Car jerks while driving and warning lights are on

What can be the issue when car started jerking twice in a row while driving then the temperature, abs, traction,& brake illuminated while engine still running

My car has 154234 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
The major causes of sputtering or jerking while driving are caused by fuel, spark, or electrical issues. Due to the number of emergency warning lights that flash, it is likely a power supply issue. This can be caused by a faulty battery.

Start by having the vehicle tested for diagnostic troubleshooting codes. This may shine some light on the situation. You can also test the battery to make sure it working. Other parts that can cause these types of issues include the spark plugs, spark wires, distributor, fuel pump, and fuel injectors. Computer issues may also be to blame. The best way to figure out where to start is from the results of a diagnostic scan or by process of elimination.

I recommend having a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, come to your location to determine why the warning lights are on and suggest the necessary repairs.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

An indication that a vehicle is not receiving the right mixture of air and fuel is if the vehicle jerks or surges forward at high speed. Several components of the fuel or air intake system could cause this jerking or surging sensation to happen. Issues within these systems can also cause fuel economy to worsen.
What could the problem be? There are a range of reasons why your car is juddering when you accelerate. Your vehicle could have dirty fuel injectors, a damaged fuel pump, a blocked catalytic converter, a faulty mass airflow sensor, broken spark plugs, or even an accumulation of moisture.
Defective Mass Airflow Sensor

Having a defective mass airflow sensor could certainly cause your car to jerk or even lung forward while accelerating. The mass airflow sensor helps measures the amount of air that your car engine takes in.

When your car jerks, stumbles or stutters while driving, it usually means something is interfering with the proper distribution and transfer of power from your transmission. Another example is if you`re driving a manual transmission and haven`t gained the feel of shifting for your particular vehicle.
An engine that is hesitating to accelerate is most likely dealing with a fuel/air mixture that is too lean. Engine`s that are running inefficiently will begin to show signs like hesitation which will only become worse over time.
The most common reason for a car jerk while accelerating is that one or more of your spark plugs may be going bad, which will lessen performance if the problem persists. If you think this might be the case, have a professional check them and replace them if necessary.
A jerking car could signify a number of issues from a dirty air filter to a clogged catalytic converter. And if left unchecked for too long, the issue could cause major, more costly problems.
When the camshaft sensor fails, you may experience the car jerking while losing power or the car may struggle to move faster than ~35-40 mph. The engine may also stall intermittently, produce poor performance, hard starting, surging or fail to produce an ignition spark.
Transmission Range Sensor (TR)/ Transmission Position Sensor

The PCM uses this information to control which gears of the transmission to enable or disable. When the TR sensor fails it can cause wrong gear starts, no upshifts, or what feels like a falling-out-of-gear condition.

