Why Is My Car Jerking After Oil Change?

If your car is jerking after an oil change, it can be a cause for concern. While an oil change may not directly cause jerking, it could indicate an underlying issue. One possibility is that the wrong type or grade of oil was used, resulting in improper lubrication.

Another reason could be a dirty or clogged fuel filter, leading to fuel delivery problems. Additionally, issues with the ignition system or fuel injectors could also contribute to jerking. It is recommended to consult a professional mechanic to diagnose and resolve the issue.

why is my car jerking after oil change

Common Reasons for Car Jerking After an Oil Change

Getting an oil change is a routine maintenance task that every car owner must undertake to keep their vehicle running smoothly. However, there are instances where the car starts jerking after an oil change, which can be quite alarming.

Let’s explore some common reasons why cars may experience jerking after an oil change:

1. Low-Quality or Incorrect Oil

The type and quality of oil used during an oil change are crucial for the overall performance of the engine. If low-quality or incorrect oil is used, it can lead to friction and inadequate lubrication, causing the car to jerk. It is essential to ensure that the recommended oil viscosity and specifications are met to prevent such issues.

2. Oil Filter Issues

The oil filter plays a vital role in removing contaminants and impurities from the oil, ensuring it remains clean and efficient. If the oil filter is clogged, damaged, or improperly installed during the oil change, it can result in restricted oil flow and lead to jerking. Regularly replacing the oil filter and ensuring proper installation is necessary.

3. Air Intake System Problems

The air intake system is responsible for delivering clean air to the engine for combustion. If there are any issues with the air filter, mass airflow sensor, or throttle body, it can disrupt the air-fuel mixture, causing the car to jerk. Regular inspection and maintenance of the air intake system are crucial to avoid such problems.

4. Fuel System Issues

A well-functioning fuel system is essential for the smooth operation of the engine. If there are any problems with the fuel pump, fuel filter, or fuel injectors, it can lead to fuel starvation or inconsistent fuel delivery, resulting in jerking. Regular maintenance and cleaning of the fuel system can help prevent such issues.

5. Sensor Malfunction

Modern cars are equipped with various sensors that monitor different aspects of the vehicle’s performance.

If any of these sensors, such as the oxygen sensor or throttle position sensor, malfunction or provide inaccurate readings after an oil change, it can cause the car to jerk. Proper diagnosis and replacement of faulty sensors are necessary to resolve this issue.

6. Other Mechanical Problems

In some cases, the jerking sensation might not be directly related to the oil change but could indicate underlying mechanical issues. Problems with the ignition system, spark plugs, transmission, or engine mounts can also result in jerking.

A thorough inspection by a qualified mechanic can help identify and address these mechanical problems.

Why Is My Car Jerking After Oil Change

Improper Oil Level and Jerking in a Car

Having the correct oil level in your car is crucial for its smooth operation and overall performance. A low or high oil level can lead to various issues, including jerking or hesitation while driving.

In this section, we will explore how an improper oil level can cause jerking in a car and the importance of maintaining the right oil level.

1. Insufficient Lubrication

When the oil level in your car is too low, there may not be enough lubrication to properly protect the engine’s moving parts. Lubrication is essential for reducing friction and heat generation within the engine. Without sufficient lubrication, the engine components may rub against each other, causing increased wear and tear, leading to jerking or hesitation.

2. Increased Friction and Heat

A low oil level can result in increased friction between the engine parts. This friction generates excessive heat, which can cause the engine to overheat. Overheating can lead to a loss of engine power and performance, resulting in jerking or stumbling while accelerating or driving at higher speeds.

3. Inadequate Fuel Efficiency

When the oil level is too low, the engine has to work harder to compensate for the lack of lubrication. This increased workload can negatively impact fuel efficiency, causing the car to consume more fuel than usual.

Inefficient fuel consumption can lead to jerking or uneven acceleration as the engine struggles to maintain a consistent power output.

4. Contaminated Oil

On the other hand, having an excessive oil level can also lead to issues. When the oil level is too high, it can result in the foaming of oil, which reduces its lubricating properties.

Foamy or aerated oil cannot effectively coat the engine components, resulting in inadequate lubrication. This can cause the engine to jerk or hesitate during acceleration or while maintaining a constant speed.

5. Oil Leaks

Furthermore, an improper oil level can be an indicator of an underlying issue, such as an oil leak. If you consistently notice a low oil level despite regular top-ups, it could mean that your car is losing oil due to a leak in the engine or oil system. Oil leaks can lead to reduced lubrication and increased friction, causing the engine to jerk or hesitate.

Importance of Maintaining the Right Oil Level

Ensuring the correct oil level in your car is essential for keeping the engine running smoothly and preventing potential problems like jerking or hesitation. Regularly checking the oil level and maintaining it within the recommended range can help optimize engine performance and prolong its lifespan.

