Car Jerks When Slowing Down – What To Do? 

Photo by Oliur on Unsplash

Cargroot is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The sudden jerking of your car when slowing down can be an alarming and dangerous situation. Not only does it hinders the smooth operation of your vehicle, but it can also lead to a potential loss of control and put you as well as others on the road at risk.

That being said, it is essential to understand the root cause of this issue to ensure a proper and safe resolution for the same. This comprehensive guide delves into the common reasons behind car jerking while slowing it down and provides practical solutions for you to address the problem.

So, whether you are a car enthusiast or simply someone who wants to sustain the top-notch condition of their vehicle, this article offers several valuable pieces of information to help you keep your car running optimally.


10 Causes Of Car Jerking When Slowing Down

Warped Rotors

Rotors are a crucial component of the braking system of your vehicle, and when they are warped, they are likely to cause pulsations and vibrations when you apply the brakes. This, in turn, results in a jerking sensation when you slow down your vehicle

It may also decrease the braking performance of your car and can be attributed to numerous factors such as hard braking, extended high-temperature driving, and uneven wear on brake pads. You can get a professional inspection done to determine if they are the root cause of the issue.

In certain instances, you may require replacing the warped rotors to regain proper braking performance and stop the jerking sensations when slowing down your vehicle.

ABS Actuation

Antilock brake system, ABS, is a crucial safety feature that prevents your wheels from locking up in the event of sudden braking, thereby improving your control over the vehicle and ability to steer. However, it can also be a cause for the jerking sensation if not working adequately.

When it is activated, the ABS rapidly pumps the brakes and causes a pulsing or pulsating sensation in the brake pedal. As a result, it felt like a jerking motion in your car, especially when you are slowing it down.

Issues related to ABS can be caused by a number of factors such as worn-out ABS components, failing sensors, malfunctioning ABS control modules, and more. While some fixes are simple, others might be equally complex and expensive to repair.

Compromised Brake Booster

A brake booster is a hydraulic device that assists you in applying the brakes, and decreasing the amount of force you need on the brake pedal. If this specific component isn’t working correctly, it may cause a loss of braking performance and invite jerking sensations when slowing down.

There are several signs that indicate a compromise brake booster such as an increase in the font required to apply brakes, decreased braking performance, heartbreak pedal, and more. Additionally, there can be several reasons for the same.

For instance, a failing check valve, a malfunctioning vacuum pump, a vacuum leak, and more. In most cases, a simple brake booster replacement or repair of the vacuum system might just be all that you need to eliminate those jerking sensations in your vehicle.

Seized Brake Caliper

Your vehicle’s brake caliper is required to apply the brake pads to the rotor that works to slow down your vehicle. In case they become seized or stuck, it may cause uneven braking force on one or more of your wheels that may lead to a pulsating or jerking sensation when slowing down.

It can be caused by a range of factors such as lack of lubrication, corrosion, buildup of dust and debris on breaks, and more. A seized caliper can also cause heat buildup, drag brake, and cause further damage to your braking system.

You may need to replace the seized calipers along with the brake pads or any other damaged component to restore the proper braking performance of your vehicle.

Worn Steering/Suspension Bushings

Bushings are responsible for providing a cushioned connection between the moving parts of the steering and suspension system of your vehicle. As time passes by, these tend to wear down and lead to increased loss of control and stability in your car.

Avon bushing causes your suspension or steering to become loose and results in a bouncing motion in the vehicle especially when you are slowing it down. This, in turn, results in a jerking sensation and a potential decrease in the braking and handling performance of your vehicle.

Transmission Problems

As you may already know, transmission is responsible for transferring power from your vehicle’s engine to the wheels and allows your car to move. If it isn’t working correctly, it can cause several issues such as shifting harshly, losing power, and slipping.

A common transmission-related issue that may cause your car to jerk when slowing down is a slipping clutch. If your vehicle’s clutch is not engaging adequately, the engine may still rev while the vehicle is slowing down, and this lead to jerking sensations.