A car that surges or jerks at high speed is potentially dangerous, especially in heavy traffic or in bad weather. If your vehicle jerks at high speed, you should stop driving it and have it inspected by a mechanic.
If the alternator is not charging the battery and not providing enough voltage into the system then you will get this jerking. If there is not enough power in the system, then the computer will have trouble shifting the transmission properly among other possible issues.
It`s extremely unlikely, but if the alternator has gone bad, and the battery is just about dead, the car COULD POSSIBLY jerk or surge right before it quits running because the battery can no longer supply enough juice to properly run the fuel pump, etc.
Any Focus model outfitted with that gearbox has suffered from various transmission issues. Many drivers complained about shuddering, hesitations, and jerking while driving their Focus. Other Focus generations have fared better in reliability.
Dirty or low oil levels can cause your car to jerk or hesitate while driving. This is because the engine is not getting the lubrication it needs to operate smoothly. If you notice your car jerking or hesitating while driving, it is important to get it checked by a mechanic.
One of the most common causes of a sputtering engine is an issue with the vehicle`s fuel system—the filter, pump, and injectors. These three critical components work together to ensure fuel flows smoothly from the fuel tank to your engine`s fuel injectors, and then pumps into the engine evenly.
FACT #4: YOU SHOULD CHANGE SPARK PLUGS EVERY 100K MILES OR SO. So, if good spark plugs are the key to avoiding these issues, how long do spark plugs last, exactly? The general rule of thumb about how often to change spark plugs is that they should be replaced after about 100,000 miles of driving.
A catalytic converter regulates the emissions put out by your car. If this element stops working properly, air and fuel can mix unevenly resulting in a stuttering or jerking sensation as you accelerate. To diagnose a clogged or failing catalytic converter, have your vehicle evaluated by a professional.
Turn off your vehicle`s ignition and wait patiently for 5 to 10 seconds. Start the engine and allow it to idle for several seconds. Switch off the ignition and wait patiently for another 30 to 40 seconds. Repeat these steps 2 to 3 times in order to reset your vehicle`s transmission control module.
If you`re ever riding on the highway and smell something harsh from your car, that could be a quick sign that your O2 sensor is failing. If you ever begin to pick up on some changes like bad powertrain performance, engine misfires, or loud noises, that could be a symptom of your O2 sensor probably having issues.
Oxygen sensor failure can often be traced to one of three common factors: Age and high mileage, an internal contaminant (poisoning) or an electrical issue. One or two wire unheated oxygen sensors should be inspected or replaced every 30,000 miles.
If you`re driving at freeway speeds and notice your engine sputter or jerk, you may have a failing fuel pump. This problem is caused when the fuel pump can`t deliver a smooth flow of fuel to the engine; periodically, your engine receives only air when it was expecting to receive fuel.
If an ignition coil is not working properly, your engine will likely misfire. A misfiring engine results in a jerking or sputtering feel when you are moving at normal speeds. When you stop, a misfire from a bad ignition coil may cause your vehicle to run roughly, vibrate or shake.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

My car stalls at times, yesterday the car shut off at a red light. I turned car off then back on now engine light is on.
ANSWER : This may be a result of a dirty or failing idle air control valve. The idle air control valve reads the air intake as it is mixed with fuel prior to being injected into the engine at low speeds and at idle. Since this valve is controlled by the vehicle’s computer, it will adjust idle speed based upon other measurements such as engine temperature, intake air temperature and electrical system load or voltage. When you accelerate, the engine RPM increases, and as you let off the gas, the RPM slowly returns to the normal idling speed with the help of the idle air control valve making the transition from a higher RPM back down to idle speed. When the engine RPM drops below the normal range of about ~800 RPM, this often times will cause the engine to stall indicating a dirty or faulty idle air control valve. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and replace your idle air control valve.

I have a 2010 ford fusion. The check engine light is on. My car jerks while driving. The rpm goes up and down while driving.help?
ANSWER : Hi there. Usually an engine that is displaying these type of symptoms is caused by a fuel system restriction, a vacuum leak or a sensor that has a faulty connection and is causing inconsistent or misfiring cylinders. Since the check engine light is on, the best way to determine the source of this issue is to have a professional mechanic complete a check engine light inspection. This will allow them to download the stored error codes that are causing the light to illuminate on the dashboard, which is most likely the source of your Fusion’s problems.

Battery and oil light come on when trying to start car, take keys out try again car starts no problem and lights go away
ANSWER : Of course, don’t switch gears without being fully stopped, unless your Owner’s Manual or the manufacturer has alternative advice. However, the gear shift issue has no relation to the no-start problem you are describing. Inasmuch as you only have 6,000 miles on the car, the "constant on and off" that you believe has occurred is meaningless in comparison to the expected total vehicle service life. That is, assume what you perceive as "constant on and off", during merely 6,000 miles, might be equivalent to using the car "normally" for three years. A new car should be trouble free for at least 5 years, unless there is a defect, so your "constant on and off" is not a causal factor for any fault on the vehicle. What you might have is a defect in the ignition switch, or perhaps the immobilizer system, but if the problem is not in the switch itself, clearly there is an electrical problem.

