Skip to Content

Why Is My Chrysler Pacifica Jerking When Accelerating?

If your Chrysler Pacific is jerking when you accelerate, it can be a scary feeling. Though there are a variety of things that could be causing the problem. Let's take a look at some of the potential causes to help you get to the bottom of what's going on.

If your Chrysler Pacifica is jerking when accelerating, it could be due to the following reasons:

  • Dirty fuel injectors
  • Slipping transmission
  • Worn spark plugs
  • Clogged air filter
  • Damaged/clogged fuel lines
  • Failed sensors
  • Clogged catalytic converter
  • Moisture on distributor cap
  • Bad fuel pump
  • Damaged cylinders

As you can see, there is a laundry list of things that could be causing your Pacifica to jerk when accelerating. Not to worry—we will discuss each of these in more detail so that you can get your car back on the road in no time. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about the Chrysler Pacifica, so read on!

Before you continue reading, let us say we hope you find the links here useful. If you purchase something through a link on this page, we may get a commission, so thank you!

Chrysler Pacifica SUV minivan display at the transmission plant, Why Is My Chrysler Pacifica Jerking When Accelerating?

Chrysler Pacifica Is Jerking When Accelerating—What Could Be Wrong?

Like other vehicles on the road, the Chrysler Pacifica isn't immune to the occasional mechanical problem. However, we know that any issue with your car can be frustrating, especially if it's something like jerking when accelerating.

Before we get into the potential causes of this problem, it's important to first understand how your Pacifica engine works. The engine in your car is essentially a big air pump.

It takes in air, mixes it with fuel, and ignites it to create power. This process happens thousands of times per minute, and it's how your car is able to run.

With that said, if any of these things aren't working in harmony, it can lead to your car jerking when you hit the gas. Let's take a look at some of the potential causes so that you can get to the bottom of what's going on.

Chrysler Pacifica, A Family Minivan on a sideway

Dirty Fuel Injectors

Back in the day, vehicles used carburetors to mix air and fuel before they entered the engine. However, most modern cars, including the Chrysler Pacifica, have fuel injectors.

Fuel injectors are responsible for spraying a fine mist of fuel into the engine. This mixture then combines with air to be ignited and create power.

Over time, however, fuel injectors can become clogged with dirt and debris. When this happens, they are not able to spray the proper amount of fuel into the engine. This can lead to your car jerking when you hit the gas because the engine isn't getting the right mixture of air and fuel.

One way to clean your fuel injectors is to use a fuel injector cleaner. This is a chemical additive that you can add to your gas tank that will help clean the injectors as you drive.

Slipping Transmission

A slipping transmission is often to blame when a car jerks while accelerating. If your Pacifica has an automatic transmission, it uses a set of gears to change the speed of the car as you accelerate.

The engine power is transferred to the transmission, and the transmission then transfers that power to the wheels. However, if there is something wrong with the transmission, it can cause the car to jerk.

Worn Spark Plugs

Spark plugs play a vital role in the combustion process of your engine. In short, they are responsible for igniting the air/fuel mixture so that the engine can run.

Over time, however, spark plugs can become worn out. When this happens, they are not able to create a strong enough spark to ignite the mixture.

This can lead to your car jerking when you hit the gas because the engine isn't getting the power it needs to run smoothly.

Typically, failed spark plugs will throw a check engine light. So, if you're experiencing this problem, it's a good idea to get your car plugged into a diagnostic machine to see if that's the issue.

Clogged Air Filter

Another easy fix for your car jerking when accelerating is to check the engine air filter. Like we said before, the engine in your car is essentially a big air pump.

It takes in air, mixes it with fuel, and ignites it to create power. If the air filter is clogged, however, it can restrict the amount of air that's getting into the engine. This can lead to your car jerking when you hit the gas because the engine isn't getting enough air.

Fortunately, checking and replacing your air filter is a pretty easy process. Simply pop the hood and locate the filter. If it looks dirty, then go ahead and replace it with a new one.

