Even in this age, automatic cars are still a marvel to many. The ease in operation and straightforward concept have earned these cars both respect and admiration around the globe.
Unlike its manual counterpart, the automatic car will drive you to work without you having to frequently engage and disengage the many gears- just push it to D and sit back.
The cars are good and all until the transmission has issues– the experience can be daunting. You know the automatic cars’ transmissions issues are tough when your mechanic refers you to another repair shop.
One of the many problems that plague high mileage automatic cars is jerking. This is when the car can’t shift gears smoothly. It feels like a jump in between the gear shift.
Why Does The Automatic Car Jerk When You Put It In Drive?
If your automatic car jerks when you put it in drive, a myriad of reasons could be at fault. The culprits include low transmission fluid, failed sensors, and faulty components.
The issue might sound mild but a jerking car could easily earn you a night on some deserted road.
Why Does The Automatic Car Jerk When You Put It In Park?
That jump when you engage park can be frustrating. An automatic car jerking when in park is a sign of underlying issues in the driveline area. The possibilities are endless- your gears could be misaligned or your driveshaft could be worn out.
The subject components in this case are pretty expensive to repair; you better have them checked before things get out of hand.
What Causes An Automatic Car To Jerk In Drive?
Transmission Fluid Levels
The transmission system is made up of multiple parts with some running simultaneously. To maintain harmony down there, engineers introduced the transmission fluid. It ensures smooth operation and gear shifting.
To work, the transmission fluid must be maintained at adequate levels, failure to which you will experience some trouble shifting gears.
If the case is severe, the transmission might jerk from time to time or simply fail- these are a few of the results of hard shifting.
The transmission fluid is rarely low unless the system leaks. There are no heat issues with this area either so if your transmission fluid is low, look for an illegal outlet.
If after parking, you notice fluid around your car (red-black), there’s a chance your car is losing transmission fluid.
Contaminated Transmission Fluid
If you feed your system with dirt-laden transmission fluid, expect some jerking and jumping. The foreign material will in due time wear out the transmission system. Inspect the fluid for metal and plastic before pouring it in.
Dirt makes work harder for the transmission system- it can’t build hydraulic pressure fast enough. This means your car will take longer to engage a gear- you will feel this delay from your cockpit.
Whenever your car takes longer than normal to engage a gear but lacks any signs of leaks then the fluid could be contaminated.
If you spot even the slightest bit of dirt in the fluid, have it changed. With cleaner transmission fluid, the car should shift gears more smoothly.
Transmission Filter Issues
Transmission filters easily get clogged. When a too-big particle gets into the channel it will get stuck in the filtering area. This is slightly different from when the transmission fluid is contaminated- in this case, the issue is caused by one or two particles.
With that big particle stuck in there, the transmission pump will have a pretty long day trying to crack up enough pressure to get fluid past the stuck particle.
If left to persist, it could alter the hydraulic pressure in the system.
In this case, you won’t need to replace the transmission fluid, especially if it’s new. The most favorable option is having an expert have a look.
If the particle is in sight range, take it out and test for improvement. If it’s too far in, you might have to change the filter.
To stay safe, however, you can simply change the filter every time you replace the transmission fluid.
What Causes An Automatic Car To Jerk In Park?
Transmission Pump Issues
When the pump fails, there is bound to be some jerking due to inadequate fluid transfer. Transmission pump issues are easy to identify, the main sign is the whining sound in the fuel tank.
The check engine light will also inform you when the fuel pump gets weak or fails.
The transmission pump fails mostly due to clogs in the filter which cause it to work harder resulting in quick wear. The repairs in this area might not be expensive but why spend when you can evade the repairs with a few car maintenance practices.
Worn Out Components
This mainly plagues high mileage automatic cars. If the car is old, there’s a chance a few of the parts in the transmission areas are old too.
Old parts can be frustrating to work with- most cars with jerking issues usually have old transmission parts that need replacing.
When you visit the repair shop, have them check your transmission system for old parts.
Is It Safe To Drive With A Jerking Transmission?
NO, but you won’t need to ground your car. You can drive with the jerking issues if they are yet to ground the car.
As you cruise through the lanes, remember that the longer you drive with a faulty transmission system the more you’ll spend at the repair shop.
The jerking can also be dangerous: if they strike while on the highway, a novice driver might not handle it so well.
How To Fix A Jerking Transmission
When fixing transmission system issues, the options depend on the causes. Your mechanic could recommend that you replace the transmission fluid, the filter, or even the fuel pump.
The costs for these repairs depend on the car model and local labor rates. A typical transmission filter will cost you $350 while the fuel pump will set you back $500.
An understanding of your car’s operations and where specific issues stem could save you a lot of trouble when diagnosing problems.
Jerking is an issue with many automatic cars but with a little knowledge of car maintenance, you can protect your car from it and more.
Some of the causes of jerking in automatic cars are clogged transmission filters, contaminated transmission fluid, and a failing fuel pump. If you can keep these in good condition then you won’t ever have to deal with jerking issues.