intermittent opening in the cruise circuit wiring.

When diagnosing the ignition unit, you should also examine the air and fuel supply systems.

In most cases, injectors are defective or filthy. Fuel filters also need to be examined, and fuel lines must be looked for leakage.

Once unsure about the reason, you should take it to a repair shop for a thorough inspection.

What Causes A Car Bucking On Acceleration?

It is time to see why your car jerks when idle and accelerating. It is important. Some less experienced drivers may panic about poor acceleration.

They may lose control and suffer a severe crash.

What Causes My Car Jerks When Accelerating?

Any anomalies inside a car’s ignition system might cause jerking and reluctance when accelerating.

It involved problems with the spark plug, bad coil pack, spark plug wire, distributor, and coil.

Also, other common reasons for such a problem include a faulty fuel pump, filthy injectors, and a clogged fuel filter. Plus, the most common source of such issues is a badly clogged air filter.

How To Fix It

To repair the vehicle, you must first know where the reason lies. As mentioned above, you must keep the injector, fuel pump, and fuel filter clean for prevention.

However, once the problem occurs, bringing your car to service is advisable. It is because a car jerking when idling, cruising, or accelerating can be due to different car components.

A technician will inspect the vehicle thoroughly for you. You will not want to risk your family’s life by temporarily fixing the problem yourself, right? 

Useful Tips For Your Car Jumping While Idle?

why is my car jerking while idling
Useful Tips For You

An engine jerking at slow speeds is more common when the engine is at a low temperature. Take special note of the engine temperature sensor in this scenario.

Defects or errors in its functioning frequently result in the ECU receiving a false signal. It indicates that the engine is heating up when it is still freezing.

Considering the inaccurate temperature sensed data, the ECU instantly decreases the quantity of fuel fed to stop the enhanced “warm-up” revolution mode.

Nevertheless, the cold engine begins to function unsteadily in this scenario, and the engine jumps, and vibrations grow.

The same might occur if air leaks or faults with the mass airflow sensor (MAF).

In this situation, the control unit inaccurately estimates the air that fills the cylinders, violating the correct ratio of fuel and air. The unburned fuel will make dark fumes, and the fuel smell is so bad.

When the diesel car engine jerks at idling, issues with the pressure pump must be included in the list.


Your car jerks when idle. If you experience this problem, you should take them to a service so that they can diagnose the problem.

However, you still need to have some mechanic knowledge above so that you can discuss with technicians and will not bear the redundant cost.

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