Why Does My Truck Jerk When I Accelerate? (9 Reasons Why)

Depending on what kind of truck you have, you may be used to random jerks while you drive. However, noticing that your truck often jerks when you perform specific actions could be a sign of an underlying problem.

If your truck jerks when you accelerate, you may be curious about what is causing it. We looked up the facts, and here is what we found!

Why Does My Truck Jerk When I Accelerate?

1. Blockages

Usually, blockages are a common reason why your truck will jerk whenever you try to accelerate it.

A blockage may be within your truck’s engine and prevent it from getting the fuel the truck requires to accelerate.

Generally, fuel will mix with air to make a spray to give your truck’s engine power. If a blockage interrupts this, your car will likely jerk and struggle when accelerating.

2. Dirty Fuel Injectors

Another common reason why truck accelerators jerk is that the fuel injectors are dirty, and dirty fuel injectors can cause your engine to misfire.

Fuel injectors are in charge of delivering fuel to your truck’s engine cylinders, which you will need to accelerate.

Usually, fuel injectors become dirty as a result of residue carbon or old fuel causing clogs in the filter baskets or the fuel injectors themselves.

Normally, your car will lose power when you try to accelerate at a steady speed because of dirty fuel injectors.

3. Clogged Air Filters

Your air filters are an important part of your truck because they keep pollutants and debris out of your truck’s engine.

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However, the longer you use your air filters, the more likely they will get clogged with various debris and pollutants.

As such, your air filters will not allow proper airflow to your engine, which will cause your truck struggle to during acceleration and lead to jerking.

Normally, you can remove your air filters and wipe them down to clean them, or you can replace them with new air filters.

4. Faulty Spark Plugs

Spark plugs give a spark that ignites the fuel and air mixture to make an explosion, causing your engine to create power.

However, these spark plugs can become worn out and preventing them from quickly and effectively  lighting the fuel within your truck’s piston.

Normally, this will prevent your truck from accelerating quickly, and you may feel your truck jerk while during acceleration.

Generally, it is recommended to have the spark plugs replaced instead of trying to repair the spark plug.

5. Clogged Catalytic Converters

Clogged Catalytic Converters

Occasionally, your catalytic converter can get clogged, and if it does, it is likely the reason why your truck jerks while accelerating.

Your catalytic converter is responsible for turning harmful gas pollutants into less dangerous gases.

Sometimes, the mixture of air and fuel that goes through your catalytic converter can be too rich, causing a clog in the catalytic converter.

As such, accelerating your truck will lead to jerking because the gas will not be passing through your catalytic converter.

Usually, you can ask a mechanic to clean the catalytic converter or get a catalytic converter cleaner to fix it.

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6. Faulty Cylinders

Your engine has cylinders, which are crucial parts that serve as a chamber where fuel is combusted to generate power.

However, these cylinders can get damaged, causing the engine to misfire and work improperly, causing your truck jerk when you try to accelerate.

Ideally, it would be best to have these cylinders replaced or repaired as soon as possible, as a faulty cylinder can ruin your truck’s engine.

7. Your Mass Airflow Sensor Is Faulty

Another common reason your truck jerks while accelerating is that your mass airflow sensor is failing or faulty.

Generally, the mass airflow sensor is in charge of measuring how much air enters your truck’s engine and then sends this information to your truck’s computer.

Once your truck’s computer gets the information, the computer tells the fuel injectors when and how much fuel your truck needs.

However, a failing mass airflow sensor will not be able to properly measure how much air gets into your engine, causing the mass airflow sensor to send the wrong information.

As such, you will notice your truck jerk when you try to accelerate along with sudden surging forward or jerking while you drive fast.

Furthermore, you will know there is an issue with your mass airflow sensor if your truck’s check engine light is illuminated.

8. Buildup Of Moisture

Occasionally, condensation can enter your distributor cap and build up, especially if the weather is cold and damp.

If there is too much moisture stuck in the distributor cap, your truck’s engine can misfire and make your truck jerk when you try to accelerate.

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Commonly, moisture buildup occurs when you leave your car parked outside for long periods.

9. Worn-Out Accelerator Cable

If your truck uses a throttle cable or physical accelerator cable, it could be the reason your truck jerks while accelerating.

Usually, this accelerator cable can become damaged or worn out, causing your truck to respond slowly when you press the gas pedal.

That said, this causes your truck to lurch forward instead of smoothly accelerating, hence the jerking.

To know more, you can also read our posts on why your truck shakes when parked, why your truck says reduced engine power, and why your truck is blowing blue smoke.


Trucks can jerk for various reasons, and some of the more common causes include an issue with the sensors in the truck, such as the mass airflow sensor.

Additionally, faulty or failing cylinders, spark plugs, and accelerator cables can make it difficult for your truck to accelerate, causing your truck to jerk.

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