It is extremely disconcerting when your Ford F150 jerks when accelerating (sometimes referred to as a stutter or bucking). There’s the initial worry of feeling you don’t have control of your vehicle, but it also will point to a bigger issue with your truck which will potentially only get worse.
Unfortunately, why your F150 jerks when you accelerate isn’t an easy diagnosis to make as it can be down to a wide range of issues. You will need to check them all off and eliminate them to figure it out.
Below I’ve listed the top reasons why your Ford F150 jerks when you accelerate for you to go through. But you might want to invest in a OBD2 scanner. Plug this into your F150, download an app, and it could help you identify why the acceleration jerking movements happen.
You can pick one up on Amazon, or click the image below to see the prices. Other than that, scroll down to see why your F150 stutters when you accelerate.
Why Ford F150s stutter, jerk, or buck when accelerating
1. Dirty fuel injectors
Dirty fuel injectors can cause bucking when your F150 accelerates. If the injectors can’t deliver the right amount of fuel, a misfire or delayed acceleration response can occur.
You can solve this by cleaning the injectors regularly with a fuel injector or fuel system cleaner (view on Amazon).
If cleaning them doesn’t work, it might be that they need completely replacing. This is typically the case when carbon deposits have built up on them.
2. Blocked catalytic converter
When your catalytic converter gets a blockage, the exhaust gas has nowhere (or a small space) in which to go. This can lead to your F150 bucking and stuttering with that jerk movement when you try to accelerate.
You can try unblocking your catalytic converter with a few methods:
- If it’s just light clogging, get on the highway when it’s not busy. Drive a few miles then safely brake quickly. Repeat this process five or six times over a few miles. If your F150 stop jerking when you accelerate, you’ve cleared the light blockage.
- If that doesn’t work, try something like the Oxicat cleaner (available on Amazon).
3. Bad engine mount or transmission mount
This is the one of the most common causes of an acceleration stutter on older F150s. If the transmission is worn out, it will need replacing.
Typically, you might feel a vibration and hear impact noises.
4. Air in the fuel
This blockage leads to a stutter or bucking and occurs where air gets into the fuel will often make the F150 jerk when you try to accelerate. If you also find your Ford F150 has low power, it could be this.
The more air that has got into the fuel, the rougher the ride will feel.
Handy Hint: Before you buy a F250 you know about the causes of the notorious death wobble that has been recently reported.
5. Acceleration stutters in cold weather
Cold weather is one of the leading reasons for jerking when accelerating in a Ford F150. Damp can collect around the distributor cap, causing that familiar stuttering as you attempt to accelerate
6. Spark plugs need replacing
Worn-out spark plugs will often make a Ford F150 stutter or jerk when you accelerate. It’s not just the spark plugs that might need replacing; the attached electrical cables can also mean your F150 jerks in acceleration.
You can buy new spark plugs on Amazon, and replace them in minutes.
7. Damaged acceleration cables
You might also experience stuttering if the acceleration cables are damaged. Other signs they are damaged include cruise control issues, delayed engine response, and visible signs of damage to the cable covering.
8. Damaged cylinders
When your F150’s cylinders degrade or get damaged, your engine can misfire. And when you accelerate you will feel that jerking or stuttering feeling.
This is an issue that you should not delay on getting fixed. If you leave it for too long, your engine can quickly become ruined.
Handy Hint: You might also have the related problem of your Ford F150 idling up and down when stuck in traffic, here’s how to fix it.
9. Dirty air filters
Air filters can become dirty, but this can be fixed by wiping them clean. But, if they are beyond a quick clean, buy new ones (view on Amazon).
It might be just the thing you need to fix why your Ford F150 jerks when you accelerate.
10. Damaged gas lines
When there’s a problem with the gas lines, air pressure is lost, and your F150 will jerk when accelerating. In more serious cases it can even cause engine fires, so it’s worth getting a mechanic to check for damage.
11. Faulty carburetors
The carburetors in F150s will blend and regulate the correct fuel to air amount before it enters the cylinders. If the mix is wrong due to a damaged carburetor, the Ford F150 will stutter and buck in a jerking fashion when you try to accelerate.
Failing that call your mechanic or dealership
If you can’t diagnose why your Ford F150 is jerking when you accelerate, then test both the brakes and the transmission. Your local Ford dealership will be able to run a diagnostic test on your vehicle that will tell you what is causing the problem.
It is not uncommon for vehicles to jerk when accelerating. However, if you are going up a steep hill, this could signify a worn-out suspension. This can also vary from the vehicle’s lack of alignment to a worn-out suspension or transmission.
It’s not that simple to diagnose why your F150 jerks when you accelerate. The stuttering and bucking can be down to so many different reasons.