Other common issues may include damaged or worn-out gears that cause the transmission to shift abruptly and result in a jerking motion. There can be various factors for transmission issues such as low fluid levels, worn-out components, electrical problems, and more.

Faulty MAF Sensor

The mass air flow, MAF, the sensor calculates the amount of air that enters your engine and sends a signal to the ECM that uses it to control the fuel-to-air ratio in your car. If this sensor is malfunctioning, the air-fuel mixture may become lean and lead to engine performance issues.

This includes issues such as rough idling, reduced power, misfires, and more. In some rare cases, a faulty MAF sensor can also cause the engine to run roughly when slowing down and cause jerking sensations. It may also stall or hesitate when coming to a stop.

Compromised Ignition Coils

Ignition coils provide the high-voltage spark required to ignite the air-fuel mixture in your car’s engine cylinders. If one or more of these coils are not functioning appropriately, it may lead to reduced power, rough running, and misfires.

in some rare cases, a misfiring engine can cause jerking sensations when slowing down as the engine may struggle to sustain a smooth idle. It may also stall or hesitate when stopping as the frequency of the misfires increases.

You may need to replace the faulty coils in addition to any other damaged components to regain the proper performance of your engine and eliminate the jerking sensations once and for all.

Sticking Throttle Body

The throttle body in your car is responsible for controlling the amount of air that enters the engine. It is connected to the accelerator pedal through the throttle cable. When it becomes stuck, the engine continues to receive the excess amount of air even after releasing the accelerator pedal.

As a result, it leads to a sudden surge of power that results in a jerking sensation when slowing down your vehicle. You may need to clean the throttle body or replace it altogether, depending on the severity of the issue.

Vacuum Leaks

Vacuum leaks often tend to occur when air enters the engine through an unintended source in your vehicle, thereby disrupting the fine balance of air and fuel in your engine. This causes your engine to run lean, which means there isn’t enough fuel to support the air in the engine.

It might cause several engine performance issues including reduced power and misfires. You may need to repair the vacuum leak and other damaged components to stop the jerking sensations in your vehicle while slowing it down.


What Should You Do When Your Car Jerks While Slowing Down?

If your car jerks when slowing down, here’s what you’re supposed to do:

  • Check Your Gear Shifting – If you drive a manual car, the jerking could be caused by poor shifting. Consult an expert or yourself to check if the downshifting is wrong.
  • Inspect The Brakes – Check the brakes and service them if required. Common problems include air in brake lines or worn brake pads.
  • Transmission Service – If the problem persists, have the transmission serviced. Repairing the transmission is complex, but fixing it is critical.
  • ABS Inspection – The anti-lock brake system (ABS) could also be responsible for the jerking. Check if the ABS warning indicator is on.

Regardless of whatever the issue is, make sure you stay calm and continue driving safely to a mechanic’s workshop. If the safety of the vehicle is compromised, pull over and look for roadside assistance.


Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Fix My Car from Jerking?

As you may have read above, there can be several reasons for your car jerking. Therefore, if you want to fix the issue once and for all, you have to first identify the root cause of it and get the necessary repairs or replacements done in your vehicle.

Can Low Oil Cause Jerking?

Yes, engine oil is responsible to make your driving more comfortable by lubricating the moving parts of your engine. That being said, low oil levels may invite jerking sounds caused due to rough friction between poorly lubricated parts of your engine.

Is Jerking a Transmission Problem?

While transmission can be one of the reasons for your car jerking, there can be several other reasons for the same. If your transmission jerks between gears or is shifting hard, it is a clear indication that you need to repair it quickly.

Final Words

At last, car jerking when slowing down is a common issue that many drivers encounter. Moreover, as you read above, there can be several reasons for such an issue to occur, and the only way to get rid of it completely is to identify and mitigate the root cause of the issue. We hope this guide serves as a comprehensive resource to help you get rid of the issue in no time.


Read More

[Solved] Brake Vibration at High Speeds


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here