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Can Low Coolant Make Car Jerk?


A good-functioning car is every car owner’s dream. But some of the car problems are inescapable; you can experience car jerking when driving. What could be the cause? Can low coolant make car jerk?

Low coolant can make the car jerk. However, there are other causes of car jerking, like a bad fuel pump and many others. Continuous car jerks can cause damage to some parts of the car. It’ll be best if you consider doing services whenever your vehicle jerks.

Knowledge of car jerking is quite essential. Read this article and learn more.

What Can Happen When You Drive Under Low Coolant?

All types of vehicle engines naturally create heat. Your car utilizes an engine coolant or antifreeze to maintain the car engine cool. However, when driving under low coolant, you may experience the following problems:

Mechanic hand is opening the radiator cap to check the coolant level of the car radiator

Engine Overheating.

The car antifreeze or coolant helps in reducing excess heat on the engine. The engine will overheat when the coolant is low, causing permanent damage. You may experience damage from the piston permanently welding on the cylinder.

Car problem  Symptoms
Engine overheating– Steam escaping through the hood
– Reduced engine power
– Light on the temperature gauge

You Can Blow the Head Gasket.

If you are a car lover, you probably know blowing a head gasket is bad news. Low coolant causes unbearable heat in the engine. The heat eventually blows the gasket. A blown gasket can be evident through the production of smoke through the tailpipe or engine, a decrease in efficiency, or even knocking the engine.

Car problem  Symptoms
Bad gasket– Engine misfire
– Decrease in fuel economy
– Decrease in acceleration

Shutting off of the Engine

Some cars, including the hybrid, have safety measures. Such vehicles shut off the engine in case of any problem experienced in the power transmission. And because low coolant causes damage to the engine system, the car engine automatically shuts off.

Which Are the Common Low Coolant Symptoms?

Whenever the engine malfunctions, it’ll cause a significant change in power transmission. So it is expected for the low engine coolant to show symptoms. An alert is indicated on the dashboard when the engine coolant is low in some cars. However, there exist other signs shown by the car; they include;

The Red Light on the High-Temperature Gauge.

The work of the high-temperature gauge is to indicate engine overheating. Under normal circumstances, the gauge must stay between the H and C symbols. Whenever the gauge shifts near the H, then shut down your engine.

Malfunctioning of the A/C System.

The coolant’s function helps regulate hot air flow in the cabin. Whenever the coolant becomes low while the air conditioner runs, you’ll notice flowing out of hot air from the car A/C vents.

Production of Sweet-Smelling Odor.

Whenever you experience engine coolant leakage, you may experience a sweet odor under the hood or from the air conditioning. The sweet odor is due to the glycol, a viscous liquid that helps in regulating the boiling and freezing point of water. Although you may experience strange odors, they are not always a sign of vehicle issues. If you suspect low coolant, seek help from an auto technician.

A Faulty Coolant Level Sensor.

Most times, a defective level sensor causes illuminated coolant light. At times, the coolant can turn on, although your car may have low coolant. Low antifreeze levels normally cause the malfunctioning of the sensor.

Which Are the Causes of Car Jerk When Accelerating?

Any poor performance of your car may be due to system misbehavior. Some of these behaviors can be noticed and remedied without the help of an auto technician.

Whenever your car jerks, it can be due to several causes:

young car driver worry about jerk

A Blocked Catalytic Converter.

The work of the catalytic converter is to catalyze and reduce pollutants escaping through the exhaust fume. Too much air and fuel mixture can cause blockage in the catalytic converter. The blockage interferes with the airflow in the exhaust system.

This may cause jerking of your car whenever you press on the gas. Apart from the car jerking, you can experience other problems, including a drop in fuel engine efficiency and a rotten egg odor from the hydrogen sulfide.

You can use a converter cleaner to reduce this problem. If the problem persists, take your car to a professional.

Dirty Fuel Injectors.

A dirty fuel injector is a common problem leading to several issues in the car engine. They may lead to loss of power and can make the car jerk when driving or cause an engine to misfire. Another cause is shuttering of the engine due to inconsistent intake of fuel.

To reduce this problem, regular cleaning of the injectors can help. You can use fuel injectors or fuel cleaners to do the cleaning process. Manual cleaning should be the option when the injectors are full of carbon deposits. You can replace the injectors where possible.

A Faulty Mass Airflow Sensor

Whenever you experience your car jerking at high speed, it may be a failure in the mass airflow sensor. Its work is to measure airflow entering your car engine and relaying the information to the car’s computer.

The computer then commands the fuel injectors to initiate a correct flow of fuel for proper fuel and air mixture at the right time. Whenever the MAF sensor gets faulty, you’ll experience unexpected car jerks when driving at high speed. You can confirm the bad mass airflow sensor via the OBD2 scanner or on the check engine light.

Bad Fuel Filter or Pump

Fuel supply issues may cause your car to jerk when driving at high speed. A failure in the fuel pump causes the engine to struggle with fuel demands. The problem of fuel flow causes your car to either surge forward or jerk when driving. Alternatively, when the fuel filter experiences restrictions in fuel flow. Replacing the fuel filter can be a solution to this problem.


A low level of engine coolant can cause a car to jerk. However, there are other car jerking causes; they include blocked catalytic converter, dirty Fuel Injectors, or a faulty mass airflow sensor. Besides, low engine coolant can cause damage to the engine system. Seek assistance whenever you experience a low coolant level or when you experience car jerking.

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