Car Jerks Left to Right When Driving? Reasons Discussed!

Your car was fine the other day and suddenly you notice some jerking issues? Well, you are obviously not the first one. And probably not the last one either! Car owners face this terrible problem every now and then due to many reasons.

So, why does your car jerks left to right when driving?

Car jerking left to right is caused by washed-up bushings and tire alignment. Almost 90% of the cases of car jerking happen due to these two reasons. However, there are several others too. For example, bad fuel injectors, dirty spark plugs, and moisture in distributor caps are some other reasons.

While you might think there couldn’t be any other causes, there actually are! 

So, put on your seatbelts because this will be a long ride!

6 Common Causes for Your Car to Jerk (With Solutions!)

Before I begin the actual discussion, a short preface is required. Otherwise, you might find yourself lost in the midst of so many segments!

Now, you observed your car steering jerks while driving and that’s one thing.

But what does it mean when your car jerks while driving?

Car jerks may indicate your car’s transmission fluid needs to be changed. It can also mean that your car tire alignment is not properly done. Moreover, the jerking problem can notify you about bad fuel injectors or spark plugs.

observed your car steering jerks

Whatever the reason might be, there will be no reason for you to worry in the end. Because you’ll get to know all the possible reasons and their solution.

So, let’s start with the worn-out bushing problems!

Reason 1: Worn Out Bushings

Bushings can significantly reduce the shock or movement while driving. However, when it gets worn out, you’ll find yourself in quite the pickle. Because there are many issues that worn-out bushings bring.

And one of those problems is car swerves when driving straight!

The car swerving when driving straight can be caused by worn-out bushings. So, your bushings obviously require some attention. Now, let’s see how to solve the issue.


Well, old bushings have to be replaced with new ones. That’s the proper way to look at this particular problem. The replacement cost of a new arm bushing falls between $20 to $100. 

However, the cost will go up if you can’t change it yourself.

So, think about whether you want to go for DIY or a proper repair shop care. 

Now, let’s move on to the next problem in line which is related to your tires.

Reason 2: Tire Alignment

You might think that your tire alignment can’t cause the jerking issue. Well, can bad tires make your car pull?

Yes, your bad tire alignment can actually make your car pull to the left and right. When the tire alignment is not balanced, your car can pull you off the road. Moreover, it can badly affect your driving experience.

Tire Alignment

There are many car owners who suffered from the alignment issue. Some even let out their disappointment on social media as well-

So, let’s look at the possible solution for this reason.


A tire alignment issue arises when you change any component of your wheel or tire. So, if you have changed any parts recently, that might’ve caused the problem. 

Contact your car mechanic about the issue and try to resolve it by a thorough inspection.

Reason 3: Dirty or Damaged Fuel Filter

Screeching noise while changing gear can be heard due to clutch issues. And that same clutch issue can result in fuel filter damage too!

Damaged Fuel Filter

Now, what are the symptoms of a bad fuel filter

The symptoms of bad fuel filters are slow acceleration, insufficient fuel in the engine, jerking, etc. While bad fuel filters can be dangerous, it’s not that hard to solve the issues. 

Let’s have a look!


If your fuel filter is just dirty, then you can give it a nice cleaning. But that’s only applicable for the dirty ones. The damaged filters won’t function properly with just your regular cleaning. You’ll have to change it entirely.

But finding good deals for your fuel filters can be troublesome. You’ll need to go through tons of requirements and all. 

Well, what if there were universal filters for your car? Here are some of the great deals you’ll ever find-

So, get yourself a new fuel filter and start repairing it!

Reason 4: Muddy Fuel Injectors

Fuel injectors supply steam to the cylinder to start the engine. Now when the injectors get clogged up, they can’t supply enough steam to the cylinders. You will notice jerking acceleration as an indicator. 

Muddy Fuel Injectors

Car stalling after releasing clutch from neutral issue can be another indicator of bad fuel injectors. 

Now, what could be the solution to this huge problem?


Similar to fuel filters, you can start with cleaning. I mean, what else to do if your fuel injectors are all dirty. You can also check out a good cleaning fluid such as Lucas Oil Fuel Treatment and start rubbing the dirt off!

Also, you can use fuel injector cleaner kits. If you don’t have one, I think it’s high time you check one out. I’ve personally used ALLOSUN Fuel Injector Cleaning Tool and FUAN Universal Car Fuel Injector Cleaning. These two proved to be very good cleaning sets.

You should also check if there’s any damage or breakage. If there is, then all you need to do is to replace it.

You may require expert help if you can’t replace the unit yourself.

Reason 5: Broken or Damaged Spark Plugs

If you’re concerned with what causes steering wheel to jerk when turning, you’re in the right segment. Here, our prime focus will be on your spark plugs.


You probably already know that spark plugs help the fuel and air mixture to start ignition. 

But if those are not working properly, your car might start losing control every now and then. As a result, you’ll see jerking or shaking issues.

So, you’ll have to check the spark plugs to assess their condition.


Manufacturers recommend replacing old plugs with new in every 20,000 to 30,000 miles. If you’ve gone way past that mark, then it’s probably the right time to change it. NGK spark plugs and Autolite spark plugs are some of the best ones on the market.

Even the replacement process is not that tedious as well. So, you won’t have any issues regarding spark plugs after this!

Reason 6: Distributor Cap Moisture

If you’re in a snowy environment, then you have to consider this reason for car jerking. Because of the moisture outside, your car’s distributor cap can get too cloudy inside. While a moisturizer can be good for your health, it’s not the same for your car.

So, don’t rack your brain too much with this issue because the solution is quite easy.


Well, the solution is quite intuitive actually! You just have to dry the distributor cap a bit. And also, avoid any moist or chilled place to park. 

Try to park your car in a warm spot so that it does not face the same issue.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can Transmission Cause My Car to Jerk?

Yes, it’s completely possible for your transmission to make your car jerk. But that’s only when your transmission is not functioning well. If you notice any jerking or shaking issue while shifting gear, then there’s a problem. You’ll have to check the transmission fluid as soon as possible. 

Why Is My Car Jerking When I Press the Gas?

Pressing the gas enables your car to start the combustion process. Now, the combustion process can go smoothly when your spark plug is good. If it’s not, then the ignition will not go properly, and you’ll observe your car to be jerking. So, the reason behind the car jerking while pressing gas is a bad spark plug.

How Often Should I Change My Transmission Fluid to Avoid Jerking?

To avoid any jerking, it’s a good practice to change the transmission fluid every 30,000 miles. Most car experts suggest the range of 30,000 miles to 60,000 miles for manual drives. On the other hand, automatic cars can take some time to change the fluid. For those, the range is around 60,000 to 100,000 miles.


Now you’re ready to solve any problem related to car jerks left to right when driving

But don’t try to solve everything yourself if you lack the knowledge. 

Otherwise, you might have to face severe consequences.

So, be careful about your car at all costs!

Robert Lozano

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