It is advisable to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding oil change intervals and use the recommended oil grade to ensure optimal lubrication and minimize the risk of jerking or other performance issues.

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Potential Issues with the Oil Filter Leading to Jerking in the Car

Oil filters play a critical role in maintaining the health and longevity of a car’s engine. They are designed to remove contaminants and impurities from the engine oil, ensuring that only clean oil circulates through the engine’s components.

However, there are instances where issues with the oil filter can arise, leading to a jerking sensation in the car while driving. In this section, we will explore some potential issues related to the oil filter that may cause jerking in the car.

1. Clogged Oil Filter

One of the common issues with oil filters is a clog caused by accumulated debris and contaminants. Over time, the filter may become clogged, restricting the flow of oil to the engine.

This can lead to decreased lubrication and inadequate oil pressure, resulting in jerking motions while driving. A clogged oil filter should be replaced promptly to avoid further damage to the engine.

2. Faulty Bypass Valve

The bypass valve is a crucial component in an oil filter that allows oil to bypass the filter element in case of excessive pressure or a clogged filter. If the bypass valve is faulty or stuck in the closed position, it can prevent oil from flowing through the filter.

This restriction in oil flow can cause the engine to jerk while driving. Inspecting and replacing a faulty bypass valve can help resolve this issue.

3. Inadequate Oil Filter Quality

The quality of the oil filter used in a car can also contribute to jerking issues. Low-quality or counterfeit oil filters may not effectively capture contaminants, leading to poor filtration and increased chances of clogging.

It is crucial to use high-quality oil filters recommended by the car manufacturer or trusted brands to ensure optimal filtration and prevent jerking problems.

4. Improper Installation

Improper installation of the oil filter can also result in jerking while driving. If the oil filter is not securely tightened or if the gasket is not properly seated, it can cause oil leaks or loss of oil pressure.

This can lead to inadequate lubrication and engine jerking. It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and properly install the oil filter to avoid such issues.

5. Engine Oil Contamination

In some cases, the jerking sensation in the car may not be directly related to the oil filter but rather due to contaminated engine oil. Contaminants such as dirt, sludge, or metal particles in the engine oil can hinder its flow and affect engine performance.

Regular oil changes and using high-quality oil will help prevent oil contamination and reduce the likelihood of jerking while driving.

The Impact of Using Low-Quality or Incorrect Oil on Car Jerking

When it comes to the performance and longevity of your car’s engine, the type and quality of oil you use plays a crucial role. Using low-quality or incorrect oil can have a significant impact on various aspects of your vehicle’s functioning, including car jerking.

In this section, we will delve into the consequences of using subpar or inappropriate oil and how it can lead to troublesome car jerking issues.

1. Insufficient Lubrication

One of the primary functions of engine oil is to lubricate the various moving parts within the engine. It forms a protective layer between metal surfaces, reducing friction and preventing wear and tear. However, using low-quality oil, which may have inadequate lubricating properties, can lead to insufficient lubrication of engine components.

This lack of proper lubrication can cause increased friction and heat generation, leading to engine inefficiency and, in turn, car jerking. The jerking sensation can be attributed to the compromised smooth movement of the engine’s components, resulting in uneven performance.

2. Poor Viscosity

The viscosity of oil refers to its thickness or resistance to flow. Different engines require oil with specific viscosity ratings to ensure optimal performance. Using oil with the wrong viscosity can negatively impact the engine’s functioning and contribute to car jerking problems.

When the oil’s viscosity is too low, it becomes thin and fails to provide sufficient lubrication and protection. On the other hand, if the oil is too viscous, it becomes thick and struggles to flow smoothly through the engine, causing resistance and engine strain.

Both scenarios can result in inadequate lubrication and increased friction, leading to jerking sensations while driving. It is crucial to use the oil recommended by the manufacturer to maintain the correct viscosity for your engine.

3. Contaminant Build-Up

Using low-quality oil can also contribute to the build-up of contaminants in the engine over time. Inferior oils may contain impurities or have a higher level of additives that can leave deposits on engine surfaces.

Contaminant build-up can hinder the smooth operation of engine components, causing them to malfunction and result in jerking movements. Additionally, these deposits can restrict oil passages, reducing the flow and further exacerbating the problem.

4. Reduced Engine Performance

The performance of your engine relies on the smooth interaction between its various parts. Using substandard or incorrect oil can negatively impact the engine’s overall performance, leading to decreased power output and responsiveness.

When engine performance is compromised, it can manifest as car jerking during acceleration, deceleration, or at constant speeds. The inconsistency in power delivery can be attributed to the inadequate lubrication and increased friction caused by the improper oil.

