Why Is My Nissan Frontier Jerking?

When traveling at high speeds, it can be worrisome to have your Nissan Frontier jerk. Several different issues can cause jerking, all with their own cost to repair. But why would your Frontier be jerking in the first place? We have taken the time to research on your behalf to give the possible reasons for why this is happening.

The most common reasons for your Frontier jerking are failing mass airflow sensor, engine vacuum leak, and fuel pump malfunction. While it is hard to diagnose these issues yourself, a certified mechanic can help. So if your vehicle is jerking at high speeds, slow down, and get it to an auto repair shop as soon as possible.

Vehicles issues are never fun, especially when they occur at higher speeds. Problems like jerking can be dangerous and could cause an accident. In this article, we will take a closer look at the culprits of a Nissan Frontier jerking and how to address the issue. Without further ado, let's get into it.

A pickup Truck Nissan NP300 Navara parked at roadside near a big pine tree, Why Is My Nissan Frontier Jerking?

Why Is My Nissan Frontier Jerking?

Nissan Frontier Truck jerking is a common issue, and there are many possible reasons behind it.

However, if you want to keep your Nissan vehicle running at its best, you need to know how to determine the cause for this jerking. Here are common underlying reasons your Nissan Frontier is jerking.

Nissan NP300 Navara stopped on the hill

Mass Airflow Sensor Malfunction

A malfunctioning mass airflow sensor is a common cause for jerking in the Nissan Frontier. This part of your engine helps to monitor the amount of air that enters your truck's engine.

If this sensor malfunctions, it causes an incorrect reading on the amount of air entering the engine. This causes a fast idle and jerking within your Nissan Frontier as a result.

Engine Vacuum Leak

An engine vacuum leak is another common reason for jerking and may result from a malfunctioning gasket or loose hose. A vacuum leak can cause an inconsistent idle and jerkiness as your Nissan Frontier goes in and out of acceleration.

Fuel Pump Malfunction

If you notice that your truck is jerking, you may have a fuel pump issue. This is another common cause of jerking in the Nissan Frontier.

The fuel pump sends gas to your engine through your fuel lines. If this is not working correctly, it causes uneven acceleration and jerking within your Nissan Truck.

Faulty Gasket or Loose Hose

A faulty gasket or loose hose can cause an engine vacuum leak, which will result in jerking. This is another common reason for issues within your Nissan Frontier and can be easily fixed with the help of a mechanic.

If you want to avoid engine trouble and costly repairs, it is best to get your vehicle serviced regularly.

By getting regular checkups, you will be able to identify issues before they become serious problems that may cost more money in the long run. You can also extend the life of your Nissan Frontier by taking care of minor issues early on.

Engine Misfire

An engine misfire is a common issue that will cause your Nissan Frontier to jerk. This is caused by a buildup of carbon in the cylinders of your engine. Your vehicle may also vibrate when you are driving if this occurs.

An engine misfire is usually an indicator that you need new spark plugs. However, there might be another underlying issue. If you are experiencing an engine misfire, have your Nissan Frontier checked out by a professional as soon as possible.

If this is not taken care of, it will cause more damage to the piston or valves and could result in a broken timing belt, which will cost much more money to fix.

Engine Misfire Due to Failing Spark Plugs

A failing spark plug is another common reason for an engine misfire, and it can cause your Nissan Frontier to jerk.

If the spark plugs in your vehicle are worn down, they won't fire properly and can cause a misfire on one or more cylinders of your engine. When this occurs, you may notice that the engine in your Nissan Frontier is vibrating and shaking when you are driving.

If this is the case, have your truck checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible to get it fixed before there is more damage to other parts of your engine.

Why does my Nissan jerk when I accelerate? 

A jerking motion when you are accelerating in your Nissan is a serious problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. An issue most likely causes this with the engine or transmission within your vehicle.

However, there may also be another underlying cause for this issue, as mentioned above. Regardless of the cause, it is best to get your Nissan checked out by a qualified mechanic as soon as you notice this issue.

Private pickup car Nissan Navara on the road

Can a transmission cause a car to jerk?

