Why Your Car Is Lurching When Idling: Common Reasons and Fixes

Have you ever experienced that frustrating and worrying feeling of your car shaking and jerking while idling? If yes, then you are not alone. This is a common issue that car owners face, and it can be caused by various factors. But here's the good news: if you can identify the underlying cause, this problem can be easily resolved. Here are some of the common reasons why your car is lurching when idling and offer some practical solutions.

Dirty Air Filters:

One of the major causes of car lurching during idling is a clogged air filter. Your car needs a mixture of air and fuel to function properly. If the engine can't get enough clean air, then it will start to struggle to keep running smoothly. A dirty air filter can cause low airflow, which leads to a rich fuel mixture and engine misfire. This can cause the car to jerk and shake during idling. To fix this issue, it's essential to regularly clean or replace your air filter as per your car's manufacturer's instructions.

Malfunctioning Oxygen Sensor:

The oxygen sensor is crucial to your vehicle's emission control system because it gauges the level of unburnt oxygen in the exhaust. A malfunctioning oxygen sensor can cause the car to run too rich or too lean, leading to lurching and shaking when idling. Replacing the defective sensor is a simple solution to resolve this issue.

Vacuum Leak:

If your car lurches while idling, it could be due to a common issue called a vacuum leak. It occurs when there is a crack or gap in the car's vacuum system, which allows air into the engine that should not be there, altering the fuel-air mixture. This disrupts the balance and causes the car to jerk. A vacuum leak can usually be corrected by identifying the faulty hose or gasket and sealing the gap.

Dirty or Faulty Spark Plugs:

Spark plugs have a vital role in initiating the combustion of the fuel-air mixture within the combustion chamber. If these plugs are dirty or faulty, the fuel mixture will not ignite properly, leading to misfires and rough idling. The solution to this problem is to either clean or replace your spark plugs periodically.

Low Fuel Pressure:

Lastly, low fuel pressure can cause your car to drive continuously on low lift, leading to a rough, idling experience. This is often due to a faulty fuel pump, clogged fuel filter, or a damaged fuel injector. To deal with this issue, inspect your fuel pump and fuel filter for signs of wear and replace them if needed.

As you can see, there are many potential reasons why your car is lurching when idling. Fortunately, the majority of these problems can be swiftly and effortlessly resolved. The crucial step is to accurately pinpoint the underlying cause and promptly take appropriate action. 

For more info about automotive repair, contact a local company.