5. Increased Fuel Consumption

Using low-quality or incorrect oil can result in reduced fuel efficiency. When the engine experiences jerking movements due to inadequate lubrication or other issues caused by the wrong oil, it can lead to increased fuel consumption.

The irregular power delivery and compromised engine performance force the vehicle to work harder to maintain speed or accelerate, requiring more fuel to compensate for the loss in efficiency. This increased fuel consumption not only affects your wallet but also contributes to environmental pollution due to higher emissions.

It is crucial to prioritize the quality and compatibility of the oil you use in your vehicle to avoid potential car jerking issues. 

To ensure smooth and optimal engine operation, always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate oil type and viscosity. Regularly changing the oil and using high-quality products can help prevent car jerking and maintain the overall performance and longevity of your vehicle.

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How to Troubleshoot and Fix Car Jerking After an Oil Change

Experiencing car jerking after an oil change can be frustrating and concerning. However, it’s essential to address the issue promptly to prevent any further damage to your vehicle. In this section, we will discuss the potential causes of car jerking after an oil change and provide you with some troubleshooting steps to fix the problem.

Possible Causes of Car Jerking After an Oil Change

1. Wrong Oil Type: One common cause of car jerking after an oil change is using the wrong type of oil. It’s crucial to use the oil recommended by your vehicle manufacturer to ensure proper lubrication and engine performance. Using the wrong oil viscosity can lead to increased friction and inefficient engine operation, resulting in jerking or hesitation.

2. Low Oil Level: Another reason for car jerking could be a low oil level. It’s essential to check the oil level regularly and top it up if necessary. Without sufficient oil, the engine may not receive proper lubrication, leading to jerking or stalling.

3. Contaminated Oil: If the oil used during the oil change is contaminated with dirt, debris, or other impurities, it can cause engine problems, including jerking. Contaminated oil can lead to clogged fuel injectors or restricted flow, affecting the engine’s performance.

4. Air Pocket: Sometimes, air pockets may form in the oil system during an oil change, especially if the process is not done correctly. These air pockets can disrupt the oil flow and result in jerking or hesitation.

Troubleshooting Steps

1. Verify the Oil Type: Double-check the type of oil used during the oil change. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual or consult a professional mechanic to ensure the correct oil viscosity and specification is being used.

2. Check the Oil Level: Use the dipstick to check the oil level in your vehicle’s engine. If it’s low, add the recommended oil type until it reaches the appropriate level. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for oil capacity.

3. Inspect for Oil Contamination: If you suspect that the oil is contaminated, consider draining and replacing it with fresh, clean oil. Additionally, inspect the oil filter for any signs of debris or clogging, replacing it if necessary.

4. Remove Air Pockets: To eliminate air pockets that may have formed during the oil change, you can perform an “engine burping” process. Start by warming up the engine, then remove the oil cap and let the engine idle for a few minutes. This allows any trapped air to escape. Repeat this process if needed.

5. Seek Professional Help: If the problem persists or if you are unsure about troubleshooting the issue yourself, it’s advisable to seek assistance from a qualified mechanic. They have the expertise and tools to diagnose and fix any underlying problems causing the car jerking.


Experiencing car jerking after an oil change can be a sign of various issues. If any of the troubleshooting steps above does not resolve the problem, it’s recommended to consult a professional mechanic for further assistance.


Why is my car jerking after an oil change?

There could be several reasons for your car jerking after an oil change. It could be due to using the wrong grade or type of oil, a faulty oil filter, or an unrelated issue. It’s best to consult a mechanic to diagnose the exact cause of the problem.

How often should I change the oil in my car?

The frequency of oil changes depends on several factors including the type of oil used, the age and make of your vehicle, and your driving habits.

As a general guideline, it is recommended to change the oil every 5,000 to 7,500 miles or every 6 months, whichever comes first. However, always refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended interval.

Can I use synthetic oil in my car?

Yes, synthetic oil can be used in most modern cars. It offers better performance and protection compared to conventional oil. However, it is important to check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations on the type and grade of oil to use. Some older cars or specific models may not be compatible with synthetic oil.


Experiencing jerking or stuttering in your car after an oil change can be caused by various factors. It’s essential to consider that low-quality or incorrect oil, improper oil viscosity, or even an incorrect oil filter can lead to this issue.

Additionally, a clogged fuel system, faulty spark plugs, or issues with the transmission can also contribute to the jerking sensation. To avoid this problem, it is crucial to use the recommended oil and filter for your specific vehicle and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for oil changes.

In case the jerking persists, it is best to consult with a qualified mechanic to diagnose and resolve the underlying cause.

Overall, regular maintenance, including proper oil change procedures, plays a vital role in ensuring your car’s smooth performance and longevity. By addressing any jerking issues promptly, you can maintain a safe and enjoyable driving experience.

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