Chevy Cruze Jerking When Accelerating: Causes and Fixes

A Chevy Cruze jerking when accelerating points towards one of many possible reasons. The most prevalent among them, however, is blocked air or fuel filters. Chevy Cruze Jerking when Accelerating This complete guide will help you detect the cause of car jerking by suggesting diagnosing practices. You will also find easy and inexpensive ways to fix your Cruze, so let’s get started!

Why Does the Chevrolet Cruze Jerk When You Accelerate?

The Chevrolet Cruze jerks when you accelerate because it has defective or dirty fuel injectors, fuel pumps, or air filters. Impaired spark plugs, an accelerating cable, or a transmission module also cause jerking. Moreover, clogged catalytic converters and broken engine or transmission mounts create a jerking sensation while driving.
  • Filthy or Defective Fuel Injection Devices

A fuel injection device comes in contact with the car fuel and sprays it evenly in the engine. The engine then burns fuel to carry out the combustion process. A problem with the fuel injector Chevy Cruze can create a jerky drive, especially while accelerating. There are two possibilities, i.e., the injectors can develop defects or get blocked because of contaminants. A defective injector will fail to spray the fuel evenly, and as a result, the fuel-air ratio in the engine will change. Jerking Chevrolet Cruze Consequently, the combustion will be irregular and the engine will jerk. Similarly, a clogged injector will fail to provide the required fuel to the engine. The unstable fuel intake will reduce the engine efficiency and it will jerk. You can detect a blocked injector if you hear a ticking noise. The injectors clog due to the following reasons:
  • Using substandard fuel with additives or sedimenting compounds
  • Accumulation of impurities, such as debris, dust, or dirt, in the fuel system
  • Accumulation of combustion by-products, such as carbon compounds, on the injector
  • Moisture or water in the fuel system leads to corrosion, and the buildup blocks the injector nozzle
  • Abandoning the car for too long results in the evaporation of fuel, so the leftover deposits block the injector
Similarly, failure on the part of the pump can have similar results. The failed fuel system pump allows lean or rich fuel mixture into the combustion chamber. The rich fuel mixture does not burn completely and produces a hydrocarbon-rich gas that later reacts in the converter.
  • Blocked Air Intake on Chevy Cruze

Your car needs the correct balance of fuel and air in the combustion chamber. A blockage in the air intake would reduce the engine’s efficiency and cause Chevy Cruze jerking when braking. The inlet can get clogged if it is wide open or the car is parked near a pile of leaves or dirt. These particles settle on the opening and reduce the gap through which the car takes in the air.
  The air input system has a filter to purify the air before it enters the engine. If you avoid regular filter maintenance, your car will have a clogged air filter and the engine might misfire. The air inlet also gets jammed during winter because of the accumulated snow on the inlet. Moreover, animals or birds try to get inside the engine bay to stay warm and build nests, blocking the air passage.
  • Worn Cruze Spark Plugs

Sparking plugs, as the name suggests, are responsible for igniting the initial spark that burns the fuel in the engine. If your 2013 Chevy Cruze sputters when accelerating and the engine misfires, your first guess should be faulty engine plugs. Normally, the plugs work for 20,000 to 30,000 miles before they need replacement. They experience high pressure throughout their lifespan and get weaker as they age. Apart from the car jerks, you will notice an inability to accelerate and rough idle. The following issues contribute to damage to the plugs:
  • Carbon or oil deposits on the plugs due to a disrupted air-fuel ratio or oil burning in the engine
  • Wear and tear due to a prolonged exposure to high temperatures
  • The improper gap between the electrodes
  • Oil, dirt, or coolant contamination
  • Impaired Accelerator Cable

The 2014 Chevy Cruze bucking or jerking can also be explained by an impaired accelerator or throttle cable. Older cars have an accelerator or throttle cable that connects the car’s pedal to the throttle body. The cable works like a mechanical component because the farther you push it with your foot, the more fuel-air mixture will enter the engine. As a result, the car will easily speed up. Damage to the cable will cause jerking when you try to accelerate. The cable can get corroded if exposed to moisture. It happens if there is a leakage in the car due to cracked seals or gaskets. The cable stretches or frays over time. Moreover, accidents, contamination, and misalignment can also damage it.
  • Obstructed Catalytic Converter Causes Jerks