You can buy an air filter at just about any auto parts store, and they're usually pretty cheap. Replacing it is also a pretty easy process, so you can definitely do it yourself if you're feeling handy.

comparison between new and used air filter for car, automotive spare part

Damaged/Clogged Fuel Lines

Another potential cause of your car jerking when you hit the gas pedal is damaged or clogged fuel lines.

Over time, the fuel lines in your car can become brittle and crack. When this happens, fuel can leak out, and air can get in. This can lead to your car jerking when you hit the gas because the engine isn't getting the proper mixture of air and fuel.

In addition, the fuel lines can also become clogged with dirt and debris. When this happens, it can restrict the flow of fuel to the engine. This can also lead to your car jerking when you hit the gas because the engine isn't getting enough fuel.

If you suspect that this is the problem, then it's a good idea to take your car to a mechanic and have them take a look. Fuel lines are a pretty delicate part of the car, so it's best to leave this one to the professionals.

Failed Sensors

Your Chrysler Pacifica has several sensors that are responsible for sending information to the computer. This information is used to help the computer make adjustments to the engine so that it runs properly.

For example, if the mass airflow sensor detects that there's not enough air flowing into the engine, it will tell the computer to add more fuel. If the mass airflow sensor is damaged, however, it can give the computer the wrong information.

This can lead to your car jerking when you hit the gas because the engine isn't getting the proper mixture of air and fuel.

A failed sensor will almost always show a check engine light. You can also have your car plugged into a diagnostic machine to check for any codes that may be related to a failed sensor.

Clogged Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter is a part of the exhaust system that's responsible for converting harmful pollutants into harmless gases.

Over time, however, the catalytic converter can become clogged with dirt and debris. When this happens, it can restrict the flow of exhaust gases. This can lead to your car jerking when you hit the gas because the engine isn't able to breathe properly.

The catalytic converter is a delicate part of the car, so it's best to leave this one to the professionals.

Mechanic repairing a car

Moisture On Distributor Cap

The distributor cap's job is to send electricity to the spark plugs so that they can ignite the air/fuel mixture in the cylinders.

If moisture accumulates on the distributor cap, however, it can interfere with the flow of electricity. This can cause the spark plugs to misfire, which can lead to your car jerking when you hit the gas.

This is a common problem for people who live in colder climates. The best way to prevent it is to make sure that you keep the area around the distributor cap clean and free of moisture.

Bad Fuel Pump

Without a good fuel pump, your car simply won't run. The fuel pump is responsible for sending gasoline from the tank to the engine.

If the fuel pump fails, then it can cause your car to jerk when you hit the gas because the engine isn't getting the proper mixture of air and fuel.

A bad fuel pump will usually show a check engine light. It can also make a whining noise when you start the car. If you suspect that this is the problem, then it's best to take your car to a mechanic and have them take a look.

Damaged Cylinders

Damage car cylinder need replacement

At worst, your car may have damaged cylinders. This can be caused by a number of things, but the most common is poor maintenance.

In other words, if you let one of the other issues above go for too long without fixing it, then it can damage the cylinders. And once the cylinders are damaged, there's not much that can be done.

A damaged cylinder could cause a flashing check engine light. A flashing check engine light is not something that you should ignore because it means that the engine is in danger of being damaged beyond repair.

If you see a flashing check engine light, then get your Chrysler Pacifica towed to a mechanic as soon as possible.

Final Thoughts

Chrysler Pacifica SUV minivan display at the transmission plant

As you can see, there are a number of potential causes for your car to jerk when you hit the gas. And while some of them may be more serious than others, it's always best to have your car checked out by a mechanic if you're unsure what the problem is.

Made it to the end? Here are other articles you might find helpful:

Why Does My Chrysler Pacifica Battery Keep Dying?

How Much Luggage Can Fit In A Chrysler Pacifica?

Chrysler Pacifica Door Not Closing – What To Do?