If your vehicle is under warranty, by law the dealer MUST repair the issue you are describing within a prescribed time frame and number of "attempts", otherwise the dealer will run afoul of Federal and state Lemon Laws that give you very specific rights, and recourse (contact an Attorney; we are Mechanics, NOT attorneys). Consequently, if the vehicle is still under warranty, to save yourself money do be sure to seek a resolution from the dealer. If the vehicle is not under warranty, obviously a certified Mechanic from YourMechanic could identify the electrical fault and resolve this for you. If you want to go that route, please simply request a no start diagnostic -electrical system and the responding certified mechanic will get this taken care of for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

Check engine light is on and the car does not want to drive
ANSWER : Hi there:

On most modern cars, there are a series of sensors that are designed to monitor mechanical systems; such as the transmission on your Saturn. In most cases, when a problem occurs, a trouble code is stored in the on board computer that will indicate what is causing the troubles. The best way to find out what’s going on is to not take your car to a shop; let the mechanic come to you. Contact one of our professional mobile mechanics to complete a check engine light inspection first. This will allow them diagnose what’s wrong with your car so they can recommend and complete the right repairs.

Car not speeding up smoothly, service engine light on when first start driving and car vibrating
ANSWER : Hi There,
It sounds like you may have a dirty or faulty mass air flow sensor. The problem this can cause may also be compounded when the engine is cold due to the change in air density in cooler weather. The mass air flow sensor monitors air intake as it is mixed with fuel prior to being injected into the motor. This sensor relays information about fuel and air temperature, air speed entering the motor and many other things to the ECM which uses this to make adjustments to fuel supply to the motor. A dirty or faulty sensor can cause an imbalanced air/fuel load to be supplied to the motor which results in an over fueling or under fueling situation depending on the conditions. This type of inconsistent fuel supply to the motor may cause a hesitation, loss of power, a jerking reaction, potentially a bit of black exhaust smoke and typically a strong smell of fuel when this sensor is malfunctioning. I would suggest having a professional from Your Mechanic come to your home to diagnose and inspect your vehicle.

in my car battery warning light appearing while driving.so I have replaced both battery and alternater still light is on
ANSWER : As you may yourself have seen, there are many reports of this fault with the Civic, that is a battery or alternator is replaced only to have the warning light fail to extinguish despite checking every conceivable electrical possibility. Your only recourse is to have a certified mechanic go through that exercise with your car and that involves first attempting to "re-set" the light. If the warning light returns, the alternator output has to be carefully measured both loaded and unloaded. All terminal connections have to be verified including all grounds. Fuses have to be checked for integrity (continuity) and the possibility of shorts, in for example dash wiring, has to be checked. To request this repair, simply request an electrical components diagnostic and the responding certified mechanic will seek a resolution to this.

3 warning lights on, power steering, VMS, and electronic lights. Any clue?
ANSWER : The fact that these lights are on is a warning to the driver that there are fault codes stored because one of more control systems have detected a problem. The vehicle will have to be read with a code scanner to retrieve the codes and move on with the diagnosis from there. The problem can be as simple as a blown fuse, however something caused the fused to blow so that will need to be tracked down. I do not have your model of Honda so it will be a little difficult to offer suggestions. Consider hiring an experienced technician like one from YourMechanic who can come out for a closer look at the warning lights and offer a more personal diagnosis.

I was driving and my car started to slow down, and my gas pedal wouldn’t work, and all the signs came on and the car light was flickering
ANSWER : Hi, thanks for writing in. It sounds like your battery has crashed. When the system voltage drops below a certain point, the electronics go haywire. The alternator is supposed to maintain the battery voltage at around 14 volts, and I’m guessing that your’s is not working. When the alternator stops charging, the car can continue to run on stored energy in the battery for a few hours, until the voltage falls below about 10 volts, then all those crazy things start happening.

It’s hard to say without hearing it, but the "airplane" noise may be coming from your failed alternator. I don’t recommend running out and buying a new alternator right away, the battery needs to be fully charged or replaced so that you can have a proper tests performed.

Charging or installing a battery, or even jumping one off, is a risky business on a modern car. Connecting the cables incorrectly for even a moment can do a lot of expensive damage to the various modules in your car.

I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your home or office to confirm a diagnosis on the issue and make or suggest the necessary repairs or replacements.