A Chevy Cruze jerking when stopped is caused by an obstructed exhaust catalyst. The converter converts certain chemicals in the exhaust gas into simpler forms that do not impose a threat to the environment. Although the converter does not need a replacement for around 10 years, it can get jammed due to some reasons. As a result, the engine loses its efficiency and starts to jerk. The converter usually gets jammed because of the fuel-air reactions inside the exhaust system. The products accumulate on it along with other contaminants such as dirt or debris. Moreover, an oil or coolant seepage inside the combustion engine produces compounds that settle on the converter. You should also avoid substandard fuel additives because they clog the converter in the long run.
  • Jerky Transmission

A problem with the transmission control module (TCM) of your Cruze can cause a jerky experience. Cars with an automatic transmission contain this module that coordinates all operations to ensure a smooth ride. The module works with some sensors that help it analyze the speed, load, and other factors. The module then uses these parameters to ensure smooth gear changes. Since TCM operates to provide a smooth drive, a defect in the module will have the opposite impact. You will find the car jerky, especially when you speed up. The module may damage due to voltage spikes or short circuits. These and other electric failures lead to overheating and hurt the transmission system. Since dirty transmission fluid also damages the TCM, you can inspect it for color changes.
  • Bad Engine or Transmission Mounts Jerk

If your 2013 Chevy Cruze jerks when stopped, you might have displaced engine or transmission mounts. The mounts are present in the car’s chassis to minimize the vibrations by securing the engine or transmission components. A problem with the mounts creates a jerking sensation throughout the car. You should not take this matter lightly because damaged mounts lead to severe problems. The bad mounts misalign the transmission and engine, and when they lose harmony, the car jolts. The effect is higher at high speeds. You will also feel poor gear engagement in this scenario.

How To Fix a Chevy Cruze That Jerks During Acceleration?

You can fix a Chevy Cruze that jerks during acceleration by cleaning its filthy fuel injectors. Replacing worn spark plugs will also stabilize the car so you can replace them yourself or hire a mechanic. Lastly, cleaning the jammed exhaust catalyst will ensure a smooth Cruze drive.
  • Clean the Filthy Fuel Injection Devices

If you hear ticking from the injector, you should clean it. You can buy an injector cleaning solution for $10 to $30 per bottle. These cleaners come with instructions, so stick to them. You can also hire a mechanic to do it for you. However, you can avoid trouble by using high-quality pure fuel in your Cruze.
  • Replace Spark Plugs

The spark plug replacement is not a tricky or expensive procedure. You can get it done by a professional for $30 to $150 or do it yourself if you have a spark plug gap tool, sockets, and wrenches. Before starting, let the engine cool down. You should also disconnect the battery to prevent any accidents while you perform the procedure. Fix a Chevy Cruze That Jerks Once the engine is cold, find the sparking plugs on the cylinder head. The plugs will be sitting on a thick wire-like structure, i.e., the ignition coil. Then you can remove the clips or bolts holding the coil and remove the wire. Use the spark plug socket and remove the plug by turning it counterclockwise. Use the gap tool to analyze the gap between plug electrodes. If the gap is wider or narrower than the ideal gap mentioned in the car manual, remove the plug and attach a new one. Accomplish the same for all plugs, and then test your Cruze by driving it for a while.
  • Clean the Jammed Catalytic Converter

If your 2015 Chevy Cruze jerks when stopped because of a jammed exhaust catalyst, you can clean it. Some additives that you can add to the fuel tank are now commercially available. They dissolve or remove any deposits in the converter. You can also get a car service so the professionals can take out the converter and clean it thoroughly. It can cost anywhere between $100 to $1,200, depending on the blockage. Acceleration Problem on Chevy

Will Fixing a Car Running Lean Also Solve the Issue of a Chevy Cruze Jerking When Accelerating?

Fixing a car running lean may not necessarily solve the issue of a Chevy Cruze jerking when accelerating. While a lean condition can cause a lack of power, hesitation, or misfires, jerking during acceleration could have various causes. It’s crucial to conduct a proper diagnosis to identify all potential problems accurately and address them accordingly.


Now you are familiar with all reasons behind a Chevy Cruze jerking when accelerating. You can use this information to diagnose the troubling part inside your Chevrolet. The following points can help you restore a smooth Chevy drive:
  • The jerky acceleration is caused by a clogged fuel system, blocked air inlet, or obstructed exhaust catalyst.
  • It can also occur due to a faulty mass airflow sensor, bad mounts, or worn spark plugs in the engine.
  • You can stop the car from jerking by cleaning the exhaust gas converter or fuel injection devices.
Remember that restoring the car’s smooth drive is necessary for your safety and engine performance!
5/5 - (15 votes)
Ran When Parked