Yes, a transmission issue can cause a car to jerk, and the check engine light will indicate this on your dashboard.

If you notice that this light has come on and you also notice jerking when you are accelerating, it is best to get your Nissan checked out as soon as possible so that it does not become more serious and costly in the long run.


How do you fix a car jerking while accelerating?

Depending on the cause of your Nissan Frontier jerking when accelerating, there are different ways to fix this issue. However, it is best to get your vehicle regularly serviced to avoid any underlying issues that could be causing jerking in the first place.

The best way to identify what is causing your truck to jerk is by getting a professional mechanic to check out your Nissan. If you are experiencing an engine misfire that is causing your car to jerk when accelerating, this is usually caused by issues with the spark plugs in your vehicle.

If there is more extensive damage to other parts of your engine, you may need new pistons or valves installed. You will also need to get new timing belts if this is the case.

If there are other issues, you may need to get other parts replaced before your Nissan Frontier can drive smoothly again, so be sure to have a mechanic check out your vehicle as soon as possible.

How long do Nissan Frontier engines last?

How long Nissan Frontier engines last can depend on how they are treated. Motor Biscuit states that you should at least get 100,000 miles out of your Nissan Frontier engine.

This estimate depends on the proper maintenance of the truck and how it is driven over time. This will ensure that most of the parts on your Nissan will be in working order.

Depending on if you are driving, a manual or automatic will determine how long the engine lasts.

Automatic transmissions tend to last longer, as they don't require as much shifting between gears compared to a manual vehicle. Unfortunately, this also means it is more sensitive and easier for the belt to slip.

A Nissan Frontier manual will require more constant use of the clutch and gas pedal to operate correctly. This means that the motor has fewer breaks between shifting gears, making it wear out faster than an automatic vehicle.

Nissan NP300 Navara on mountain road in a snowy winter day

Is a Nissan Frontier worth buying?

According to RepairPal, the Nissan Frontier has an above-average rating when it comes to reliability. However, the Frontier scores a 4 or 5 on the reliability scale, making it 9th out of 32 for all car brands.

There are various issues with the Nissan Frontier that can affect its overall reliability. A few of the most prevalent problems include problems with the electrical system, coolant leaks, and power steering issues.

Be sure to read reviews for your specific Nissan model to ensure that you know what to expect from your truck before buying it.

It is always a great idea to check a CarFax on any used Nissan Frontier before making a buying decision. Knowing the history of the truck is essential. It could keep you from buying a vehicle in an accident, salvage title, or improper maintenance schedule.

All you have to do is go to the CarFax website and enter the VIN of the vehicle you are looking to buy. There may be a fee, but it will be way cheaper than buying a vehicle with issues. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, any vehicle jerking when driving can be a scary moment. However, now that you know how to identify what might be causing this issue, hopefully, it will never happen to you. For any additional questions or concerns, contact a professional mechanic for more information.

If you like this article, you should also read:

What Kind Of Engine Does A Nissan Frontier Have?

Can A Nissan Frontier Be Flat Towed?

How Long Is A Nissan Frontier? (For Various Bed Lengths)

Ever had your vehicle jerk when accelerating? Tell us about your experience below!

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One comment

  1. Jerking or Bucking when accelerating of any Nissan is most often cause by a silent failure of the Crankshaft Position Sensor. OBD scans often do not detect the failure which is only a partial failure of the component in addition to the lack of the appearance of a check engine light.

    This problem can only be rectified by using the appropriate DENSO (OEM Supplier) Sensor for the vehicle.

    This is so because the ohms or resistance, the voltage and the signal from the sensor all have to be at the correct Nissan Specifications to be recognized and accepted by the Nissan Engine Control Modules.

    I’ve tested over 9 aftermarket brands for replacement CKP sensors from accessible online and regular auto parts stores and found the DENSO Sensors to be the only ones to work. The correct sensors can be recognized with the imprints similar to ” A29-662 L41 SGI B002 1707A4″. That imprint is the correct sensor any Nissan with a VQ35DE Engine.

    I am sharing this to help folks to quickly find a resolution to this “Jerking” problem that lots of Nissans have and I’ve resolved.

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